Tunnel attraction highlights week on diversity awareness

by Student Writer Kasey Thornton

Despite Halloween being months away, the Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity is planning to host an attraction of horrors next month.

However, rather than ghosts and masked killers, this experience is based on types of oppression people face throughout the year.

ODIE, along with the Diversity Student Ambassadors, will present the Tunnel of Oppression April 4 and 5 as part of Diversity Education Week.

The attraction will be an interactive, educational experience in the form of a tunnel, which will contain different theaters focusing on various areas of oppression, including racism, sexism, sexual assault, classism, ableism and ageism.

“I think it’s great for students who aren’t oppressed to learn how that feels and about diversity,” said sophomore Scarlett Swinea.

The event is open to students, staff and community members high school age and up.

“We are hoping the Tunnel of Oppression will be an amazing experience for students,” said ODIE Director Joan Williams.

Those interested can visit the attraction April 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. and April 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Guillot University Center Banquet Halls.

Several campus departments have partnered with ODIE to support and design the tunnel. ODIE has worked on the event since November.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to feel (oppression),” said junior Nasstajjah Simmons. “Some students get judged for it, and others can experience how they feel.”

Williams said the tunnel takes approximately 30 minutes to go through.

The tunnel is just one of the events taking place April 2 through April 6 during Diversity Education Week. The slogan for the week is “Just D.E.W. it!”

Williams said the week is all about how one turns differences into strengths.

Throughout the week, ODIE will highlight different groups in GUC 200.

Monday will be about supporting military and veteran students, taking place from 12 to 1 p.m. There will also be an interactive game at 6 p.m. called “Don’t Hate the Playa, Hate the Game.”

Tuesday will focus on intercultural communications at 6 p.m., with a “Mix It Up” game night starting at the same time in the Stone Lodge.

Thursday will center around interfaith communities from 1 to 4 p.m., while Friday will support UNA LGBTQ families from 12 to 1 p.m.

Students can win one of two $100 Visa gift cards by taking the Diversity and Inclusion pledge, available onsite and online, and attending at least three D.E.W. events, Williams said.

For more information on Diversity Education Week, contact Joan Williams at [email protected] or visit una.edu/diversity.