Leaving students with a message: Tunnel of Oppression

by Samantha Lund, News Editor

This year, the Tunnel of Oppression aims to bring back tough messages and lessons. Hopefully, students will walk away thinking about what each person can do to fight social injustice.

The tunnel is an annual event Pacific Lutheran University holds to raise awareness of issues of privilege and oppression by presenting scenes grounded in real-world, lived experiences.tunnel

Senior David Nguyen has been a docent for the tunnel the last three years. When he started, Nguyen remembered the tunnel being much more shocking and remembered a fake rape scene taking place.

“Over the years that has kind of lessened a little, I think,” Nguyen said. “I think that’s because a few people have problems with the scenes because it feels too real to them.”

Nguyen thinks the realistic scenes are the only way to make students change their minds and open their eyes. He thinks the tunnel will be more shocking and inspiring this year.

Nellie Moran, another senior involved in the tunnel, is helping to create two scenes. Moran is involved in the Diversity Center’s scene which depicts the differences in how black victims and suspects are treated in the media compared to white victims.
Moran is also involved in the Queer Ally Student Union’s scene. QASU is hoping to inform students on transgender health care with its scene.

“[The Tunnel] ties into our mission statement. [It] really embodies that,” Moran said. “And it has people reflect critically on their actions and everyday lives and some of the choices that they are making everyday that are affecting other people.”

Groups go into the tunnel led by a docent. Each scene is separated by curtains and holds a different theme. After going through each scene, students are taken into a debriefing room where they can talk about what they saw and how it affected them.
“It is dark and heavy,” Moran said. “But it is important.”

For the second year, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is getting involved with the tunnel. SAAC aims to show social injustice in the athletics community and bring a different style to the tunnel than people would expect.

This year, SAAC aims to focus on different issues athletes face.

“Athletics isn’t always completely accessible to everyone,” SAAC president, Amy Wooten said.
Wooten gave the example of a Muslim track runner who had to buy special clothing to participate. Then the runner got disqualified for her outfit.

“We’re supposed to be inclusive,” Wooten said. “But there are a lot of issues we encounter along the way at different levels.” 🅼

Samantha Lund

Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University's Marketing and Communication site plu.edu or interning at MOViN 92.9's morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.

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