Document Type



Master of Arts


American Studies

First Adviser

Sirry Alang


Integration of Black undergraduate students is a continuously difficult process in predominantly white universities. Continuously, elite and selective institutions attempt to find models of integration for students of color within university practices and policy. However, those university practices and policies are founded upon racism to maintain academia as Eurocentric white spaces. To address integration, scholars must historically recognize connections between race and racism and the ways integration been analyzed and implemented in higher education. Specifically, this research analyzes how racism in universities negatively affects Black undergraduate experiences. My research questions are: How does racism exist at Lehigh University? What does it look like? What are its effects on daily experiences of Black undergraduate students?

This research focuses on interactions between Black undergraduate students and white students. The methodology consists of: 1) interviews with Black students and 2) observations where I follow students in their daily experiences. My results conclude racism negatively affects Black undergraduate students’ experiences through its manifestations of discomfort, distress, isolation, and categorized as other in interpersonal relationships, housing segregation, and racial hostility. Thus, undergraduate Black students develop coping mechanisms to navigate a predominantly white university.

Available for download on Friday, February 26, 2021