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Open Access 5 Under the Radar: Institutional Racism, University Policies, and Student Activism


College campuses are the current battleground for racism and race-based ideas of white supremacy with the most recent being the slew of bans against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in classrooms. Yet, as these battles rage on, a parallel phenomenon is occurring within college campuses with changes in student conduct codes and resolutions passed by universities to target student protesters and activists – more specifically, Student Activists of Color. Utilizing critical discourse through Ray’s (2019) theory of racialized organization and Cho’s (2018) institutional response framework, this study examines student conduct codes and university policies and explores their racialized impact on student involvement and activism. Findings from this qualitative study reveal color-evasive language to justify sanctions; co-opt the language of safety and care; and illuminate how campus policies like “time, place, manner” influence, limit, and silence the concerns of marginalized communities.

Keywords: campus policies; institutional color evasiveness; institutional racism; student activism

Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: January 1, 2022

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  • Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education is an international refereed scholarly journal committed to advancing understanding of the role(s) and purpose(s) of higher education. The journal strives to be inclusive in scope, addressing topics and issues of significance to a wide range of scholars and practitioners concerned with the relationship between higher education and society. Rigorous submissions informed by diverse philosophical and theoretical orientations, including, but not limited to, critical theory, existentialism, feminism, queer theory, post-colonialism, Marxism, liberalism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, and posthumanism will be welcomed. PTIHE aims to stimulate critical analyses of policy and practice in higher education, with an emphasis on inter-disciplinarity and international perspectives. The content will be primarily philosophical and theoretically-based research papers. Analytical papers that reflect on empirical projects will also be featured in the journal. Short responses to previous articles as well as essay reviews of new works in the field will be considered to promote ongoing critical dialogue within the journal. Proposals for special issues, with thematically linked papers, are encouraged.
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