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Enter the Tunnel


2018 Dates

Friday, November 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, November 10, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Simplot Ballroom, Student Union Building, Boise State University

Tunnel of Oppression is a 20-30 minute interactive experience that will challenge the way you think. Find out what it’s like to face biases in the criminal justice system or the genocide of Native Americans in the United States from colonialism.

History of Tunnel of Oppression Nationally

The Tunnel of Oppression is loosely based on the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA, and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It was Western Illinois University that first developed the Tunnel to raise awareness about different forms of oppression.

An interactive presentation, The Tunnel is an eye-opening, conscious-raising experience: a brief introduction for those who have rarely or never experienced oppression. After the 30-minute guided tour in and out of various theaters, participants are debriefed by professional counselors and counseling interns to discuss their reactions, which can sometimes be emotional.

Goals of Tunnel

  • Provide underrepresented students an opportunity to express their lived realities and experiences of systemic oppression.
  • Educate on the systemic nature of oppression and its impact on dominant and non-dominant groups.
  • Construct an evolving project that meets the needs of students.
  • Create awareness about the intersections of oppression.

“The Tunnel of Oppression completely shattered my foundation in all the best ways. My experiences in Tunnel allowed me to unlearn and relearn values about race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. I am a better, kinder, more inclusive, and well-informed person thanks to tunnel.” ~Cody Hafer

History of Tunnel of Oppression at Boise State (Holocaust museum)

Multicultural Student Services hosted its first Tunnel of Oppression in 2005, a one-day event with more than 400 people participating.

In 2006, the Tunnel became a two-day event with more than 800 participants and a cast and crew of more than 40. Today, the Tunnel attracts more than 1,500 people in a two-and-a-half-day period with a cast and crew of more than 100 students, including professors and staff members.

Tunnel of Oppression committee works with student organizations and departments, Counseling Education, Department of English, Foundational Studies and professors from different colleges across campus. Themes change every year and vary widely—everything from same-sex marriage to immigration to body image to racism. Students can volunteer for directing, set designing, scriptwriting, acting, and many other creative endeavors.

Quotes from tunnel participants

“Tunnel has opened my eyes to issues I didn’t even know existed, and now I can’t close them.” Amber Hastain

“Participating in Tunnel allowed me for the first time, in the four years I have attended Boise State, to feel as though I belonged.” Demeri Beil

“Tunnel allowed me to feel it. I can’t explain the overwhelming feeling … it allowed me to experience what others feel and for that, I’m forever changed.” Karissa Sutton

Committee information (please join/participate)

Committees are formed by theater topic (e.g. bias, prejudice, discrimination). Each committee is responsible for meeting once a week in addition to the Tunnel meeting to discuss scene, props, scripts, set design and actors. Committees can meet in the Student Diversity Center or at an agreed-upon location.

Advising information (please join/participate)

Staff and faculty members can help students research topics, design scenes and get to know them outside the classroom, a unique opportunity. An adviser attends a one-hour-a-week meeting and helps guide his/her committee up to and during production

Sponsors & Partners

  • Counseling Education
  • MLK Living Legacy Committee
  • Multicultural Student Services
  • Student Diversity & Inclusion