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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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Light at the End of the Tunnel

By KJ ADLER

When Kate LeBoeuf toured the Tunnel of Oppression in California, she immediately wanted to bring the experience to the University of Mary Washington.

“I had an awesome time at the UC Berkeley Tunnel and thought that the project should come to Mary Washington,” LeBoeuf said. “Diversity and oppression are hot topics that others should have the ability to talk about. This is a way for the various minorities to have a voice.”

On Feb. 11, in the basement of Seacobeck, representatives from several clubs held their second meeting for the planning of UMW’s First Annual Tunnel of Oppression.

The Tunnel of Oppression originated in 1993 at Western Illinois University and is described as a campus grassroots diversity program according to the school’s website.

The Tunnel of Oppression is loosely based from the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, Calif., and is a multi-sensory exhibit which includes a guided tour through a series of connecting rooms, each of which has the participants experience various forms of oppression.

At the end of the tour, guides will lead discussions on how the participants felt within each room and how they were affected by it.
LeBoeuf, a senior, is heading the project with Amanda McCuskey, a fellow member of the Academic Affairs Council.

Guerilla Art Liberation Lives, Animal Rights Club, the Economic Development Club and the Multicultural Center were all involved at the meeting.  Each group will claim a room and create an environment that is connected to their cause.

“I want you guys to be as crazy as possible,” said LeBoeuf, adding jokingly “at least within what the UMW administration will allow.”

Along with UC Berkeley, other schools such as the University of Maryland, Regis University, and Arizona State University have participated in the Tunnel of Oppression project.

Different issues and themes are covered at each school.

For the University of Mary Washington, G.A.L.L. plans to create a room that holds racial and sexual epithets portrayed in backlight on the bodies of the members.

Animal Rights is planning to create a room dedicated to the victims of puppy mills, calling to attention the five different abuses animals undergo: experimentation, use for clothing, being processed for food, companionship, and entertainment.

The Economic Club proposes to have a room connected to the Copenhagen Consensus with the portrayal of the ten different constraints people of poverty must endure.

While the Multicultural Center presently has no definite role in the production of the Tunnel, Shaunna Payne, Director of the Multicultural Center, assures that at least a few of the nine multicultural student organizations will participate in the project.

“I can’t see them all saying no to this project,” says Payne, “although a number of them are quite busy, given the time of year.”

With planning well underway, the Tunnel of Oppression will be held in the Combs Building between March 28 and March 30.