•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Abstract

This study examines college and university leaders’ responses to student activism and protest on U.S. college campuses between Fall 2014 to Summer 2016. This study utilized a phenomenological research tradition, which facilitated a depth of understanding of how administrators’ strategies, or other resources, enhanced campus leaders' ability to proactively respond to the demands and actions of student protesters. The hermeneutic phenomenological design, which is grounded in a constructivist epistemology, enabled the exploration of similar and differentiating themes among the administrators’ experiences (Moustakas, 1964). A 30 to 45-minute individual interview was conducted with seven individuals who participated in NCORE 2016 and who held positions working directly with incidents of student activism on their campuses. The results revealed that while different types of institutional brands benefit from activism, the difference seemed to be realized in the resources the institution allocates to support and foster activism and inclusion. Recommendations for appropriate responses ranged from listening to students and bridging upward communications with university leaders, to ongoing learning and developing a plan based on institutional needs and available resources. The views of constituencies revealed varying ideas and opinions, but the best leaders will navigate the path that enables tough decisions without alienating key players who are critical to the success of the efforts.

Share

COinS