Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Dr. Cathy Schlund-Vials

Associate Advisor

Dr. Shawn Salvant

Associate Advisor

Dr. Kate Capshaw

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


“The Place of Race in the Academy” argues that, for students and faculty of color in the academy, microaggressions is not merely an exception at some institutions, but rather the expectation of their ivory tower experience. The project takes a creative nonfiction approach, sharing personal stories as a way to access a deeper discussion of the history of racism in the academy, the creation and marketing of diversity and multicultural programs and campaigns, and the effect this has on the mental health of students and faculty of color. I rely on critical texts such as Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities by Craig Steven Wilder, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, and Multiculturalism on Campus: Theory, Models, and Practices for Understanding Diversity and Creating Inclusion, edited by Michael J. Cuyjet, Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, and Diane L. Cooper, as well as recent articles in The Chronicle for Higher Education, in order to join the academic conversation and discuss the heated debate among academics about the issues of microaggressions, censorship, race, and freedom in colleges and universities. With this framework in place, I weave my own narrative, academic discourse, cultural and sociopolitical facts, and history to create a comprehensive understanding of what people of color face in the academy and why this research is so timely right now.

Chapter 1 sets the stage, looking at my experience as a person of color at a predominantly white institution. I use the University of Connecticut as the example. Chapter 2 is about what I call Depression Syndrome. Chapter 3 investigates the failure of multiculturalism and the ways in which college campuses are hostile environments for students and faculty of color. Chapter 4 transitions into a conversation about the paradoxical position of the university. The dissertation ends with chapter 5, which speaks to the process of writing a dissertation, particularly as a student of color in a hostile environment.

Available for download on Sunday, April 30, 2028