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Black Women Speaking From Within

Essays and Experiences in Higher Education

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Edited By Kelly K. Hope

In Black Women Speaking From Within: Essays and Experiences in Higher Education, contributors use intersectional and interdisciplinary lenses to share the ways in which they understand, navigate, resist, and transform student services, learning, teaching, and existing in the academy. This book explores and discusses the following question: How do Black women experience and perceive place and agency in higher education? Black Women Speaking From Within draws upon the influence organizational culture, sense-making, and sisterhood has on praxis and pedagogy and places the Black woman’s stories and experiences at the center of the conversation.

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Chapter 5: The Contradictions in Higher Education (Latoya Rene Robertson)

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Chapter 5: The Contradictions in Higher Education

BY LATOYA RENE ROBERTSON1

Institutions for higher learning understand that most traditional students are new to the realm of making decisions and need to be taught how to be an adult. Institutions also understand, there is not always a proper transition to teach students how to be adults. In fact, some students face harsh realities in the process. Student affairs divisions on many college campuses are arguably the most progressive area of higher education. Within the discipline of Student affairs, professionals often speak of equity and being an ally to People Of Color, lower income students, and countless marginalized identities, however, Student affairs can also be one of the worst departments when it comes to applying policies equitably.

This contradiction causes immediate distrust from the student and slowly erodes the morale of the eager professional of color that may be subjected to constant experiences of injustice. During my career, I have navigated the culture of various institutions within different regions, observing the contradictions, coping with the harsh realities of the contradictions, and determining how I can address the contradictions. In fact, I attended a day long diversity training followed by a debrief with strategies on how to be culturally sensitive and to be the leaders of the change only to sit and watch the department behave exactly like every other department is confusing to the student and the professional.

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