Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 13, No. 4 (2020), pp 345–354



Copyright © 2019 National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education; published by American Psychological Association. Used by permission. "This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal."


This qualitative study explored administrative responses to local and sociopolitical events challenging campus climates at public research universities. Using critical discourse analysis, we examined the use of language as a form of power in publicly available documents addressing campus climate for diversity and inclusion at 31 U.S. institutions. Findings center 3 themes: underlying power in determining what to address; the power of language in perpetuating or deconstructing power, privilege, and oppression; and the distinction between espousing and enacting commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Implications for research and practice are discussed.