Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jaekel, Kathryn S.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


A series of highly publicized off-campus acts of racial violence between February and September 2020 ignited a national reckoning on race, racism, anti-Black racism, and the role of higher education in systemic discrimination. In response, a number of college and university leaders published public statements attempting to address anti-Black racism both nationally and on their respective campuses. The purpose of this study is to take a closer look at how colleges and universities in the University of Wisconsin System (UW-System) utilize public statements to address anti-Black racism. Utilizing Critical Race Theory as a theoretical framework, as well as Bitzer’s theory of the rhetorical situation for data analysis, this study analyzed a total of 27 statements from 13 institutions. Findings explore what terms were utilized to describe the murder of George Floyd (and potentially others who were murdered), who and/or what is at the center of the written statements, and what actions the institutions commit to taking in order to mitigate anti-Black racism in their campus communities. Finally, we conclude with implications for practice and a scholarly reflection.


61 pages




Northern Illinois University

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