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CSHPE PhD student Brandy Jones revisits findings from her 2019 study “Black and Ivy”

April 24, 2023

In an opinion piece for Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Jones discusses #BlackintheIvory and beyond.


In an opinion piece published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, CSHPE PhD student Brandy Jones and Janelle L. West, Interim Dean at Widener University, call attention to the intersecting forms of oppression that Black women face in higher education. 

In 2019, Jones and West published a study titled “Black and Ivy: How Black female student leaders create community and inclusion at an Ivy League institution.” The study sought to “offer a holistic portrait of how Black women student leaders navigate academic spaces and create community on campus while holding positions of leadership.”

Since publication of “Back and Ivy,” Jones and West write that there have been numerous instances of Black women being killed by police—including Breonna Taylor and Ma'Khia Bryant—sparking a renewed conversation around systemic racism and police brutality. Amidst this larger discussion, the authors note that individuals have taken to social media using hashtags like #BlackintheIvory to call for structural change in the academy. 

“These incidents highlight the fact that systemic racism and police brutality pervade various corners of our society, including higher education where Black women may feel particularly vulnerable,” write Jones and West. 

Findings from their study showed that the women they interviewed felt isolated, alienated, and experienced feelings of exclusion on their campus. The authors write: “Although 'Black & Ivy' was incredibly integral in better understanding the challenges that exist for Black women student leaders who pursue doctoral degrees, and providing a more comprehensive account of how these women find or build community, the study was not developed solely to offer an overview of the challenges that hinder Black women on their path to academic and professional success. This study serves as a call to action.”