Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Black College Students’ Quest to Claim a Space of Their Own on PWI Campuses: Strangers in a Strange Land

Ferguson, Gerald (2020) Black College Students’ Quest to Claim a Space of Their Own on PWI Campuses: Strangers in a Strange Land. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


Black students who attend PWIs often experience social exclusion on campus. To gain a
greater understanding of this issue I conducted a qualitative research study that allowed me to gain
insight of the difficulties that Black undergraduate students experience at PWIs.
The institutions in this study excluded Black students by not providing the space that would
allow them to congregate safely and comfortably. Duquesne and Pitt did not provide the necessary
resources for Black students, which created disparities and inequities. When college employees
are not welcoming and supportive of Black students, it makes them feel excluded. When non
Black students are not welcoming, and in some instances are hostile towards Black students by
being non-verbally aggressive, this also impedes Black students’ feelings that they are a part of
the campus community. There are other barriers that come between Black students because of
how the institution values them as athletes and embraces them differently than students who are
not athletes. Black fraternities and sororities were viewed as being more socially influential
compared to other Black student organizations and informal Black student networks.
I gained a greater understanding of the implication that Black students at Duquesne and
Pitt often feel that they are not welcomed and the importance of Black students having a safe space
so that they can create a sense of belonging. My research also explored the importance of Black
students interacting with each other for support purposes. This study is significant and unique
because it provided information on the importance between a formal Black student association
(e.g., a Black student union) and an informal Black student association (i.e. a group of friends who
are Black students and support each other but are not part of a formal Black student organization).
Through critical race theory and sense of belonging theories, it became clear that it was
important for Black students to have autonomy to create a safe space on a PWI campus where they
could congregate, network, and support each other. This safe space would allow them to be able
to create a community of their own.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ferguson, Geraldgerald.ferguson@verizon.netgpf4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser,
Committee MemberBiggs,
Committee MemberTaylor,
Committee MemberQuigley,
Committee MemberThompson-Dorsey,
Date: 17 May 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 October 2019
Approval Date: 17 May 2020
Submission Date: 28 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 171
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Belonging Theory, Critical Race Theory, PWI, Black College Students, Racism on campus
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 17 May 2020 17:22
Last Modified: 17 May 2020 17:22


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item