Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Studies

Second Department


Reader 1

William Barndt

Reader 2

Geoffrey Herrera

Reader 3

Jessica Kizer

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Xochitl D Husted


This qualitative study analyzed the ways in which definitions of inclusion differ among classroom actors within discussion based classrooms at Cactus College, a predominately white, small, private, liberal arts college in Southern California. The purpose of this investigation was to determine how variations in definitions of inclusion affect the experiences of women of color in higher education. The results of this study indicated that all definitions of inclusion, regardless of respondent demographics, were embedded with democratic values. These democratic values included: acknowledgement, rhetoric, participation, engagement, community, belonging, and understanding. However, women of color conceived acknowledgement differently, compared to their white counterparts, and were the only demographic of respondents to stress the importance of narrative. These differences among definitions of inclusion led to feelings of exclusion from course discussions, uncomfortability, and fear of being perceived stereotypically among women of color. Women of color were also more likely to be aware of the neoliberal nature of the push for inclusion at Cactus College, because of their encounters with racism and sexism at the college. This research highlights that the language of inclusion, utilized by Cactus College, is disingenuous and has yet to account for the unique positionalities of women of color.