In this coffee break conversation, Drs. Bedelia Richards, Anthony Abraham Jack, Elizabeth M. Lee, and Carson Byrd engage in a discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on colleges and college students. The abrupt shutdown of college campuses in the spring exposed both existing inequities and a failure of leadership on many campuses to think more critically about the impact such policies would have on many of their students, including those who are food or housing insecure, or who do not have physically or psychologically safe home environments. National discourse on Black Lives Matter and racial justice, refreshed this summer by massive protests after the murders of George Floyd and other Black Americans, has combined with the impact of the pandemic to create possibilities for higher education to shift to an antiracist framework in its policies and practices. Will this moment be enough to spark real change and progress in higher education? Watch or listen to find out what our scholars had to say.


Dr. Bedelia Richards, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Richmond

Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack, Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Dr. Elizabeth M. Lee, Assistant Professor of Sociology at St. Joseph’s University

Dr. Carson Byrd, Scholar-in-Residence at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Louisville

Time Table

12:14 - Who and what are we talking about when we talk about equity? Shifting from a diversity framework to an antiracist and equity framework in higher education.

18:45 - What does antiracism actually mean in higher education?

28:00 - Applying an antiracist framework in higher education and transferring this responsibility off the shoulders of Black folks.

34:50 - Reliance on the work of Black faculty to address antiracism in the academy.

40:00 - How can we use research to design a more equitable system? 

48:00 - How can college admissions be more equitable? How do they reflect institutional values?

55:00 - What is the role of higher education institutions in creating a more equitable society?