Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

John Elmore, PhD

Committee Member

Jason Wozniak, PhD

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes,PhD


This thesis addresses how reframing activism as leadership allows student activist to be viewed as student leaders on college campuses. More specifically, I explore how the Black student existence and experience on college campus and their desire for an equitable education has always been considered a form of activism that had continuously been suppressed. I used the methodology of critical action research to examine the structures of Eurocentricity, colonization, racialization and domination that affect the educational experiences of Black student activists, while also utilizing my personal experience. I propose a leadership building program that promotes racial justice, decolonial methods and activism. The program will provide a cohort of students with the necessary support and education with a decolonial framework from faculty and student affairs professionals to ensure they feel supported and empowered on their campus. This is a vital and critical matter to consider because it addresses the issues of the Black student experience, social justice and activism and the acknowledgement of the current issues in student leadership training for Black students. Black activist are leaders and should be seen as such on college campuses, they should be provided the same support and development and not seen as rebels or trouble makers, but as student leaders striving to create institutional change.