Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Tunnel 2012
Print this PageEmail this Page

Tunnel 2012


Presented by One Tribe


Dates:    Wednesday, March 14 – Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time:      4:00 – 9:00pm each day. Tours begin at 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8pm.

Where:   Multicultural Affairs, 618 S. Michigan Ave., 4th floor

RSVP:     To make a reservation to experience the Tunnel of Oppression, please download and complete the RSVP form and email it to onetribe@colum.edu by 12:00pm on March 12, 2012.


Did you go through the 2012 Tunnel of Oppression?

Please take our brief survey to let us know what you thought!

What is Tunnel of Oppression?

Tunnel of Oppression is a campus diversity initiative originally developed at Western Illinois University and loosely based on the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA. The idea for Tunnel came during a search for an effective way to accurately reflect the realities of oppression in a full sensory experiential manner. The creators wanted to give participants the opportunity to see, touch, hear, and feel the realities of oppression as a stepping-stone toward creating diversity awareness.

The full-sensory experience of Tunnel is intended to challenge our ideas and perceptions about the issues surrounding oppression. It is intended to be raw, eye opening, and a consciousness “gut-check.” The rationale is that students are often unable to fully understand oppression and discrimination until they see it, or experience it firsthand.

The Tunnel experience should stimulate thoughts, feelings, and emotions around the issues and images presented. It is often shocking and disturbing for those who have never witnessed blatant forms of discrimination or oppression. It may also be upsetting to those who have witnessed the realities of the images presented. Yet, it is important to realize that the scenes depicted in the Tunnel represent reality for many individuals. It is also important for us to realize many behaviors and misconceptions need to be changed.


Thanks to the Columbia Chronicle for this sneak peek at planning for the 2012 Tunnel:



Tunnel FAQ

Want to learn more about Tunnel? Check out our list of frequently asked questions or email onetribe@colum.edu.


One Tribe’s Goal for the Tunnel

The Tunnel of Oppression at Columbia College Chicago will be held March 14 and 15, 2012, in Multicultural Affairs, 618. S. Michigan Ave., 4th Floor. Groups and/or individuals who wish to attend this year's program are strongly encouraged to sign up early via the online sign-up form. Groups will leave on the hour, and walk-ins are encouraged to come on the half-hour to register for the next tour.

As Tunnel participants move through a series of rooms, they are presented with interactive skits, videos, sounds, images, and role-playing designed to raise awareness of acts of oppression that exist globally and in our U.S. society. After groups tour the Tunnel, they are encouraged to process their experience through guided discussion, shared expression space, and personal reflection (co-sponsored by Counseling Services). Please allow approximately one hour for total immersion into the experience.

We hope the Columbia College Chicago Tunnel of Oppression will help tear down barriers that divide those who do not recognize oppression and those who live in it. For individuals who experience it daily, the Tunnel should provide an opportunity to share feelings, educate others, and facilitate understanding.

Make your reservation today!


2012 Tunnel Team

Danielle Amundsen (ASL-English Interpretation)

Matthew Austin                        

Jasmin De La Cerda (Fiction Writing)      

Ava Ginsburg

Daja Jackson (Audio Arts & Acoustics)

Diamond Latchison (Journalism)

TC Liggins (Marketing Communications/PR)

Adriana Mendez (Advertising Art Direction)

Blair Mishleau (Digital Journalism)

Thumy Phan (Graphic Design)      

Charles Phillips (Audio Production)

Rocio Robles   

Carolina Sanchez (Photography)

Alex Sherman  

Francis Shervinski (Arts Management)

Keith Surney (Theatre)

Brandon Taylor Sides (Music)

D.J. Valera (Journalism)          

Noelle Velasco (Theatre - Acting)

Omar Villalobos (Fashion Marketing/Journalism)


Resource Guide

If you went through the 2012 Tunnel of Oppression, you should have received a Resource Guide for more info on the issues presented. Here is the guide, with easy-to-click links!


Scene 1: Racial Profiling

What was this scene about?

Racial profiling disproportionately targets people of color, which causes people to distrust law enforcement. We rely on the police to protect us from harm and to promote fairness and justice in our communities. The despicable practice of racial profiling, however, has led countless people to live in fear and created a system of law enforcement that casts entire communities as suspect.

Since September 11, 2001, new forms of racial profiling have affected a growing number of people of color in the U.S., including members of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. The Obama administration has inherited a shameful legacy of racial profiling codified in official FBI guidelines and a notorious registration program that treats Arabs and Muslims as suspects and denies them the presumption of innocence and equal protection under the law.


What can you do to change this?

There is so much we can do to change our attitudes and perceptions about people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Look at your circle of friends—how diverse is it? Columbia offers you great opportunities to meet new people and learn about the world around you. Check out the Multicultural Affairs student organizations, which welcome students of all backgrounds and experiences: Asian Student Organization, Black Student Union, Common Ground, International Student Organization, Latino Alliance, and One Tribe.

You can also support H.R. 3618, the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) of 2011, which was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. John Conyers in December. It is in committee now and may die there if our representatives don’t hear enough support for it.



Multicultural Affairs at Columbia College Chicago

End Racial Profiling Act

Racial Profiling of Latinos in the Chicago area

U.S. government’s targeting of Muslims after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: aaldef.org/UndertheRadar.pdf


Scene 2: Learning Discrimination in Elementary School

What was this scene about?

We begin to learn discriminatory attitudes at a very young age, from other children and even from authority figures like teachers. We expect schools to be safe places where teachers will stand up for their students, but that’s not always the case. This continues even in college.


What can you do to change this?

Stand up for your classmates! If you see them getting harassed, even subtly, by fellow students or authority figures, support them by speaking out. If you’re in a situation where it doesn’t feel safe to speak out, reach out to the student when it is safe, and then report the incident to another authority figure who will help you.



Not in Our School

LGBT Youth & Schools

Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center


Scene 3: Teens and Body Image

What was this scene about?

I'm fat. I'm too skinny. I'd be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs. Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so, you're not alone. As a teen, you're going through a ton of changes in your body. And as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. Lots of people have trouble adjusting, and this can affect their self-esteem.

It's not just development that affects self-esteem, though. Many other factors (like media images of skinny girls and bulked-up guys) can affect a person's body image, too. Family life can sometimes influence self-esteem. Some parents spend more time criticizing their kids and the way they look than praising them, which can reduce kids' ability to develop good self-esteem.

People also may experience negative comments and hurtful teasing about the way they look from classmates and peers. Sometimes racial and ethnic prejudice is the source of such comments. Although these often come from ignorance, they can affect someone's body image and self-esteem. This scene shows how being compared to a classmate by a teacher can have a negative effect on a student’s self-image. The audio clip demonstrates how media can affect a person and the different extremes of body image issues.


What can you do to change this?

The first thing to do is recognize that your body is your own—no matter what shape, size, or color it comes in. If you're very worried about your weight or size, check with your doctor to verify that things are OK. But it's no one's business but your own what your body is like—ultimately, you have to be happy with yourself.

When you hear negative comments coming from within, tell yourself to stop. Try building your self-esteem by giving yourself three compliments every day. While you're at it, every evening list three things in your day that really made you happy. It can be anything from the way the sun felt on your face to the sound of your favorite band to the way someone laughed at your jokes. By focusing on the good things you do and the positive aspects of your life, you can change how you feel about yourself.



For statistics: childrencomefirst.com/cms/uploads/bodyimagefactvsfiction.pdf

Body Image Health

Transforming Body Image: Learning to Love the Body You Have, by Marcia Germaine Hutchinson


Scene 4: Teen Bullying

What was this scene about?

About 30 percent of teenagers in the U.S. have been involved in bullying, either as a bully or as a victim. Data suggests that teenage bullying is more common among younger teens than it is among older teens. However, it may be that young teens are more prone to physical bullying, which is easier to identify, and that older teens are more sophisticated in methods of bullying that are not always exactly identified as such.

Physical bullying is more common among boys, while teenage girls often favor verbal and emotional bullying. Indeed, while boys report that they are more likely to be involved in physical altercations, girls report that they are often the targets of nasty rumors—especially involving sexual gossip. Additionally, girls are more likely than boys to use exclusion as a teenage bullying technique.

This scene showed how verbal bullying can easily turn into physical bullying. Retaliation is a big problem, especially when a student feels she is being compared excessively to what a teacher deems a “model student” (as seen in the classroom and body image scenes). This teen became violent, turning on her classmate to get revenge for hurtful comments that originated with their teacher.


What can you do to change this?

Telling someone about the bullying is the most important step in stopping it. Tell your parents or your teacher, or call the police. You should not have to deal with the bully alone, especially since s/he could become violent. Though it sounds simple enough, not many have the courage to tell someone. Another way to prevent bullying is to stop it before it starts. If you see someone being bullied, stop it (though be aware of your own safety).




National Center for Education Statistics

Stop Bullying Now

Virginia Youth Violence Project


Scene 5: Access to Higher Education for Undocumented Immigrants

What was this scene about?

Undocumented immigrants who graduate from high school are sometimes faced with the reality of not being able to afford to pay for college. Undocumented students cannot legally receive any federally funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.

Fortunately, a few states, including Illinois, have passed laws allowing students who attend and graduate from in-state high schools to qualify for in-state tuition rates at their public colleges, regardless of immigration status. Some colleges and private funders also allow undocumented students to apply for their scholarships.


What can you do to change this?

Governor Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act into law on August 1, 2011. Among its provisions are the creation of an Illinois DREAM Fund for scholarships for children of immigrants, the option for undocumented immigrants to invest in 529 college savings programs, and training for high school and university personnel on college and financial aid options for immigrant youth.

However, the federal DREAM Act has yet to be passed. You can learn more at the links below and write to your representatives in Congress in support of the bill.



DREAMer’s Pathway to College (a fantastic resource for IL students)

DREAM Activist: Undocumented Students Action & Resource Network

Immigrant Youth Justice League (a Chicago org led by undocumented youth)


Scene 6: Veterans and Homelessness

What was this scene about?

After facing the horrors of war, an immigrant veteran returns to the U.S., only to end up homeless. He recounts terrifying moments at war and how the government’s promises fell through. Though the scene focused on homeless veterans, we also want to shed light on homelessness in general.

It is estimated that between 23 and 40 percent of homeless adults are veterans.

Most homeless veterans are male; the VA estimates that as few as 3 percent of homeless veterans are female. However, this number has the potential to increase over time as the number of women veterans increases.

Almost 46 percent of homeless veterans are white males, and 46 percent are 45 or older. More than half have completed high school or a GED program.

Based on the January 2011 National Alliance to End Homelessness’s State of Homelessness report, an estimated 14,055 people experience homelessness each night in Illinois.

* 84% were living in shelters and transitional housing, while 16% were unsheltered.
* 53% were single adults and 47% were persons living in families.
* 16% were chronically homeless according to HUD’s definition.

People who are homeless in Illinois have a variety of characteristics. Of the total persons who are homeless at a given point in time, sheltered and unsheltered, in Illinois:

* 15% are veterans
* 32% are severely mentally ill
* 48% have chronic substance abuse issues
* 4% are living with HIV/AIDS
* 25% are victims of domestic violence


What can you do to change this?

Get informed! Volunteer at your closest shelter! There are many programs that offer ways to volunteer and/or donate. You can donate money, food, or toiletries. So instead of deciding one day to go through your pantry and throw away canned food, box it up and take it to a shelter.



The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

National Center for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)

Veterans Affairs Facility Finder


Scene 7: Mistreatment of Deaf People

What was this scene about?

Deaf people are often ostracized and have faced discrimination for hundreds of years. This scene showcases the common communication barriers Deaf folks face. The majority doesn't use or acknowledge their language, often leaving them isolated in their own communities.


What can you do to change this?

For starters, you can know what to do when you run into a Deaf person. If you don't know sign, that's okay. You can write things down or text. If you'd like to make a big difference, learn some ASL! It's easier to get started than you'd think. 



SigningSavvy.com is a great resource to learn some basic ASL phrases! Plus we have ASL courses and an ASL Club here at Columbia.


Sponsored by: Multicultural Affairs, One Tribe, Counseling Services, and the Workroom

Adapted from the University of Philadelphia: http://www.philau.edu/studentdev/tunnel.htm