Mount Holyoke Case Study

Decent Essays
In 1954, following the Brown v. the Board of Education decision, African American students became legally able to apply for admission to previously all-White colleges and universities (Anderson, 2002). Following this legislation, many higher education institutions began to racially integrate at a considerable rate; however, racism and exclusion continued to happen within these institutions (Anderson, 2002). Mount Holyoke is a historically predominantly White women’s college that began significant racial integration following Brown, and following student sit-ins in the 1960s and 1980s, multiple cultural houses and ethnic studies programs were created on campus (Haaga, 2015). These cultural centers “provide a counterspace to facilitate [students…show more content…
28). From Brown’s perspective, her professor’s actions did not encompass academic freedom, but instead demonstrated “intolerance” (2015, para. 30). In Mount Holyoke’s mission statement, administrators work “to draw students from all backgrounds into an exceptionally diverse and inclusive learning community with a highly accomplished, committed, and responsive faculty and staff” (Mount Holyoke College, 2015, para. 1); however from Brown’s perspective, her professor’s actions are in direct contrast to the college’s mission and do not support her experience as a learner and Black student…show more content…
93). Cultural centers serve as these counterspaces, and they allow students of color to build a “community of resistance” (hooks, as cited by Yosso & Lopez, 2010, p. 94) to the racism they encounter. The cultural centers at Mount Holyoke are important for the success of all students, and especially for students of color. The racial microaggressions experienced by Brown in her class alienated her from her professor and the college administrators. A community space that could help her resist this racism is the Betty Shabazz Cultural Center, which provides support for African American students (Mount Holyoke College,
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