Gonzaga 'tunnel of oppression': 'Tear down the walls'

Gonzaga University in Washington State hosted a Tunnel of Oppression event Thursday where students could go and “find out what it’s like to experience systems of oppression regarding poverty, mental health, racism, and LGBTQ+ Discrimination.” The event also included an exhibit that read, “tear down the walls,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. 

This Tunnel of Oppresson event was started in 1994 at Western Illinois University with the purpose of putting “participants...into contact with oppression as it has played out in daily encounters in many U.S. communities.” 

The student-run Residence Hall Association hosted the event at the Catholic Jesuit Washington State school.


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These individuals featured student artwork that revolved around various forms of discrimination and social justice issues that face the community, according to The Gonzaga Bulletin.

Campus Reform attended the event, which was prefaced with a warning on the door that the topics inside might be upsetting to viewers and that there are resources provided inside “should you need or want support while processing your experience here.”

Some examples of artwork at the event are the history of racial discrimination in America on index cards that made up the American flag, with a title reading “just like this flag, nothing about this history is right,” as well as a painting on the border wall of a girl’s face with “tear down the walls” painted on it, an apparent reference to Trump’s proposed border wall. 



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“Being that Gonzaga is a Jesuit university, we wanted to hold an event where we could showcase experiences of those in the community, with a social justice focus—to spread awareness, and to stand in solidarity with those experiences,” Gonzaga Residence Director Katie Steele told Campus Reform. Steele continued, saying “our hope was to put on an event that continues to shed light on important topics and issues, that need to be talked about.”

Olivia Johnston, president of the Gonzaga College Republicans, told Campus Reform, “I think it’s sad we have to highlight every wrong in America. For every wrong there [are] 5 positive things.”

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“While we need to support people in their struggles, this event also has a clear agenda,” the College Republicans president said. “This is not an art exhibit. It is a liberal anti-America exhibit.”

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