Research topic help: Racism on college campuses

Tensions at the University of Missouri have been rising, as student activists have protested the administration’s handling of racial harassment. Members of the football team, as well as faculty, are joining the protest.

Learn more about racism on college campuses. (Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Learn more about racism on college campuses. (Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters)

How big is the issue of racism on campus and what are colleges doing to address the issue are just some of the research paper topics to consider on this subject.

Incidents of racism on campus

The racial harassment that the student activists are now protesting on the campus of the University of Missouri happened earlier this fall. The first event involved white students using the N-word and harassing members of the Legion of Black Collegians group. That incident was followed by another student reporting racial slurs and then on October 24 a swastika was drawn in feces on a dorm wall. Sam Frizell reported on the perceived lack of response from the administration and the resulting actions of the student activists in “University of Missouri Faculty Stages Walkout as Racism Protests Widen” for November 9, 2015.

“The ConcernedStudent1950 protest organization has demanded Wolfe be removed and that the university overhauls the way it handles racial harassment. The group also demands an awareness curriculum and an increase of black faculty and staff to 10% by the academic year 2017-2018,” Frizell wrote. The group is referring to Missouri System president Tim Wolfe. To date, members of the football team, as well as staff have staged protests and walkouts as a result. Another student, Jonathan Butler, has staged a hunger strike in protest. Historically what have been the most successful protests of racism on campus or a look at the progress made by African American students in regards to campus diversity would be interesting research paper topics to explore.

National attention for racial harassment

The student activists at the University of Missouri have garnered national attention, with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) expressing her support according to “Dem senator sees ‘systemic racism’ at University of Missouri” posted by Mark Hensch November 9, 2015, in’s blog, the Briefing Room.

McCaskill has stated that not only does she support the students’ efforts to protest and draw attention to racism on campus, but also Hensch quoted her as saying, “What has happened is there has not been enough prioritization of this issue on campus.” Research paper topics to consider include a look at the current state of racism in America, particularly on campus, a comparison of outcomes for African American students attending historically black colleges vs. other universities, or an analysis of the success of nonviolent protests on campus.

What’s next for the University of Missouri

In October, the University of Missouri-Columbia had issued a statement about a new program aimed at better training for incoming freshmen about racism on campus. The faculty and staff would also be required to participate in the new training according to “Mizzou Will Require Diversity Training after Racist Incident on Campus” by Koran Addo for the St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) October 9, 2015.

Addo wrote, “The training will include discussions on race, gender identity, gender expression, religious discrimination and other topics.” What are the most effective ways to combat racism on campus or what are the long-term implications of racial harassment on African American students are other research paper topics to broach.

Want to learn more about racism? Check out Questia—particularly the section on discrimination and prejudice

How could the University of Missouri have better handled the racial harassment reported? What else should they do moving forward to combat racism on campus? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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