Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Julian Maxwell Hayter

Second Advisor

Dr. Crystal Hoyt

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrea Simpson


Recently, American colleges and universities have seen an increase in hate and bias incidents. These incidents are, unfortunately, nothing new. In coming to terms with the continuity of discrimination in higher education, history matters. The process of diversification challenged higher education in seen and unforeseen ways. Namely, institutions of higher education often fail to reconcile the distinctions between their stated institutional claims and actual practices. More bluntly, university administrations have not been as intentional about inclusivity and diversity as they would like the public to believe. Many of America’s universities have failed to institute apparati that might allow diversity to thrive. In fact, the process of diversification is often more a matter of marketability than social obligation. Unlike their predecessors of the 1960s, many students have also failed to challenge (or organize against) these institutions’ often lukewarm responses to hate and bias incidents. This paper addresses why institutions of higher learning have struggled to meet the challenges of diversity and inclusion and why students have struggled to organize against the glacial rate of change. In answering these questions (and others), I examine the history and purpose of higher education, how diversification challenged both, and the role 1960s student protests played in forcing institutions of higher learning to modernize. This endeavor then delineates the actual impact that these movements had in changing institutions of higher education and how universities struggled to manage students’ 3 concerns. Ultimately, I contemplate how administrative initiatives frequently fail to meet the challenges of diversity–marketability often takes precedent over intentionality. Until recently, students have done little to challenge their positions within these institutions— often acting more like customers than orchestrators of culture and agents of change.