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Diversity Awareness Project Tunnel of Oppression at Trumbull is an Eye-Opener

Posted Feb. 28, 2011 | Jaime Ramos

The Diversity Council at Kent State University at Trumbull will again this year assemble its awareness project known as The Tunnel of Oppression. The annual project is a collection of thought-provoking art and posters placed on a wooden frame and plastic ceiling to form a tunnel that individuals can walk through to view.

The project will be displayed in the Theatre/Library Building from late February to April.

Its purpose is to stimulate thought, causing people to change their preconceived ideas of hate, says Carol Robinson, associate professor of English, who heads the project.

"One goal of the project is to raise awareness and thought about the concepts of oppression, that oppression can be placed upon any person or group of people at any time in history," Robinson says.

Another aim of the project is to take the focus of hate off the violator and victim, and place the focus on the behavior that results in that negative emotion, hopefully raising awareness about how to stop these actions.

"Too much focus upon the victim is, ultimately, a form of further humiliation for that victim. If we focus more upon the action, how to stop or prevent it, then we ultimately help victims experience less humiliation or prevent victimization completely," Robinson says.

This project was started in 2009 by Jennifer Lyles. This year, the tunnel will bear the theme "The Five Faces of Oppression" – ­exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence.

For this year's tunnel, the council sponsored a student poster contest, which offers cash prizes to the contest winners. All applicants have submitted their posters, and they are on display in the current Tunnel of Oppression. Along with these, some past favorites have also been included in the tunnel.

The Diversity Council at Trumbull is a branch of Kent State University's Diversity Action Council (DAC), an offshoot of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Diversity Action Council' serves as the highest leadership council for universitywide diversity matters, serves as an advocate for diversity agenda for Kent State University, leads diversity initiatives for the unit they represent and ensures that each unit translates the universitywide Strategic Diversity Plan into an action plan.

The council is comprised of the chair of each of the seven regional diversity advisory committees, an appointed representative of each of the six colleges, an appointed representative of each of the five administrative divisions, one appointed representative of the senate, and finally, one student representative.

The Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Kent State is Alfreda Brown, who has worked for the university since 2009. Brown hopes to reach new heights in diversity through inclusive excellence at Kent State.

For more information on the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit http://www.kent.edu/diversity/index.cfm.

For more information on the Tunnel of Oppression poster contest, visit http://www.kent.edu/news/newsdetail.cfm?newsitem=4C55604E-DABB-0F7E-736293291925F30D.