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Tunnel of Oppression

March 3 - 6, 2014

What is the Tunnel of Oppression?

Working in collaboration with various campus departments and campus student groups, the University Center is hosting the 5th annual Tunnel of Oppression – an interactive event that highlights contemporary issues of oppression. It is designed to introduce participants to the concepts of oppression, privilege, and power. Participants are guided through a series of scenes that aim to educate and challenge them to think more deeply about issues of oppression. At the end of the tour, participants are provided with the opportunity to discuss their experiences with each other. Facilitators help participants reflect on their experiences and put their newfound knowledge to use in their everyday lives.


Tunnel of Oppression is a campus grassroots diversity program that originated in 1993 at Western Illinois University. Using the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California as a model, Tunnel strives to give people a way to experience oppression in a hands-on way. By engaging emotions of the participants, it allows for the accounts expressed in the program to be truly effective. People may have never been placed in these types of situations, and they obtain a sense of what it actually feels like to be oppressed or discriminated through the sights and sounds they experience. While Tunnel may be disturbing, it is an effective tool used to teach people about how it really feels to be in the various situations.

The success of the Tunnel is dependent on our campus commitment to diversity issues and community building. We are looking for student groups and individual volunteers to help make this year’s Tunnel a success. Together we can work together to promote a positive attitude about differences and encourage each other to learn, respect, and appreciate diversity.

Volunteer for the Tunnel of Oppression

The Tunnel of Oppression offers a great opportunity to volunteer and collaborate. If you are interested in volunteering for the day of, preparations prior, clean up after or anything in between we would appreciate your help. In order to volunteer please fill out the short form. The form will help us to know your availability, interest, and contact information.

Volunteer for Tunnel of Oppression


Contact our Diversity and Student Involvement Network Coordinator Jamar Galbreath by email at or by phone at (406) 243-5776 if you are interested in joining the committee.

Eventbrite - Tunnel of Oppression

Keynote Speaker: Laverne Cox

Thursday, March 6th | 7:00 p.m. | UC Ballroom

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is an actress, writer, producer, and transgender advocate. She can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. Cox was named as one of the most influential trans people in America in the inaugural Trans 100 in 2013. As a transgender advocate Cox continues to lend her voice to the cause of transgender visibility and equality. She travels the country speaking about issues that affect the trans community.


Monday, March 3rd | 7:00 p.m. | UC Theater


"Boom" is the story of a college graduate who moves to North Dakota to work as a trucker in the oil fields. He quickly becomes acutely aware that there is more being exploited in the high northern plains than just natural resources. Go undercover with iEmpathize and explore the darker side of our oil communities through club scenes and prostitution rings. The Montana premiere of this film will empower us to recognize and respond to human trafficking in and around our communities.

Mattress Vigil

March 3rd - 6th | 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
15-minute segment: $5/person (max. 8-person group)

Join iEmpathize and campus groups in silent protest of modern day slavery by participating in a mattress vigil in the UC Atrium happening during the Tunnel of Oppression. The vigil will be raising funds to help iEmpathize fight against sexual exploitation.

Exhibit Topics