ERIC Number: EJ1118569
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-21
Race and Class on Campus
Perez, Angel B.
New England Journal of Higher Education, Oct 2016
Colleges and universities have a significant role to play in shaping the future of race and class relations in America. As exhibited in this year's presidential election, race and class continue to divide. Black Lives Matter movements, campus protests, and police shootings are just a few examples of the proliferation of intolerance, and higher education has a moral imperative to become the training ground for issues that students will face throughout their lives. Given the increasing diversity of higher education, there has never been a greater opportunity to address race and class. Colleges are beginning to reflect America's diversity and this presents an opportunity for cultivating understanding. For many, stepping through the doors of higher education could be the first time they are confronted with engaging difference. While it's an incredible opportunity for exchange, it's also easy for misunderstandings to lead to conflict. Angel Perez believes that the first thing higher education must do is help students understand that life in college is challenging and being uncomfortable actually helps them grow. In fact, former Williams College Professor Robert Gaudino, a political scientist and experiential educationalist, dedicated most of his career to helping students engage in "uncomfortable learning." He believed that putting students in uncomfortable situations and forcing them to confront their own beliefs, values, and "habits of mind" was the key to their growth and success. Perez also makes the case that faculty and administration both play important roles in setting the stage for dialogue--suggesting that the admissions and financial aid process can socially engineer a more diversity-friendly campus. Faculty also plays a pivotal role in campus conversations by seeing race and class as an opportunity for pedagogical engagement. As the demographics of the U.S. change, those who walk through the doors of higher education also change. Higher education has a moral imperative to socially construct the platform for students to learn how to engage difference.
Descriptors: Colleges, Universities, Race, Racial Relations, Campuses, Higher Education, Social Status, College Students, Low Income Students, Student Diversity, Racial Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A