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Tunnel of Oppression

Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2008

Tunnel of Oppression

By: Laura Brown, Final Report for the Multicultural Learning Grant.

                -The participants in the Tunnel of Oppression included students, faculty, staff, and outside guests.  There were over 1,000 participants throughout the three days of the Tunnel; and the average number of people increased each day.  This increase means that participants during the first two days told their friends about the program and encouraged them to attend.  The multicultural educational piece of Tunnel included information about Jena 6, a student created film on the South of the Border party, and various statistics about racism.  Multiculturalism was also highlighted in the Tunnel of Hope through images of students taking action to ensure cultural sensitivity on our campus.

                -The tangible impacts that have occurred since the result of our multicultural project are not present at this time.  However, there have been wonderful intangible impacts that have occurred since Tunnel.  One such impact is conversation.  Students, faculty, and staff are talking; they began powerful conversations in the Tunnel of Hope and the Debrief Room, and those conversations have continued.  A large number of students have shown great interest in wanting to help organize the program next year, which is a positive sign that students are committed to making a change.  Another impact is the general consensus that students have aspirations to see the Tunnel of Oppression shrinking and the Tunnel of Hope growing.  This means that students have faith in brighter tomorrow.

                -One challenge we encountered during the event was crowd control.  We had the wonderful problem of too many people throughout the event.  There was often a long back-up of people which was a bit difficult to manage at times. We attempted to resolve the issue by adding two showings of the video on the theme party because that was the section that experienced overflow.

                -Our program made students aware of the progress that still needs to be made on this campus in the area of multicultural sensitivity.  Our program also showed what can be done right now to get involved and make a positive change in the campus climate.  At minimum, the program brought to light student concerns and experiences to the forefront of the minds of students who may have had no idea that multicultural sensitivity is an issue on our campus. 

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