An event called the Tunnel of Oppression was held at Kansas' Fort Hays State University, in which students walked through a dimly lit room full of stations highlighting "issues of oppression." Footage of the "tunnel" was leaked by student members of Turning Point USA.
Flyers for the program discuss the programming, saying it is "an interactive presentation meant to raise awareness and explore different types of oppression." A student leaked footage of the "Tunnel of Oppression," and shared it with TPUSA. The quick video shows the various stations in which students can understand history and current events through the lens of oppression.
It instructs the students that "Today, you will be going through various topics put together by our amazing students, faculty and staff," and that these people are affiliated with the campus groups Us 4 U, Teachers of Tomorrow, Black Student Union, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and Student Engagement.
When the event was held in 2018, the hosts included the African Ambassadors and the International Student Union, but the Gender and Sexuality Alliance was then known as the Gay Straight Alliance.
Tiger Media Network, Fort Hays State's "convergent media hub," interviewed student organizers and detailed the event.
"So we have the 'Tunnel of Oppression,'" student engagement worker Moriah Debney told Tiger Media, "where we have different sections talking about like different topics going on right now. We have microaggressions, misogyny, and then Options is here talking about like, different types of like healthy relationships and like they have red flags and how to like, what the world of someone being abused is kind of like to help kids walk through it. So they can kind of get a taste of like what those people experience without like, experience it themselves."
Organizers believe that "the event is as relevant as ever given current events."
"It's very important to have these conversations especially now coming up pandemic, and having, or being back on campus, being face to face I think is very important. And so, just hope everybody comes in with an open mind being respectful, which is something that should be continuing in the future," graduate assistant for student engagement Misael Trojo said.
Shaelin Sweet, writing an article in 2018, described the program as "a series of stations located in the Memorial Union’s Fort Hays Ballroom which formed a pathway. The room was dimly lit with individual lighting focused on each station to metaphorically shine a light on issues of oppression." The event has been running since 2016.
In 2018, the stated goal of the "Tunnel of Oppression" was to undertake "raising awareness about stereotypes and aggressive speech," and to give "students and faculty the opportunity to learn how they can be allied in the fight for equality."
Part of being "allied in the fight for equality" is to encourage students to "raise awareness of oppression" by starting with "their own privilege and biases."
In addition to these ideas was the one that suggested "Don't laugh at racist jokes. Don't thoughtlessly spread 'fake news' that can ultimately be hurtful. Speak up gently when someone speaks out of ignorance or prejudice or when people make sweeping and unfounded generalizations about someone different from themselves."
The program also touts diversity not for lasting friendships, but to "get a better understanding and appreciation of differences and points of view." This was a statement made in 2018 by a member of the African Ambassadors.
"In yet another outrageous example of a misuse of taxpayer dollars, student loans, and four years of a student’s life, Fort Hays State University is subjecting its campus to 'anti-racist training' that once again is the very embodiment of racism," TPUSA wrote.