SAC and Mungano prepare for Tunnel of Oppression

Story by Whitney Silkey, Assistant News Editor

The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive event hosted by the Student Activities Council and Mungano, a campus organization promoting diversity. Students are taken through rooms in which they will experience different scenes of oppression. The different rooms may include scenes such as homophobia, relationship violence and racism that are portrayed through acting, monologues or multimedia.

Director of Student Life Randy Flowers brought the event to Baker five years ago after he experienced it for the first time at the University of Kansas.

“It was such an immersive experience, and that’s when I decided to bring it to Baker,” Flowers said.

This year the Tunnel of Oppression event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, in the Holt-Russell Art Gallery.

Junior Jami Sanborn, president of Student Activities Council, believes that the Tunnel of Oppression is an important eye-opening experience for Baker students.

“I feel like this campus is somewhat sheltered, so I feel like this [event] opens peoples eyes to things that we don’t typically see here or things that we don’t want to see,” Sanborn said.

When Sanborn has participated in the Tunnel of Oppression in previous years, the experience has helped her appreciate what she has.

Junior Ally Ware, the social and cultural issues coordinator for SAC, is in charge of the more serious events that SAC puts on like the Tunnel of Oppression.

“We have a lot of different topics this year,” Ware said. “One is the transgender bathroom.”

Ware says that event is for students to be aware of issues that they might not have otherwise known about.

The Tunnel is definitely not like any of the upbeat, lighthearted SAC events that students are used to attending, such as a comedians or grocery bingo. Students should be aware that the Tunnel of Oppression is a serious and heavy experience.

“If you leave the Tunnel of Oppression and you’re not thinking – then I think you just went through the motions,” Flowers said.

After students go through all of the rooms in the Tunnel of Oppression, Tim Hodges, director of the health and counseling center, holds a debriefing session where students can talk about what they just experienced.

“You should feel uncomfortable,” Flowers said. “In order to learn from the experience, you have to be pushed out of your comfort zone.”

Flowers believes that this event is especially important because of all of the social justice issues today.

“We need to understand what others are going through,” Flowers said. “We also have to prepare our students to be confident and competent contributors to society – that’s part of the university mission.”

In order for students to become confident and competent individuals, Flowers believes that they need to understand inclusivity and diversity, which comes from experiences such as the Tunnel of Oppression. Because of this, Flowers thinks that all Baker students should experience the Tunnel of Oppression before they graduate.

“I find this experience very valuable for students at Baker and for life after Baker,” Flowers said.