Terror behind the walls: truth behind the story

By Laura Gallagher
April 30, 2012

above photos by Sheena Sutton

Students and faculty have been stunned by the new makeover of Founder’s lobby, which includes skeletons, spooky wallpaper and eerie pictures hanging from the ceiling. The photography classes have set up a photo exhibit of pictures of the Eastern State Penitentiary trip they went on earlier this year.

They are showing this exhibit not only to fund for the photography club they have started this year, but to raise awareness on the unjust things that have gone on in prisons now and previously.

The photography club went to the Eastern State Penitentiary during the month of March to take pictures for this exhibit. They became aware of the brutality that occured in prison. They planned this to help educate others on what went on and the impact it had on the inmates.

“We’ve been preparing for a while for this and it’s come together really nicely,” Molly Fox, freshman communications major, said. “We’re all really happy because all of our hard work with the photos and documentary and we’re happy with the way it turned out.”

There were fact sheets spread on the tables and a documentary playing on a TV that some of the students made. Malik Aziz, former inmate and community activist, spoke in the video of his experience in prison.

Later in the day Aziz spoke to students in Founder’s 279 about what he did in prison. He worked at the library while he was there and taught many inmates how to read and write.  He now has been actively involved in the community and is helping mediate for people currently incarcerated.

“I took a job in the community relations and that’s where I did most of my work,” Aziz said.  “I was able to help a lot of people coming out, setting policies and doing the things I always dreamed of doing.”

Hearing Malik’s story inspired and really moved the people who listened. Some students who came to the exhibit were also in shock of the things that went on  that they were not aware.

When Terri Allen, undeclared freshman major, was in 7th grade she went on a trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary and people were telling her how crazy the inmates were because of how small the space was in the cells. “I guess we don’t know how serious it is or to this extent. I never really thought of it as the penitentiary as using the Halloween factor to make a profit,” Allen said.  “It’s really sad when you think about it.”

Linda Panetta, photography instructor, has been helping the students edit the photos, decorate the lobby and set up the actual trip to the prison. The students took detailed pictures of the prison and they are up for sale for $25. The exhibit will be up to look at for rest of the week.


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Laura Gallagher

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