Mar 25, 2019

Event gives new perspective on oppression


During the annual “Tunnel of Oppression” event in University Courtyard, students look at the “Project Unbreakable” exhibit, a photo essay depicting sexual assault victims holding signs describing their ordeals. David Lee / The Collegian

University Courtyard hosted the “Tunnel of Oppression” Monday to give students an interactive experience with current issues of social injustice.

Students were led into 10 different rooms, each dedicated to a specific current issue of social injustice, including suicide, depression, eating disorders, sexual assault and discrimination.

The first dorm room consisted of four white students huddled around a flat screen playing video games. Behind the flat screen, a Confederate flag hung on the wall and swastikas surrounded it.

Down the hall, a black student sat alone in his room with a bicycle lock around his neck.

The scene depicted a real-life situation that happened on San Jose State’s campus, where four white students bullied a black suitemate by writing racial slurs on a dry erase board and putting a lock around his neck.

Shy Scoggins, a senior majoring in psychology, said she didn’t know issues like suicide and oppression affected so many college students.

“It was a good, eye-opening experience,” Scoggins said. “I wish more people would take this tour and just become more aware of these issues.”

Erin Boele, director of housing, said the program aims to help students see different aspects of people’s lives.

“Everybody has their own experiences throughout life,” Boele said. “It is trying to get students to see what other students go through and recognize the same emotions and what they know is the same emotion that others are going through and trying to find that commonality.”

Tyler Miller, assistant director of housing, said University Courtyard wants students to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

“Our goal is to help people open their eyes to some of the things that go on around them,” Miller said. “Where people who have privilege may not understand some of the struggles and oppressions other students may be facing.”

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