Study Examines Racial Differences in Students’ Experiences in Campus Housing

A new study by Zachary Foste, assistant professor of educational leadership & policy studies at the University of Kansas, examined racial differences in students’ experience in campus housing at three major universities.

After interviewing campus housing administrators, staff, and students, Dr. Foste found that all three educational institutions had spaces where students of color felt they didn’t belong. Students at all three institutions said there were campus facilities that were predominantly White, or where more students of color tended to live. Students of color who lived in predominantly White facilities commonly reported not feeling welcome, being uncomfortable with roommates, and avoiding spending time in their residence.

Adding to the racial animus was the trend in higher education of schools building newer, more lavish housing facilities to attract students. The result is often a dichotomy of new, high-dollar, spacious living spaces and older residential towers with shared bathrooms and few amenities.

Respondents at one campus also spoke of a housing facility that was low-cost but required students to work jobs as janitorial staff, in kitchens, or other similar situations. Some called the facility “the poor house.” Some institutions assign or allow students to choose rooms based on when they put down a pre-deposit. That is not an option for many students not from high socioeconomic backgrounds.

Foste said that “this was all about how people perceive their environment, which was at odds with universities’ stated values of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Living arrangements were anything but equitable or inclusive.”

The study is forthcoming in the Journal of College Student Development.

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  1. Hey Zachary,
    Your study findings maybe NEW to you and other White academics. However, for the majority of Black academics and especially Black students at Historically White Colleges and Universities (HWCUs) have already know this since their affiliation with HWCUs. Your study should have critically examined White students and White faculty/staff why they have this deeply rooted racial animus towards native born Black American students and Black faculty? I would venture in saying the racist behavior by White students and White faculty/staff is due primarily to their own intellectual, cognitive, and social identity Insecurity.

  2. omg this was my student developement theory professor ! I rmember hin talking about doing this study and now its everywhere!

    • Hey Bria,
      There’s no way in the World you’re a Graduate Student with this type of error loaded comment. It’s quite evident that you have been thoroughly miseducation in the area of student development theory. Matter of fact, what country do you come from? Sad.

  3. Is it the university’s fault if students of color “feel unwelcome” or are “uncomfortable” with (white) roommates?

    Perhaps. But too many students close off opportunities for bridge-building and friendship by bringing their cultural baggage to situations that call for an open mind and a willingness to engage. Avoiding cultural and racial clashes is a two-way street.

    • Once again, the buffoonish “ewart” (lowercase ‘e’ intentional) continues to be a avid supporter of systemic and institutional higher education racism with his cognitive dissonance comment. For the record “ewart”, these publicly funding universities supposed to provide the ‘appropriate environment’ for All of its students. “ewart”, you continue to embarrass yourself .

    • Ewart try being a male of African descent who has to deal constantly with micro and macro aggressions from White America THEN talk about cultural and racial clashes.

      • Hey Dr. Minor,

        You’re absolutely correct. No other male in this country called the USA has experienced more coordinated, orchestrated, educational, medical, psychological, fiscal, institutional and physical violence than the Native born Black American man. For those who feel otherwise are No Friend to Native born Black American Men in any capacity.

        • Michael, I clearly understand your passion. However, out passion sometimes makes us chauvinistic about our oppression. Without a doubt, Native American Indigenous people have as much claim, if not much more than we have from this country. And no, they have not received reparations for their losses. Most Native American Indigenous people rejected ant compensation for their land which was not for sale. Only the very small compromising few signed treaties and agreements with the US government. This is all theirs.

          • No. This is not all theirs. Land was the least important element in the creation of “America.” American wealth was created by the hard work and ingenuity of (mostly) white Americans, who built up the “capital” that has generated American prosperity. Native Americans contributed almost nothing to this gigantic store of capital.

          • Hey Craig,
            You fail woefully to recognize that it’s not about “passion” but “COMMITMENT”. For the record, I never implied or insinuated that “Natives” weren’t entitled to any form of Reparations. My question to you is why all of sudden people like you and many others of course suddenly become so enraged when Native born Black Americans talk about Black Reparations? That said, I must you what African or Caribbean country do you come from?

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