Hannah K Williamson



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Since the election of President Obama, many have argued that the issue of racism and equality has been resolved and the United States had moved to a “post-racial” society (Vega, 2014). In recent years, racial tensions have been rising as seen by the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, protests in Ferguson, and national social media campaigns such as #blacklivesmatter. Given these and many other events, Higher Education and college campuses provide a space to confront and discuss race and racial identity. This study focused on White identity awareness at a predominantly White, religiously-affiliated, private university in the Midwest and any effects on the campus climate as a result of identity awareness. Eight participants were interviewed with interviews transcribed and evaluated to develop a thematic understanding of the students’ perception of their White identity and a connection to the campus climate. Findings discuss the variety and similarities of experiences and identity development of the eight students and the potential affect it has on the campus. Finally, recommendations are presented to support further racial development of White students and institutional educational programs to enhance a more racially aware campus climate.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Nasser Razek

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

White Identity Salience and the Effect on Campus Climate