Toward Thick Responsiveness: Engaging Identity-Based Student Protest Movements
The Journal of Higher Education
This article utilizes ethnographic and philosophical methods to consider the ethical dimensions of responding to student activists protesting racial and other forms of social inequality. I consider the case of State University, a public institution that experienced a conflict during the 2015–2016 school year provoked by national conversations about racism as well as in response to local acts of bigotry. I use this case to critique and extend the work of philosophers Bentley and Owen (2007), who argue the civic virtues of responsiveness and endurance should guide deliberations between minoritized communities and those in power. I amend their framework by demonstrating that responsiveness can be either thin or thick. When thin responsiveness occurs, dialogue is prioritized over action and student endurance often turns into exhaustion. Thick responsiveness, in contrast, is characterized by both the validation of student's experiences and reasoning and shifts in institutional power and resources. Thick responsiveness, I argue, allows institutions to address the unequal social relations that drive student protests and foster student belonging and development as democratic citizens.
Anderson, R. Kirk. "Toward Thick Responsiveness: Engaging Identity-Based Student Protest Movements." (Article published online September 13, 2018). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00221546.2018.1512803