Three short films were shown focusing on different forms of oppression and bullying for the Tunnel of Oppression event Tuesday. The Center for Diversity and Unity put together the “Tunnel of Oppression” on the fourth floor of the Shepherd Union Building.
Each film focused on an aspect of bullying and how it can affect people. The first film focused on stereotypes and profiling, the second on sexual orientation issues, and the third on cyber-bullying and suicide.
“The whole reason we wanted to do this is because all three of these things that you’ve witnessed are things that have happened at Weber State University,” said Megan Gour, the Stop the Hate chair for the Center for Diversity and Unity. “These are obviously scripted and acted, but they were based on real things. We wanted to bring this to the campus to show students what is happening. You never know what people think of what you say.”
The groups of students were led to three different rooms in the union building, where they watched each of the films. The event ran throughout the day, and more than 50 Weber State University students attended.
“I think it’s good for people to see what’s happening on campus, because bullying is everywhere. It doesn’t stay in high school, obviously,” said sophomore Alexis Marquez. “It helps, because some people are oblivious to it. You know, you just go to class, you don’t really think about comments, but now, seeing it through the Tunnel of Oppression and the reactions that it can cause, it’s horrible and it really makes you think and double-take what you’re saying and how it’s being taken.”
The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about all types of bullying and how it might affect other people, and to point out that even if most people don’t see it happening, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
“I think this is important, because we want people to realize what’s happening outside of their own social groups,” Gour said. “I think a lot of times, our society closes their eyes to bullying or profiling or racial stereotypes. So we want to open their eyes to what’s really going on, and you may not see it personally, but we still want people to realize that these are going on.”
After students watched the films, the facilitators offered to talk to them about any comments or issues they might have regarding the subject matter.
“These are events that we’ve seen happen here at Weber State, and not just here, but also on a bigger level around the world,” said Lola Moli, assistant director for the Center for Diversity and Unity. “We know that suicide is one of the biggest causes of death. It’s just so sad that something as simple as people saying things that they don’t see as being hurtful really can lead to someone killing themselves. So we think that if we bring awareness to it here at Weber State, even if it makes a tiny impact, it will make an impact. . . . Any kind of impact works.”