Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Johnson, Laura R.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Black males are often the recipients of police brutality, criminal stereotyping, and inequitable treatment in higher education. This qualitative study examined the experiential narratives of 15 Black male college students’ perception towards law enforcement officers. The data was collected via one-on-one interviews, concluded with a focus group, and then presented in narrative forums. The participants’ feelings, attitudes, or beliefs about themselves as Black males significantly contributed to their inherent identification of the cultural challenges associated with law enforcement officers. The participants’ personal and vicarious life experiences prior to enrolling into higher education were significant to the authentic comprehension of the developmental factors of Black male college students’ perception of law enforcement officers. The majority of participants shared their overwhelming feelings of their view of White people as a contributing factor to their perception of law enforcement officers. Participant views of White people consisted of feelings of mistrust, oblivious to cultural biases, and being unjustly authoritative. This study illustrated the need for comprehensive reform of practices and policies in both law enforcement and higher education. Campus law enforcement officers should consider a cultural-based approach for interactions with Black male college students. Black males’ prior experiences and interactions with noncampus law enforcement officers is a primary developmental factor for their perceptions towards law enforcement officers. The findings of this study provided viable solutions and strategies provided directly by the individuals impacted by systemic racism and whiteness looming on predominantly White institutions.


243 pages




Northern Illinois University

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