Beyond Incidents and Apologies: Toward a New Understanding of Campus Racial Conflict
By: Blanca Elizabath Vega
Published: 5/20/2015
Uploaded: 03/12/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2015 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Campus Racial Climate, Campus Violence, conflict, Race, racism, SOCIOLOGY

Description/Abstract: Since the Civil Rights Era, a new form of racism emerged—subtle, cumulative, often manifesting in private and interpersonal ways that seemed very different from Jim Crow era racism—cross burnings, lynchings, legally segregated institutions, and schools in particular. But it is in fact in schools where the manifestation of this new form of racism emerged and called for a closer examination of the different ways Students of Color navigate campus climates at historically White colleges and universities. The 1980s and 1990s marked an especially intense time for racial conflict that caused various researchers to take a closer look at campus racial climates. Although racial conflict was the impetus for studying campus racial climates, racial conflict itself was minimally explored in higher education.

Using campus racial climate, campus violence, and organizational conflict literatures, I examined the perceptions of the campus racial conflict (CRC) process and how this manifested at two types of institutions of higher education: a minority-serving institution (MSI) and a historically White institution (HWI), both located in the Northeast section of the United States. This research drew on a little over a year of qualitative research involving a total of 35 interviews with students, faculty, and administrators.

This dissertation made three main contributions to the field of higher education. First, this research produced preliminary typologies of forms of and responses to racial conflict, organized by three types of racial conflict: individual, institutional, and structural. Second, this dissertation provided a framework for developing what I call “Campus Racial Conflict Advocates” or higher education stakeholders who can be trained to collect, study, and respond to incidents of CRC. Finally, this research extended the campus racial climate, campus violence, and organizational conflict research by applying a critical race perspective and centering racial conflict in higher education. By doing this, this research built upon the work of race researchers who have documented “new racism”—the racism that emerged after the Civil Rights Era.