Wall of Oppression reaches out to students

Gretchen Burns | Collegio Reporter

Students passing through the Oval this week between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. will notice a huge wall with chalk writing. The Wall of Oppression is sponsored by the Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) to promote equality on the PSU campus and help eliminate racial profiling and stereotyping.
Zach Katzer says he got the idea for the wall while attending a residence hall national conference in Boulder, Colo. He says another school tried the idea, and was successful so he decided to bring the event to PSU.

The Wall of Oppression with statements of opression stands covered due to rain on Wed., September 26.

The Wall of Oppression with statements of opression stands covered due to rain on Wed., September 26.

“RHA wanted to do the ‘Tunnel of Oppression’ last year, but it never worked out,” said Katzer, senior in manufacturing and RHA president. “But this year, we are incorporating different groups and organizations throughout the campus to help bring awareness and student diversity to the campus.”
Katzer says RHA feels that diversity is important and wants to get rid of the racial stereotypes on campus so students are free to be themselves.
He says the Wall of Oppression would help amplify the understanding of racial profiling and stereotyping of the student population on campus.
RHA is not the only group participating in the event: On Tuesday, Gorillas in Your Midst (GIYM) took charge of the wall to raise awareness of oppression.
“I think the Wall of Oppression is a great idea,” said Tambree Wilson, junior in psychology and GIYM student coordinator. “We don’t realize how much we oppress others by the things we say, and I think getting this wall out there will help people think of what they say before they say it.”
Wilson added to the wall with her stereotype.
“I even joined the writing on the wall,” Wilson said. “My part says, ‘People think I’m a criminal because of where I’m from. ‘Dotte proud.’”
RHA grilled hot dogs in the Oval on Wednesday.
“We wanted to find a way to draw people in, and we felt that free food was the best way,” Katzer said. “They’ll stop for the food and then be curious as to what the Wall of Oppression is actually about.”
Autism Speaks will be in charge of the wall on Thursday.
“This is an awareness event for us,” said Candin Nelson, senior in psychology education and member of Autism Speaks. “We want to bring awareness of autism to students because they have no idea how widespread it is. One in eight children are born with autism and it’s becoming an epidemic, if it hasn’t already become one.”
The PSU Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) will host the wall on Friday.
“We’re participating in the Wall of Oppression because we want to open up to people that we exist and this is a way to try to support gay rights,” said Andres Myers, junior in physics and Gay Straight Alliance secretary/treasurer. “This is something we can relate to and it’s time that people knew.”
According to Katzer, the wall will be torn down at 1 p.m. Friday as a form of overcoming the oppression written on it.

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