February 18, 2013

Tunnel of Oppression planned for Feb. 25-28

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s seventh annual Tunnel of Oppression will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience oppression and injustice.

The lower level of Grinnell Hall, located at 275 E. Park St. near the Mae Smith Residence Hall, will undergo a big transformation from 5 to 9 p.m., Feb. 25-28. Each of the dozen rooms along the half-hour walking trip will become the representation of a theme:  race, gender, body image, class, physical ability, religion, homophobia and more.  Volunteers from the University’s Registered Student Organizations and community groups will give each participant the opportunity to feel for themselves prejudice, oppression and other awareness-evoking experiences and emotions.

“The Tunnel of Oppression is a very powerful experience.  Even today, people still suffer injustice in America and around the world.  Underground human auctions occur, hate crimes take place and prejudices inflict pain and oppression.  Those visiting the tunnel will experience themselves what it is like to be treated unfairly, what it’s like to be laughed at or mocked.  Our goal is increasing understanding and discussion to bring about positive changes,” said Alfred Jackson, education and outreach coordinator for University Housing, said.

Everyone is welcome to take the free tour.  However, there is a limit of 20 people per tour, and the last visit begins at 8:30 p.m.  Organizers strongly recommend reservations as the tours quickly fill up quickly and draw visitors from a wide geographic area, including other universities.

Because of the intense nature of the program, it is open only to people ages 17 and older.  Participants have the opportunity after each tour to participate in a debriefing with staff from the SIU Carbondale Center for Inclusive Excellence, Counseling Center, and the Carbondale Women’s Center.

To reserve a spot for the Tunnel of Oppression, email your top three choices of dates and times to cnhale@siu.edu or call 618/536-2054.  Participants should arrive at Grinnell Hall at least 10 minutes before their scheduled tour, with spots filled with those present prior to the tour.

Event sponsors are University Housing and the Black Togetherness Organization.