Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members spent part of Monday afternoon opposing discrimination in the Tunnel of Oppression, sponsored by the Youngstown State University Office of Housing & Residence Life.
The fraternity prides itself on having no racial, ethnic or religious requirements for joining.
Junior TKE member Mike Libbey said the fraternity has taught him the importance of acceptance.
“The true brotherhood we have in our frat, and the fraternity itself, opened my mind to social equality,” Libbey said.
Libbey and fraternity brothers Ryan McKeeton, Josh McMillian and Timar Majors walked through the tunnel and wrote positive statements to hang at the end of the walk.
In its fifth year at YSU, the Tunnel of Oppression will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Thursday. The tunnel is located in the Presidential Suites of Kilcawley Center. The hours will be extended on Wednesday until 7 p.m.
“This is something very important, and it’s something people should see,” McMillian said. “It’ll change people’s views on things. I’ve only been here for two minutes, and my views on a couple things have changed.”
The tunnel promotes the importance of anti-hate and stresses getting rid of -isms. Presentations dealt with classism, racism, heterosexism, sexism, lookism and genocide, among other topics.
Alexis Zaide, residential education assistant, said content within the Tunnel of Oppression continues to expand.
“When people walk through, they come out with a sense of enlightenment,” Zaide said. “They want to see this as more of a movement, not just a program.”
Students NacDaniel Flanigan and Shantal Edwards said they learned a lot, especially from the ableism section of the display, which had a segment about famous people with disorders.
“Tom Cruise, one of my favorite actors, has a learning disability, and I would’ve never known,” Flanigan said.
Edwards said she has walked through the exhibit every year and views it as a helpful learning experience.
Each person who walks through the tunnel receives a bookmark and a purple wristband inscribed, “Let’s get IT right.” Students also receive a referral card. If a student returns with the card and a friend, he or she will receive a T-shirt.
On Wednesday, author Denise Pietzsch speak about campus civility at noon in the Jones Room of Kilcawley Center.
Gareth Asher & The Earthlings will perform a concert at The Hub at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in support of “getting IT right.”