Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heather Horowitz, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.



Marginalized students face silent battles of racial discrimination and injustice every day that go often go unnoticed. These various experiences and encounters have the potential to lead to severe traumatic reactions that can negatively impact a student’s college experience. My thematic concern examines the problem of hate speech and unconscious biases on college and university campuses and its influence on race-based trauma experienced by students of color. I will also address the ways in which colleges and universities can proactively support and protect racially marginalized students from these occurrences and the potential trauma that can come with them. In this thesis, I propose that colleges and universities implement Bias and Crisis Response Teams on their campuses. With the creation of this team, institutions can effectively respond to instances of bias and hate on campus in a more structured way, and, as a result, marginalized students will feel safer and more comfortable on campus. In addition to this Bias and Crisis Response Team, I will discuss the creation of a tangible guidebook that team members can have on hand to reference. It is the responsibility of Student Affairs professionals to uphold the values placed by their respective institutions. One way that this can be achieved is through helping students find their voice and letting them know that they matter to the larger world around them.

Keywords: Race-based trauma; Marginalized; Unconscious bias; Free speech; Hate speech; Bias response team.