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Perceptions, perspectives, and adaptive behaviors of selected black freshmen at a southern predominately white university

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Perceptions, perspectives, and adaptive behaviors of selected black freshmen at a southern predominately white university
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Gibson, Joyce Taylor, 1946-
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African Americans ( jstor )
College students ( jstor )
Colleges ( jstor )
High school students ( jstor )
High schools ( jstor )
Minority group students ( jstor )
Social interaction ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Universities ( jstor )
White people ( jstor )
Adaptability (Psychology) ( lcsh )
African American college students -- Psychology -- Florida ( lcsh )
College freshmen -- Psychology -- Florida ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Educational Administration and Supervision -- UF
Educational Administration and Supervision thesis Ph. D
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bibliography ( marcgt )
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1983.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 264-268.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Joyce Taylor Gibson.

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PERCEPTIONS, PERSPECTIVES, AND ADAPTIVE BEHAVIORS
OF SELECTED BLACK FRESHMEN AT A SOUTHERN
PREDOMINATELY WHITE UNIVERSITY







BY

JOYCE TAYLOR GIBSON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1983






















Dedicated to my parents


who taught me the value of education


Dr. and Mrs. Jeremiah A. Taylor







ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This research could not have been completed without the support of
many friends, colleagues and family members. The author wishes to
express special thanks to the persons described here who were intimately
involved with her during the time of her study.
Dr. Wattenbarger is to be congratulated for his enduring patience;

his support and advice made the study possible. Dr. Eddy introduced the
author to the field of anthropology and provided countless hours of
assistance during the research process. Encouragement and direction from
Dr. Cole was readily available when necessary. Very special thanks must
be given posthumously to Dr. Solon Kimball whose counsel was critical in
the development of the study.
The Whitney Young Foundation of New York City provided the author
with financial support for one year of study and research. The Southern
Education Foundation of Atlanta subsidized the research to facilitate
analysis of the data. The author expresses sincere gratitude to these
foundations for their assistance.
Roland, the author's husband, and her children, Rhona, Roland, Jr.
and Rhys, deserve awards for their love and understanding throughout the
study period. For encouraging words and prayers, the author thanks Bill
Beldan and her friends in the Littleton Congregational Church. The quiet
place in the woods of Harvard where the majority of the writing was
completed, was made available by two wonderful friends, Phil and Lynne
Wood, whom the author can never thank enough. Pamela Johnson, who typed
the dissertation, is appreciated for her talent and hard work.
Finally, the students who participated in the study are warmly
thanked for giving the author the opportunity to seek solutions to
problems of adjustment which are important to all those who support
higher education.







TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . .. iii

ABSTRACT. o o o o o . . . . o. . . -. . . .- . .. vi


CHAPTER


I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Statement of Problem ...
Justification for the Study .
Methodology. . . . . .
Data Analysis. . . . .
A Look Ahead . . . . .

II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE .

Overview . . . . .
Who Is This Black Student in H
Problems Of Black Students .
Adaptive Behaviors . . .
Developing Perspectives . .


. . . . o . .
. . * *

. . * .




higher Edcto?....


Institutional Response to Black Students
Theoretical Framework. . . . . .
Summary. . . . . . . . ...


III. THE WINTER TERM FRESHMEN . . . . .

The Orange State University. . ..
Family History/Educational Background .
The Special Admission Program. . .
Orientation, Advising, and Registration.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old . .
Black-Black Peer Relationships .. ......
If I Study More, My Grades Will Improve. .
I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students. .

IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS. . . . . .


Student Characteristics . . . . . . . . .154
Comparison of 1971 Students and 1978 Freshmen. . . . 158
What Phenomena Influenced Student Adjustment?. . . .. 162
Was Race a Factor in Students' Adjustment
to the University? . . .. ......... 191
What Patterns of Behavior Were Developed
by Students Adjusting to the University? . . . . 194
What Perspectives Did Students Develop to Solve Problems
While Adjusting to the University? . . . . . . 205
Freshmens' Perceptions about Adjusting . . . . .. 210
Perspectives Developed by Freshmen . . . . . .. 212

V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. . . . . .. . .. 217


. . ... 154


* *


. 0 .







APPENDICES

A SIGNATURE POSTCARD FOR PARTICIPATION IN STUDY . . . . 230

B INTERVIEW GUIDE .. .. . .. . .. . . . .. 231

C FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE . . . . . . . 233

D PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS IN PILOT STUDY. . . . . . 252


REFERENCE NOTES. . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. 263

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . . . . . . . . . .. .. 2(o













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Perceptions, Perspectives And Adaptive Behaviors Of Selected
Black Freshmen At A Southern Predominately White University



By

Joyce Taylor Gibson

December, 1983



Chairman: Dr. James L. Wattenbarger
Major Department: Educational Administration and Supervision



The research reported here examines the perceptions of a small group

of black freshmen about their academic and social adjustment to a pre-

dominately white, Southern university. The purpose was to discover the

behavioral patterns used by students in adjusting to the university

environment, and the perspectives they developed in solving problems

during their first two terms in school. Documenting student perceptions

and perspectives about college is critical to a better understanding of

the ways in which students adapt to the university. Students' perspec-

tives about their everyday activities within the settings of classroom,

extra-curricular activities, living arrangements and natural groupings on

the campus are revealed to accomplish this goal.







Data were collected through open-ended interviews, questionnaires,

participant observation, and through examination of official documents

published by the university which were in effect during 1977-78, the time

period of the research. The analysis of the data revealed four variables

which had major influence on the students' adjustment to the university:

family support, the initial university reception, peer relationships, and

individual characteristics. Peer relations were by far more influential

than the other variables. The students' peers at home and their peers at

the university played equal roles in their adjustment, and in how they

developed perspectives to solve everyday problems.

Two important perspectives developed by freshmen influenced the

social and academic aspects of their lives. They were (1) to succeed in

college I have to make good grades, preferably without any help from

others, and (2) to be successful in college means being accepted by my

peers, especially my white peers. Those freshmen identified as adjusting

well had at least two of the following characteristics: (1) friendships

with black students at the university prior to their enrollment,

(2) friendships or experiences with white peers in high school, and

(3) strong self-images, and positive attitudes about the university. The

successful adjustment of black freshmen seemed to be dependent on certain

essential conditions outside and within the campus community.













CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION



The enrollment of Black-Americans in higher education has tripled in

the last twenty years, bringing the 1982 figure to 1.3 million students.

However, too few of these students are graduating, and attrition poses a

serious threat to this increase in numbers. A closer look at the break-

down of enrollment will put these facts in wider perspective.

At this writing, 75 percent of all students enrolled in higher

education attend two year or four year colleges--86 percent of black

students are enrolled in these institutions. Twenty-five percent of all

students attend universities, yet only 15 percent of black students are

enrolled in universities (National Advisory Committee, 1979). Higher

education statistics for 1981 reflected that blacks constituted 9.3

percent of all students in higher education, and the makeup of the

institutions where they were enrolled was as follows: 70 percent in

predominately white institutions (PWI), 18 percent in the traditional

black institutions (TBI), and 12 percent in newer predominately black

institutions (PBI). Of the baccalaureate degrees awarded that year, a

surprising 40 percent of these were awarded by the traditional black

institutions. Poinsett (1980) summarized this dilemma in an article in

Ebony magazine:

Fantasy may suggest that the million-plus students are
moving inexorably toward baccalaureate degrees and beyond.
But the fact is that half of that impressive total is
enrolled in two-year colleges--plagued with high dropout

1







rates and limited academic offerings--and only about a third
is in four-year programs. In other words, while more black
students are entering colleges these days, the majority
leave before they graduate. (p. 55)

What are the variables that influence black student adjustment at the

predominately white schools where attrition appears to be high and

matriculation very low?

Wright (1981) reported several reasons for high matriculation of

black students at traditional black institutions, including elements

which may be missing at the majority of the traditional white institu-

tions. Two are important to this study: (1) most of the TBI's have

strong supportive programs for students who are in need of academic

assistance, especially for those with deficiencies in reading, mathe-

matics, and English, and (2) the TBI's help students develop their self-

images, which is viewed as critical to achieving goals. In his national

longitudinal study of freshmen, from 1968-1972, Astin (1975) found that

blacks at predominately white institutions had a substantially higher

attrition rate than any other group of students in the study. He

observed:

The higher attrition rate appears to be attributable in part
to the effect of attending a white college, rather than to
differences in initial drop-out proneness between blacks in
white colleges. (p. 26)

Students' adaptations to college life depend on many things that

they bring with them to college, including family history, grades from

high school, and study habits (Astin, 1975). On the other hand, what

they encounter in the college environment influences their adjustment,

i.e., the people they meet, classroom experiences, as well as their

involvement in extra-curricular activities. Adaptation involves

interactions and relationships between individuals and groups in an







environment and is part of the socialization process. One purpose for

conducting this study was to discover how black freshmen adapt to their

white college environments. One aspect of this purpose was to examine

how students adjust to problems they encounter in their new environment.

Adjusting necessarily involves learning about new and different ways of

handling problems that are unique to campus life. How students face the

new problems on campus is determined to some degree from their past and

in part from their ability to generate new ideas. This process is called

developing a perspective. Students can develop individual and group

perspectives in learning to cope and handle problem situations. Their

home lives appear to have as much influence in developing perspective as

their new campus life. (See literature review for more details on

perspectives.)

Many black college freshmen who attend predominately white colleges

are particularly vulnerable to uncertainties and frustrations during

their first year of school, primarily because they are unlike the major-

ity of their white counterparts in three major ways: (1) they are

usually first generation college students, i.e., the first person in

their families to attend college; (2) they have generally been academic-

ally handicapped to some degree by their inaccessibility or delayed

accessibility to quality secondary schools; and (3) they must try to

adapt to a college environment which reflects very little of their own

history or culture (Harper, 1971; Ballard, 1973; and Boyd, 1974). The

problems they face are real and must be addressed by other members of the

university community.

When black students began to attend predominately white universities

in large numbers in the early 1960's, few of these institutions were







prepared to receive them. John Egerton in a 1969 report on newly

integrated institutions of higher education described this problem:

One of the most serious problems accompanying increased
desegregation in predominately white colleges and universi-
ties could be called unpreparedness. Institutions which
have reached beyond the "super blacks" with impeccable
credentials to admit students whose backgrounds and prior
preparation set them apart from regular students have often
experienced a variety of difficulties. The unpreparedness
of these students has frequently been noted in institutional
studies and press reports. But the institutions, too, are
often unprepared, not only to deal with the so-called "high
risk" students but with black students generally. "High-
risk" is a two-sided coin; the institutions take a risk on
the students, but the reverse is also true, and the risk any
black student takes when he enters a white-oriented institu-
tion is substantial. Universities, despite popular senti-
ments to the contrary, are conservative institutions; the
process of change in them is sometimes glacially slow, and
many of them have not yet demonstrated either the skill or
the determination to educate students--whatever their race--
who differ markedly from the middleclass white students they
are accustomed to having. (p. 94)

This mutual unpreparedness of the new black students and the tradition-

ally white institutions was and still is a major factor in the poor

adjustment of many black students to predominately white campuses.

A 1980 Office of Education study of seven predominately white insti-

tutions, conducted by Donald Smith, revealed that institutions had

changed very little since the 1960's. In reviewing Smith's work,

Poinsett (1980) reported that black students still complained of feeling

depressed, alienated in PWI's where the environments were described as

"hostile" (p. 55). Perhaps worst of all, black students are still expe-

riencing the negative effects resulting from the apparent belief of white

faculty and white students that all or most blacks are special admission

students or are enrolled to meet affirmative action quotas, and therefore

are not legitimate students. Successful adaptation and the onus to

develop improved relations between black students and their institutions





5

must be borne by both parties. Gibbs (1977) echoed these sentiments in

an article on the problems of black students at integrated colleges, and

offered this prediction:

There will continue to be ethnic tensions in the foreseeable
future, so that blacks will continue to be perceived as a
minority and treated in a somewhat different manner. How-
ever, the challenge for the students and the universities is
learning to adapt to each other for the mutual growth and
vitality of both constituencies. (p. 56)



Statement of the Problem


The research reported here examines the perceptions of a small group

of black freshmen about their academic and social adjustment to a pre-

dominately white southern university. The purpose was to discover the

behavioral patterns used by students in adjusting to the university

environment and the perspectives they developed in solving problems

during their first two terms. This study is an exploratory one which

sought answers to the following questions:

1. What phenomena influenced black students' perceptions of their

academic and social adaptation to a predominately white

university?

a. In what activities do students participate as they adapt to

the university?

b. What groups do students interact with in adjusting to the

university?

c. What are the students' feelings about the ways in which they

adjust to the university?

d. What institutional policies and/or traditions do students

perceive as affecting their adjustment to the university?







2. What patterns of behavior are exhibited by students in their

adjustment to the university?

3. What are students' perceptions about race as a factor affecting

their adjustment to the university?

4. What perspectives do students develop to solve problems they

encountered in the university?

Although many surveys and studies have been conducted to determine

the attitudes, conditions, and perceptions of black students adjusting to

white campuses, few have sought the perceptions of defined groups within

the black college population, that is, black freshmen, and none have uti-

lized an open-ended interview method or directed questions towards the

collection of data which would begin to reveal the nature of the inter-

connections between social and psychological processes as black students

make the transition from their home communities and schools to the

university community. In a preliminary way, this study was designed to

accomplish this goal.


Justification for the Study



This exploratory research was designed to identify phenomena that

influence the adaptation of black freshmen on a predominately white

campus, and to formulate new hypotheses for further study. Though many

black students at predominately white institutions learn to cope with and

survive in their environments, even more do not; moreover, the staff and

faculty at these institutions are not aware of some of the problems and

concerns experienced by students, nor how to help them. High attrition

rates often result from this lack of understanding between university







personnel and minority students resulting in a low graduation rate for

black students. Goodrich (Note 1) summarized a few reasons for the

attrition of black students at the First National Think Tank on Blacks in

Predominately White Colleges and Universities:

While attrition is a problem for the college student popu-
lation as a whole, it is particularly so for the (ethnic)
minority students attending predominately white universi-
ties. In addition to financial and academic difficulties
which typically contribute to student attrition, the minor-
ity student faces an unfamiliar and frequently unsupportive
environment. The low percentage of minority faculty and
support service staff, the dearth of cultural and social
programs geared to minority students, and the indifference
or hostility of many administrators and faculty make it
extremely difficult for even the better prepared minority
student to adapt to the college environment. (p. 3)

Willie, Kramer, and Brown (1977), authors in a text on racial

relations and mental health, recommend that more studies be conducted as

a means of adding significant knowledge for greater understanding of

black students at predominately white institutions.

An investigation to identify the social and psychological phenomena

entailed will provide insights into the adaptation of students to each

other and to the campus. Knowledge of these phenomena may also help

develop measures to facilitate adaptation. Documenting student percep-

tions and perspectives about college is critical to better understanding

of the ways in which students adapt to the university. In their pioneer-

ing study on college student life, Becker, Geer, and Hughes (1968)

described this void in understanding the everyday life of students:

Everyone writes about college students. Many people have
studied them. Yet in all the vast literature that has
accumulated, we find very little that gives any sense of
either the overall dimensions of college life, as students
see them, or of the ordinary, routine everyday character it
has for them . we should study students' views of their
own experience because, we think, it is the best way to find
out what influences these features of student behavior we







are interested in. If we do not see it as they do--as a
dense network of social relationships, institutional
demands and constraints, and temporarily connected
contingencies--we will not be able to understand what they
do. (pp. 1-2)

This study reported here reveals students' perspectives about their

everyday activities within the settings of classrooms, extracurricular

activities, living arrangements and natural groupings on the campus.

Finally, this study was conducted to emphasize the need for more

field research in the area of social relations in education. Field

studies conducted in natural, realistic environments are particularly

meaningful in developing new hypotheses, discovering relations among

variables, and laying the groundwork for more rigorous testing of ques-

tions and hypotheses (Kerlinger, 1973). The approach that seeks to

understand life in the context and setting of the person being studied is

referred to by anthropologists, sociologists, and other behavioral scien-

tists as an in vivo study. It requires the technique of participant

observation, as a means of collecting data, and utilizes a combination of

techniques such as interviewing and surveys, to facilitate the under-

standing of persons in their own setting. This study utilizes the

participation-observation method, questionnaire and interview in

collecting data.

Use of varied techniques is becoming more popular in educational

research, but is usually confined to the social sciences. In their book,

Unobtrusive Measures, Webb, Campbell, Schwartz and Sechrest (1966) des-

cribed the limitations of single instrumentation in conducting research,

and advocated (whenever possible) a multiple operational methodology for

more reliable results (pp. 105). Pelto (1970) has also described multi-

instrument research as a means which "greatly enhanced the credibility of








research results" (p. 145). Two early studies on black students at white

universities used a combination of the participant observation method and

a questionnaire in documenting the perceptions of students about their

college experiences. These studies added to the general body of informa-

tion about black students' adaptation on the predominately white campus.

Willie and McCord (1972) in Black Students at White Colleges, and George

Napper (1973) in Blacker Than Thou: The Struggle for Campus Unity, pro-

vide important data about black students, yet little is known about the

everyday activities of black college students attending predominately

white campuses.

Like some other studies (Willie and McCord, 1972; Peterson,

Blackburn, Gamson, Circe, Davenport and Mingle, 1978), this study was

conducted on a single campus. However, it is not a comparative study of

perceptions between blacks and whites, does not use a large staff to

conduct the study and interpret the data, and is not a study that simply

utilizes statistics from surveys or questionnaires to convey perceptions

of black students as a homogeneous group. Rather, this study is one of a

few conducted on a southern campus which seeks to examine (1) the

perspectives and adaptive behavior of one particular group of black

students--freshmen--(not a mixed classification of students) and (2) to

identify phenomena that influence their perceptions and adaptations

through a variety of research tools.1



1The research was conducted by a former administrator at the institution
where the study took place. Her familiarity with the institution, its
traditions, policies, and practices enhanced her ability to develop
insights and hypotheses which an outside observer might have had
difficulty in grasping during the two terms the study was completed.







Methodology



This study was designed to be exploratory since research on this

topic is relatively new, and not much is known about the adaptation pro-

cess of blacks on white campuses. Sellitz, Jahoda, Deutsch, and Cook

(1959) found that with exploration research, "the major emphasis is on

the discovery of ideas and insights" (p. 50). Katz and Festinger (1953)

described exploration study as a kind of field study which seeks what is,

rather than predicts relationships to be found (p. 25). In examining

student perceptions and adaptive behavior patterns, the researcher

designed the exploratory field study to discover relationships among

certain variables affecting perceptions in the adaptive process and to

formulate new questions and hypotheses about black students' adaptation

to predominately white universities.

Although this study was not itself a community study, the perspec-

tive of the researcher in designing the interviews and making observa-

tions of students was strongly influenced by this approach. As noted

earlier, the community study method is familiar to sociologists and

anthropologists who have utilized this method to attain a naturalistic,

or real life picture of the processes which occur between and among indi-

viduals in a given environment. Arensberg and Kimball's (1972) defini-

tion of the community study is simple and easy to understand:

Community study is that method in which a problem (or
problems) in the nature, interconnections, or dynamics of
behavior and attitudes is explored against or within the
surround of other behavior and attitudes of the individuals
making up the life of a particular community. It is a
naturalistic, comparative method. It is aimed at studying
behavior and attitudes as objects in vivo through observa-
tion rather than in vitro through isolation and abstraction
or in a model through experiment. (p. 29)







In his reflections on his field research for Street Corner Society,

Whyte (1943) commented on how he used this method.

Although I could not cover all Cornerville, I was building
up the structure and functioning of the community through
intensive examination of some of its parts in action. I was
relating the parts together through observing events between
groups and between group leaders and the members of the
larger institutional structures of politics and the rackets.
I was seeking to build a sociology based upon observed
interpersonal events. (p. 358)

The community study method seeks to describe what is natural and is

different from controlled experiments. The four major characteristics of

any community study as described by Arensberg and Kimball (1972) are as

follows:

1. The community under study must be a whole or representa-
tive community. In other words, a reasonable representation
of the different sexes, ages, classes, sects of the majority
and minority members of an area must be present or included
in the defined community. Each and every segment does not
have to be represented in each study. However, Arensberg
stated that "the community is still representative which
knows and deals with persons and things of its culture and
society, as long as a minimal number, a minimal contact, and
a minimal continuity connects them . pattern and aware-
ness, structuring and relationships, not numbers is of the
essence" (p. 25). The method is by nature comparative since
it must be alike or different from some other community.

2. Several techniques of observation and data collection
must be used. Examples of techniques used in this type of
study include questionnaires, surveys, in-depth interview-
ing, participative observation, sociometrics, and house-
to-house canvasses.

3. Third, there is a requirement to reexamine existing
data. Simply stated this means that the researcher cannot
assume that data already collected are the most accurate,
even though he/she uses it.

4. Fourth, a new working model is required as a result of
this hypothesis--generating comparative methodology. The
community study technique evolves ideally into model build-
ing through three stages: (a) construction of the model
through the data collected, (b) comparison with other exist-
ing models or those examining exact data collected before
this study (see characteristic (3), and (c) integrating
problems within the new model created by study. (pp. 31-34)





12

Effective model building depends heavily on the completeness and consis-

tency with which results are fitted into the community studied, the

experience and insight of the research, and finally on the accuracy of

the technique used to collect data. Details of model building will be

described in data analysis.



Pilot Study



Prior to designing the study, the researcher conducted an informal

pilot investigation to help identify phenomena that influenced the

adaptation of black students to Orange State University (OSU) campus in

Mainsville.1 During the Fall quarter, 1977, twenty-five currently

enrolled black students were contacted by telephone and invited to a

meeting to share their experiences about adapting to the University.

The students were selected by the researcher and the Assistant Dean for

Minority Affairs at the University. The nature of the research was

explained and the students were assured of the confidentiality of the

information. Twelve students agreed to participate in the pilot study

including one sophomore, six juniors, four seniors, and one graduate

student. Each student had entered the University as a freshman, and

agreed to share feelings and experiences about adapting to the

University.

The researcher met with the students in a November in the Afro-

American Cultural Center on campus. The students were divided into three

small groups in which they shared the positive and negative experiences



1These are pseudonyms for the name of the city and the name of the
university.





13

about adaptations to the University. Afterwards, they were asked to join

the researcher and share the same with the entire group. Tape recordings

were made of the large group discussions.

Data collected from the pilot study and the review of the literature

were used in designing the study formulating questions for the investiga-

tion and for defining categories for analyses.



Sample



The admissions officer at the University who recruits minority

students provided the researcher with a list of black freshmen accepted

for admission to the Winter term. The researcher suggested that he relay

the general nature of the study to the new students and inform them of

the researcher's intent to contact them. This was done and facilitated

the introduction of the study to the students. Fifteen students were

contacted by the recruiter and were receptive to being contacted by the

researcher. This type of sampling is called purposive. "The basic

assumption behind purposive sampling is that with good judgment and an

appropriate strategy one can hand-pick the cases to be included in the

sample and thus develop samples that are satisfactory in relation to

one's needs". (Sellitz et al., 1959, p. 520)

A letter explaining the study and introducing the researcher was

mailed to the students in December. Included in the letter was a stamped

post card addressed to the researcher, which requested the student's

signature if she or he agreed to participate in the study (see Appendix

A). Eight of the fifteen students responded affirmatively, and five were

eventually chosen to assist with the study.







One week after their arrival on campus, the researcher contacted

each student by telephone to arrange individual appointments to discuss

their participation in the study. All five of the students agreed to

participate in the study and gave their permission for the researcher to

tape interviews and to observe them in various campus activities.



Instrumentation and Data Collection



The researcher developed a semi-structured, free response, interview

guide which was designed to stimulate discussion with the students about

their activities, interactions, and feelings as they were adjusting to

the University (see Appendix B). Students were asked questions and given

the freedom to respond as they wished. This guide was used in weekly

interviews with students for a ten-week period. All interviews were

arranged in advance and were conducted at an appointed place and time

at the mutual convenience of the student and researcher. Four students

lived on campus and met with the researcher in their dormitory rooms, or

a lounge or lobby of their living areas. The fifth student lived off-

campus, and arranged meetings with the researcher in the student union or

other places on campus. A common interviewing procedure was followed

with each student. All interviews were taped on a portable cassette

recorder. The weekly interviews lasted for thirty minutes.

Data were also collected for the study through administration of a

questionnaire developed by the researcher. Using items from (1) a ques-

tionnaire developed by Jones, Harris and Hauck of Bucknell University

(1975), (2) the Arts and Sciences Faculty of the University of North

Carolina at Chapel Hill (1978), and (3) some original ones of her own,





15

the researcher created a semi-structured, open-ended survey of students

to seek data under the following headings (see Appendix C):

(A) Demographic Data

(B) Entrance and Orientation to the University

(C) Academic Advisement and Registration

(D) Classroom Experience

(E) Study Habits

(F) Personal-Social Experiences

(G) Black-White Relations

(H) Administrative-Student Relations

The questionnaire was administered to each student individually

after the final weekly interview. These data were collected for compari-

son with the data gathered in the regular weekly interview, as one means

of verifying their reliability.

The third method of collecting data was through observation of the

students in some of their campus settings. The researcher was able to

act as a participant observer with the students during weekly interviews,

through unscheduled interaction at campus activities, and during pre-

arranged class visits during the two quarters.

The last method of data collection was examination of the official

documents published by the University which explained or described cer-

tain policies, programs and activities which were in effect or were prac-

ticed during 1977-78, the period of the research. The documents consisted

of the Undergraduate Catalogue, the Student Handbook, and the annual

report of the Special Support Services. In addition, student records and

the winter and spring issues of the daily student newspaper were examined

and analyzed. All data were collected and analyzed by the researcher.







Data Analysis


Continuous Phase



In anthropology, data collection is not separate from data analysis.

Kimball and Burnett (1973) express the point of view as follows:

...as always, data collection and analysis, substantive
conclusions, and problem formulation, and expansion of
conceptual tools were all intimately connected. (p. 49)

The data in this study were analyzed as they were collected. A

continuous review of information was conducted as it was collected,

especially from the interviews and the participant observation. These

data were then compared to the data from the questionnaire. As a more

complete picture of each student evolved from week to week, individual

personal experiences were compared and reviewed. The difference in data

collected from each student were reviewed, and special attention was

given to student perceptions, about similar events, and their reactions

to common variables in their environment, i.e., faculty, the registration

process, examinations and the like.

The perceptions and collective perspectives of the students evolved

as the analysis occurred and are reflected in the findings reported in

Chapter II and in the analysis presented in Chapter IV. In this latter

chapter specific student perspectives on peer relationships, academic

performance, and university officials are described in the sections

entitled "Make New Friends, But Keep the Old," "If I Study More, My

Grades Will Improve," and "I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students".

A comparative analysis was also made of the data pertaining to

students' behaviors in small groups and social systems. Data were

collected in which students described their relationships within groups







and social systems prior to attending college, and those they created

after entering the university. Using Homan's (1950) methodology for

studying the small group as a means of understanding people and their

relationship to society, the researcher utilized the three elements of

(1) activity, (2) interaction, and (3) sentiment in analyzing the

students' relationship to others and their environment. The focus of

this phase of analysis was on peer group and kin groups--those estab-

lished prior to entry to college and those established after entry. The

social system as defined in anthropology was also a guide in this phase

of the analysis. The system is defined by Arensberg and Kimball (1972)

in this way:

A system is seen as composed of a number of individuals
united by ordered relations, existing in time and space,
each individual responding in a customary manner towards
others within the system (or outsiders or events which
impinge on the system), the nature of interaction (ordered
relations and custom) being an expression of the values
affected by the situation or event which stimulated the
response. (p. 270)

This examination of the human groupings revealed vital information about

adjustments and behaviors of students to the campus. The adaptative

group behaviors of the freshmen are also described in Chapter IV.


Model Building



The integration of early findings with those later discovered is a

major challenge of the community study method. With all the data

collected and analyzed, it was still difficult to determine which data

were most appropriate to synthesize in order to present a clearer picture

of student perceptions and perspectives as these unfolded during the

course of the research. Comparisons were made in this study of the pilot







study data, the findings of other researchers and the data from the

students studied here in order to help clarify and answer the questions

raised in the statement of the problem. It is through combining ideas,

data and insight into a descriptive, understandable model that new

hypotheses are developed for further research. Arensberg and Kimball

(1968) referred to a "living" model that evolves from the community study

approach, as opposed to one that is hypothetical or confirmed. They

expanded this definition to distinguish it from other types of analysis.

Primarily it is a method of thinking about facts, organization,
priority and relevance. It is empirical, inductive, and
examines behavior through events in time and place. It is
concerned with the qualities of items or traits and their
relationship with other traits within the stable or changing
conditions of the several environments--physical, cultural, and
social--within which they appear. (p. 695)

The combined analysis of the case studies was the basis for model

building in this study.


A Look Ahead


Before turning to the data of this study, Chapter II presents a

literature review of black student adjustment at four year institutions,

citing problems of students and university personnel; descriptions of

adaptative behaviors of black students on predominately white campuses;

and a theoretical framework for studying adaptation. The initial view of

students' perceptions, perspectives and behaviors is described in

Chapter III which reports the findings for each individual, and in

Chapter IV which examines the students' collective perceptions and

perspectives. The understanding of these which emerged after the study

was completed is reviewed in Chapter V, which also presents the

conclusions of the study and recommendations based on these conclusions.













CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE



Overview



Since the advent of equal educational opportunity in higher educa-

tion, research on minorities in this setting has been voluminous. Most

research has been about the black minority student (Bayer, 1972, Nieves,

1977) and has emphasized admissions procedures, compensatory education

programs, and various problems of black and white student interaction.

Although these topics are important, and to some degree influence a

student's perceptions and behavior, the focus here is limited to how

black freshmen adapt to everyday life in their new campus environments.

This review was also limited to studies at four year institutions. In

this chapter, the reader will find

(a) A review of current characteristics and problems of black

students who attend predominately white institutions, including

a special study on blacks attending a southern university,

(b) Descriptions of studies that reveal behavior patterns and

adaptive modes exhibited by black students on predominately

white campuses and how students develop perspectives to handle

problems they encounter,

(c) A summary of the historical and current response of predomi-

nately white institutional personnel to black students, and







(d) The theoretical framework used in studying the adaptation,

perceptions, and development of students' perspectives on

adjusting to college.



Who Is This Black Person in Higher Education?



One of the most thorough descriptions of black students who attend

predominately white campuses is found in William Boyd's book,

Desegregating America's Colleges--A Nationwide Survey of Black Students,

1972-73 (1974). This study was the first national survey of black

students who attend predominately white colleges. The study was historic

for this reason, and also because it was conducted by a core of black

professionals. Similar studies have been limited to one campus and have

been conducted by a single black or white researcher (Astin, 1975; -

Willie, 1972).

Nine hundred and ninety personal interviews were conducted at 40

public and private colleges and universities across the country. Boyd's

sample included 785 black students, and 194 black or white faculty

members and administrators. The findings present the general character-

istics of black students, and then provide details about the interaction

of black students, black faculty and the administrators of colleges and

universities in the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western United

States. The study clearly attacks the myth of uniformity of character-

istics among black students. Too many personnel in higher education view

the following description as the norm for all black students:

He is "Mr. Special Admit": poor, ill-prepared, in need of
remediation, "high risk" in that he is likely to fail (and
to demonstrate rather than fade away quietly), and "street"
rather than "middle class" in value system and life style.







(Students may be considered "special admits" at any given
school because they possess one or any combination of these
characteristics). (Boyd, 1974, p. 4)

As a rule, black students are grouped, labeled, and are rarely perceived

as different from each other at the PWI's. In addition, few campus

administrators and faculty take time to view the many similarities

between black and other students. Boyd stated this about these

misperceptions:

In order to understand black students as a nonmonolithic
group and to be able to respond to their needs more effec-
tively, it is necessary to explore in some detail the areas
in which great similarities exist as well as those whose
great diversity is the rule. This is particularly important
because some of the areas where no majority exists...are
ones which have been used as "proof" of uniformity among
black students. The areas in which the largest majorities
exist, on the other hand, have received little attention
because they tend to apply equally to all students regard-
less of race. (p. 5)

Boyd found very few similarities of a striking nature among black

students. At least 80 percent of the students in his study were

unmarried and graduates of public high schools, maintained "C" averages

and participated in classes at least as much as other students, and were

usually able to obtain adequate help with their problems by using some

combination of the resources available to them (p. 5). More importantly,

at least two-thirds of the students shared some obvious, and some less

well-known characteristics which heavily influenced their careers in

higher education.

Characteristics pertinent to this research with citations on each

topic of recent research by others follow:



Black students were dependent on financial aid as their primary

source of money for funding their college educations. Sixty-eight





22

percent of the students in Boyd's study were dependent on loans, scholar-

ships or veteran's benefits to support their schooling. Twenty-nine-per-

cent listed scholarships as their primary source of aid, and 20 percent

received primary funding from their parents. Nineteen percent received

loans from sources outside the institution. Obtaining sufficient aid is

critical to the student's survival in school (p. 5).

In his study of college dropouts, Astin (1975) found that blacks were

much more likely than whites to check financial difficulties (43 percent

versus 27 percent) as the reason for dropping out of college (p. 17). The

reason for this is clear--a greater proportion of black students come from

low income families which are unable to contribute significantly to their

education (Astin et al., 1972; Bayer and Boruch, 1969).

Centra (1970) also found that black students relied heavily on

scholarships for financial support. Two-thirds of the black students in

his study on freshmen received some scholarship money, and 16 percent

received at least three-fourths of their support from scholarships. In

contrast, only one-third of the white students were supported by scholar-

ships. Twenty-seven percent of the black students received no parental

support, and 24 percent received a quarter or less of their college

expenses from their parents, whereas 43 percent of the white students

received 75 to 100 percent of their college expenses from parents.

Centra's sample, however, differed significantly from Boyd's in that 85

percent of his sample came from small, private colleges with very small

black populations. Still, the pattern of funding education was similar in

both studies.

In his 1972 study of characteristics and trends of black freshmen,

Bayer found that 25 percent of the black students as opposed to 10 percent







of the white students were very concerned about finances for college.

(p. 16)


Most black students must work to supplement their primary source of

funding. Working is more the norm than the exception for black students

attending college. In Boyd's (1974) study 73 percent of the students

held at least one job. Fifty-four percent worked 11 to 20 hours per

week, and 20 percent worked 21 hours per week. (p. 6)

Bayer and Boruch (1969) found in their American Council on Education

(ACE) report on freshmen, that two-thirds of the black students in the

study worked full or part-time, as opposed to one-half of the white

students.


Black students feel inadequately prepared for college. In Boyd's

1974 study, 71 percent of the students felt that they would prepare them-

selves differently if they had the opportunity to do so again. Consist-

ent with this feeling, 52 percent rated their college preparation as fair

or poor (p. 7). Similar findings are reported by Hedegard and Brown

(1969) in their study of black and white freshmen at the University of

Michigan. Black students felt they were less well prepared academically

than the average white student.

In a 1976 study of black students at the University of Florida,

Taylor (Note 2) found that black students chose poor academic preparation

as the second biggest problem they experienced in adapting to the pre-

dominately white campus. Nieves (1977), Crossland (1971), and others

concur with these findings.





24

Bayer (1972) found that despite good high school grades, 53 percent

of the black freshmen in the 1971 ACE study felt they needed tutoring or

remedial work, particularly in mathematics.

At the University of Maryland at College Park, Brooks and Sedlacek

(1972) found that all but 16 percent of their 1972 black freshmen

indicated an interest in the tutorial or remedial help programs. (p. 2)

Very little data have been recorded about whether black students

actually receive the help they indicate they need. However, Boyd's study

(1974) reported that a majority of students do not feel they have

received any special help, even though many were admitted under special

programs which supposedly provided such services. Seventy-three percent

of the students believed they received no special or preferential treat-

ment in any phase of their experience at college. Sixty-six percent said

they received no academic help whatsoever (pp. 7-8). However, Nieves

(1977) and others (Taylor, Note 2; Hazeur, Note 3) report that black

students often do not use the services they know they need.

They simply do not avail themselves of the services
provided--perhaps because of the class and ethnic gulf
between them and most counselors, perhaps because they feel
their problems are outside the ken of white counselors,
perhaps because they feel the counsel they receive is too
abstract, not directly applicable to their problems.
(Nieves, 1977, p. 5)



Black students are confident of their ability to succeed. Their

confidence in succeeding is seen as admirable, yet somewhat unrealistic

by some educators, especially in light of the admitted need for academic

assistance. Hazeur (Note 3) stated that young black freshmen envision

college as an extension of high school and are not aware that they will





25

need better study habits and skills to cope on campus. Harper (1971) and

Nieves (1977) concur with this observation.

Boyd's (1974) findings also reflected this paradox. His study found

this:

Seventy-nine percent of those who received help feel that
they didn't need assistance, and 77% believe there was no
likelihood of their dropping out of college. This confi-
dence was also reflected in their views on study habits--
72% felt that their study habits were as good or better
than those of other students. (p. 7)

Though working against seeming insurmountable odds, increasing numbers of

black students have matriculated at predominately white institutions,

perhaps because of this "unrealistic confidence". (p. 21)



A majority of the black students are poor, urban, first generation

college students. Sixty-five percent of the students in Boyd's study

came from families that have incomes under $10,000. Sixty percent of

these were first-generation college students, or the first in their

families to attend college. Of the students in the study, 59 percent

were from families in which neither parent had attended college. These

students were more likely to require substantial financial aid than those

whose families had incomes exceeding $10,000. Students from families

with incomes higher than $10,000 were more likely to attend college than

those from families with incomes less than $10,000, and were also less

likely to need substantial financial aid.

Hedegard and Brown (1969) found that the median income of the white

students in their sample was between $12,000 and $14,000, as opposed to

$6,000 to $10,800 for black students. They also found that 70 percent of

the fathers of black students had completed no more than a high school







education and were employed in unskilled or semi-skilled occupations.

Seven percent of the white fathers were semi-skilled or unskilled

laborers, and 55 percent had some graduate or undergraduate degree.

Bayer and Boruch (1969) reported similar finding.

Boyd's (1974) data indicated that a majority of black students

during the time of his study were enrolled in urban institutions in the

Northeast and the West. Moreover, 80 percent of these students were

enrolled in major urban areas, which were close to home (p. 29).



Female students differ significantly from black males in regard to

family background and academic behavior. Boyd found that twice as many

females (22 percent) as males (11 percent) indicate that both their

parents attended college. Also, 23 percent of the females as opposed to

15 percent of the males reported family incomes of $15,000 or more. This

may be one reason that there are more black females enrolled in higher

education institutions. (p. 18)

Another reason females outnumber males is related to the male role

as breadwinner. Often, due to the poverty of black families, the males

are seen as potential workers to increase family income for survival and

drop out of primary and secondary school to work. Consequently, twice as

many females as males identified their families as their primary source

of financial support (Boyd, 1974).

Academically, males fare less well than females in predominately

white campuses. Boyd (1974) found that 31 percent of the females made

"B" averages as opposed to 21 percent of the males, and that 56 percent

of the males versus 46 percent of the females reported fair or poor

academic preparation for college. In addition, females have more contact







with faculty than do males. Yet the females report the contact as pri-

marily negative and discriminatory. Of those males who were in contact

with faculty, 37 percent as contrasted with 46 percent of the females

described faculty contact as negative (p. 18).

Strader, Brooks and Sedlesack (1974) also confirmed a higher percent-

age of black females as having interaction with faculty than did males.



Most of the students have never attended any other college. Sixty-

nine percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study had never attended

other colleges. Of those students who had attended other institutions,

over half were enrolled in public community colleges. Sixty-eight percent

had considered attending black colleges, which to date have been suffering

declining enrollment due in part to the increase in blacks in tradition-

ally white institutions.



Black students still tend to major in traditional areas such as

social sciences. Despite a national trend in job opportunities away from

the social sciences and education, and towards the business and technical

fields, the majority of black students major in the social sciences or

education. Twenty-eight percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study

were majoring in the social sciences, 15 percent in education, and 15

percent in business (p. 9).

Drifting towards fields other than education seemed to be character-

istic of all students, according to Bayer's 1972 freshmen study. Black

students were more likely to major in business, the social sciences,

education, and the health fields, while non-black students tended to

major in the physical sciences, engineering, and the biological sciences.







A decade later, Astin's (1972) study of freshmen majors confirmed that

black students are moving out of the traditional non-technical areas.

A large majority of black students aspire to graduate education,

though many have less than "B" averages (Bayer, 1972; Boyd, 1974; Centra,

1970). This seemingly unrealistic yet admirable desire to attend

graduate school has often been interpreted as the mechanism by which

blacks can bridge the gap which exists between employment opportunities

and salary differences between blacks and whites (Boyd, 1974).



Southern Study



This section describes a summary of findings in a study completed in

1970 at the same institution where the study reported herein was

conducted. Shenkman, the author, studied the first group of black

undergraduates accepted at the university. His study was designed to

determine how the new students were participating in the life at the

university. In so doing, he also documented characteristics, problems,

and other aspects of their lives on campus. Through interviews and

questionnaires he was able to collect data from half the black population

enrolled at that time. The following summary was selected from his study

of the 70 students.

A majority of the black students at the university come from
low income families. Only one quarter of all black students
have parents who are able to completely finance their
college education. Half of the black students are receiving
financial aid.

The great majority of black students at the university are
from the state. The majority come from predominately black
neighborhoods and graduated from predominately black high
schools. While in high school these students were extremely
active in all facets of extracurricular activities.







A majority of the friends of black students at the univer-
sity are attending predominately black colleges and univer-
sities. The major consideration of black students who
decided to attend the university was a financial one. The
major reason for black students wanting to attend college
was preparation for making a living.

Black students felt most favorable about professions, had
moderate opinions of white students, and felt least favor-
able about administrators. Very few acts of discrimination
were reported having been committed by professors, white
students, or administrators in spite of a general feeling of
their being prejudiced.

Virtually all black students expressed a desire for more
black students, more black faculty, more black administra-
tors, more Black Studies Programs, and greater opportunity
for nonfaculty black personnel. The desire for more black
students, however, was most often expressed (pp. x, xi).

Relatively few white individuals or organizations have made
positive overtures in the direction of black students. The
extremely small number of black students at the university
makes it possible for blacks to be ignored without creating
an unassimilated minority which conceivably could constitute
a threat to the stability of the social system of the
university. In addition, black students are ambivalent as
to whether or not they wish to be assimilated into the
mainstream of campus culture.

Blacks date, study, and socialize mainly with other blacks.
Nonacceptance by whites plays a relatively minor role in
explaining this phenomena. Blacks simply feel more comfort-
able around other blacks than they do with whites. More
than actually participating to a greater extent with whites,
black students would like the option of being able to do so.

In order for Blacks to feel that they are first class
citizens in the social system of Orange University, they
must enjoy all the perogatives that true first-class
citizenship implies. There must be enough black students at
Orange University in order to give Blacks a representative
voice on campus. There must be more Black professors at all
academic levels in order to eliminate the feeling that
whites are the sole disseminators of knowledge and erase the
suspicions and fears that this type of thinking generates.
Finally, there must be Blacks in positions of power and
authority. A group cannot feel that it is of equal status
with other groups in a social system unless it has members
of its group in positions of prestige and leadership. These
leaders cannot simply be leaders to the members of that
group, but also must have authority and control over all
participants in the social system. (p. 164-165)







Shenkman's observations were the same as Boyd's regarding black

students' income (poor and dependent on aid), their home background

(urban), their family status in school (first generation) and their

feeling unprepared for college.


Problems of Black Students



The studies cited thus far have focused on the characteristics of

black students attending white colleges. What about problems in

adjusting? Some indeed arise from the differences between the new black

student and the traditional white student. However, many others are due

to the expectations of the new students about the campus as well as those

of the staff and faculty who are to receive them.

Gibbs (1973) provided an excellent summary of expectations of white

staff and administrators, and those of black students that reflect

problems they eventually faced in adjusting to each other on the campus.



Staff Expectations of Black Students



The staff related to black students on the basis of a set of

explicit and implicit expectations they held. In the absence of actual

contact, status expectations functioned as substitutes for knowledge.

An example of their expectations follows:

1. Black students would be assimilated into the University

community without needing any substantial alteration of academic

structure or programs





31

2. Black students were expected to compete academically with white

students who generally had superior high school preparation and

adequate study skills

3. Black students were expected to blend into the social-cultural

life of the campus, and

4. Black students were expected to be overly grateful for having

been given the opportunity to obtain a quality integrated

education (p. 463-464)



Black Student Expectations



As first generation collegians, many black students did not have

clearly defined college expectations. They had not undergone what

Hattenschwiller (1969) has described as anticipatory socialization to

prepare them for the complexities of college life. That is, they had not

discussed it with persons knowledgeable about it, or read about it enough

to understand fully what it meant to attend college. Black students

expect

1. The university to be very flexible in responding to their

individual needs

2. College courses to be a continuation of high school work, and

were often confused by the qualitative and quantitative

differences in courses and study assignments

3. A greater diversity of activities and lifestyles at college

4. To have a greater contact with the black community surrounding

the campus, and







5. That they would contribute as much to the university as it

contributed to them, and this would benefit the institution

(p. 464-465)

The expectations of these two groups led to identifiable problems for the

students. These problems included

1. Difficulty in establishing meaningful personal identities

2. Conflict in interpersonal reactions with black and white

students

3. Problems in developing long range goals

4. Sexual and aggressive feelings, and

5. The problems of autonomy with no guidance (p. 465-466)

Nieves (1977) suggests that although problems which minorities

report are also characteristic of the average college student, they are

more severe because of the minority student's lack of preparation and

unrealistic expectations. (p. 2)

Some of the attitudes and feelings bred by such problems include

Feeling unentitled to college. Minority students often
report this feeling on attitude surveys, and faculty members
concur. Students often express self-depreciating opinions
by pointing to their inadequate academic preparation, low
grade averages, and low achievement scores. They also say
they feel uncomfortable with nonminority students and
faculty members because they are made to feel inferior,
unrespected, and different.

Loneliness and isolation. Many students feel a pervasive
stress stemming from insufficient opportunity to relate to
other minority group members on white-dominated campuses.

Unrealistic goals. Minority students enter college with
even less of a general idea of what they want to do than
traditional students. Minority students' aspirations and
career goals are either unrealistically high or
unrealistically low.







Fear of performance evaluation. Arriving on campus with a
long record or poor performance on nationally normed tests,
school grades, and other measures, minority students fear
failure and adopt avoidance behaviors rather than the
achievement-oriented actions that are essential to success
on the college campus.

Alienation from the dominant culture and style. Minority
students do not hve the benefit of the lifelong expectations
that accept the demands of college as the next, natural step
in personal development. They do not know what to expect.
Indeed, for most minority students, college environments
contain unfamiliar manifestations of racism.

Attribution of control to external rather than internal
sources. Minority students feel that they have little
control over events in their lives but must simply respond
to outside forces. Some students have described themselves
as "unsuccessful salmons swimming upstream". (pp. 2-3)

These attitudes and feelings are basic to the average minority

student attending college on predominately white campuses. This list is

by no means exhaustive, nor does it imply that these are feelings

experienced by every minority student attending predominately white

schools. Ballard (1973), Brown and Stent (1977), and Harper (1971)

report similar problems and feelings of black students on predominately

white campuses.

Expectations and perceptions of minority students about their new

campus experience were sometimes indistinguishable. The pilot study of

black students from different academic classifications revealed that

they had retained perceptions brought from home, and gained new ones

after entering college. Although there were no freshmen in the pilot

study, some of the perceptions were similar to those of the freshmen.

The following is a summary of the perceptions of the students in the

pilot study. The exact quotes from which the summaries were made are

presented in Appendix D.







Social Peer Relations


1. Black students tend to separate themselves socially from others

(whites) on campus.

2. Sometimes black students do not help each other and turn to

whites before asking help of other blacks.

3. Black fraternities and other (black) organizations are very

helpful in the socialization process into campus life.



Studying



1. Black students feel pressure to perform "by themselves" without

help (to study) from others. (This is believed to be an attempt

to prove that blacks are not inferior and that they can make it

without assistance).

2. Some black students who don't attend classes take advantage of

others who do by pressuring them to share notes.



Special Admissions Program


1. The Special Admissions Program (SAP) has improved over the

years and is an important service for black students.

2. Peer counselors play an important role in the SAP, especially in

helping students understand the (university) system and to

utilize the resources on campus.

3. Most black students would not be at OSU without the Special

Services Program.







Academic Advising



1. Academic advising at OSU is inadequate, and many faculty are not

helpful at all.

2. Some black students do not seek professors for academic advice

because they are viewed by their peers as "begging for points"

or "trying to be the teacher's pet," and thus not having much

pride as a black person.



Faculty Relations in Class



1. Some Black students have experienced racial prejudice in the

classroom.

2. Often times, a black student's comfort in the classroom depends

on the extent of their experience with whites prior to attending

the university.

3. When black issues arise in class discussions, some blacks are

asked by professors to speak for all black people on the

specific issue.

4. Some students have been told by professors that they can only

earn predetermined grades in their classes.



Adjusting to Black/White Situations



1. Black students who attended integrated high schools had an

easier time adjusting to the university than blacks who attended

predominately black high schools.





36

2. Organizations, like ROTC, helped some black students get used to

being around whites.

3. Some black students deliberately chose a predominately white

school, to learn how to cope with the racial situations which

they believed they would eventually encounter in the work world,

after graduation.



Family Influence



1. The families of most black students are very supportive of their

educational pursuits, in a moral and financial sense.

2. Many students feel that their parents' limited educational

experiences prevent them from understanding some academic

problems they experience on campus. Since these experiences are

difficult to explain, students are left to fend for themselves

or find support from other sources.



Adaptive Behaviors



A large university campus is a microcosm of the general society.

Thus, the adaptive behaviors of blacks in the predominately white

American society parallel the behaviors of black students on the predomi-

nately white campuses. Pettigrew's (1964) description of the three

models of response that blacks have to oppressive American society are

very much like the behaviors that Gibbs (1974) and Willie (1977) observed

and documented among black students on predominately white campuses. The

reactions of these black students are not unlike the culture shock





37

experienced by many international students who attend American institu-

tions for the first time (Proctor, 1970) or Asian and Africans in

European universities (Ballard, 1973). Valentine (1971) has suggested

that black Americans' commitment to survival has forced them to deal

successfully in a bicultural society, i.e., in their own black culture

and that of the mainstream culture; having a commitment in both cultures

requires certain adaptive behaviors for coping with life (p. 143).

On the other hand, students' adaptive behaviors are influenced by

their environment, the campus milieu. University personnel including

administrators, students, faculty and staff, collectively, and individu-

ally, influence to some degree how comfortable or uncomfortable students

are in their environment. The curriculum, social activities, and pro-

grams reflecting the institution's philosophy have varying effects on

students as they attempt to fit into campus life. This section will

include a review of the black student's adaptive behavior in the new

campus environment, as well as the campus response to them.

Many educators have described the tension, misunderstandings and

problems between the two groups, which were in conflict during the

1960's. Perhaps more than others, the feeling of alienation is the

cultural problem which underlies all others, i.e., feelings of not

fitting into the major activities of the university. Ballard (1973)

depicts the current picture very well, though his reference is to an

early time when he was among the few black scholars attending

predominately white institutions:

This theme of alienation among Blacks who had the singular
chance to attend white institutions persisted in the pre-
World War I, and pre-World War II periods. Many seemed to
feel themselves in four-year exile in a strange and alien







white world which cut them off from their roots. From the
memoirs of such persons as J. Saunders Redding,, one gains a
sense of the way in which all Blacks--including the middle
class--viewed the prospect of education in an environment
which refused to acknowledge their existence. (p. 5)

Other characteristics describing the feelings of black students on

predominately white campuses included depression, anxiety, feelings of

failure, loss of self-esteem (Mackey, 1973).

Harper (1971) spoke of the "related, intricate, and rigid bureau-

cracy" which adds to the gap between students and their own environment,

which prevents the students from meeting their basic needs, i.e., love

and belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization (p. 257).

Thomas F. Pettigrew, Harvard sociologist, is noted for his book,

A Profile of the American Negro (1964). In the book, his discussion of

the Negro American's reaction to this relegation in the United States as

a second class, inferior human being by the majority, white society,

provides insight into how black students on a white campus might feel as

they become adjusted to the campus. The three modes of behavior

described are:

Moving toward the oppressor. Persons utilizing this means of coping

with society are seeking full acceptance as equal human beings. Racial

integration is the aim, and is reflected in national predominately black

organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of

Colored People, and The Urban League (p. 58).

Moving against the oppressor. This mode is characterized by aggres-

sive reactions against the oppressor, as well as avoidance reactions to

the mainstream society. (p. 35)





39

Moving away from the oppressor. In this last major mode of coping

with whites, Pettigrew identified four categories: passivity and with-

drawal, social insulation, passing, and extreme escapism.

1. Passivity and withdrawal. In this category, blacks generally

behave in a fashion typically misunderstood by whites who mis-

take the passive acquiescence shown by blacks as indifference.

2. Social insulation. Characterized mainly by those blacks who are

of the middle class, this category is demonstrated by those who

can effectively stay away from their poorer brothers and sisters

and the uppity whites through economic means.

3. Extreme escapism. Most of the escape routes exhibited by blacks

are similar to those common to the general society, but to a

higher degree--alcoholism and drug addiction. These drugs can

place a person in another world without the problems and

pressures of racism, unemployment, and the general unhappiness

of the poor.

Almost a decade after Pettigrew's classic, Gibbs (1974), a psychi-

atric social worker, utilizing his model, documented similar patterns of

behavior exhibited by black students at Stanford Ifniversity. In her

study, of forty-one cases, 22 were female and 19 were male. The vari-

ables used to analyze her data included socioeconomic status of the

student's family, the extent of the student's exposure to high school

integration, the student's ability to handle academic tasks, and the

student's feelings of self-adequacy. The patterns discussed from the

student's behavior were coping patterns directed toward the resolution of

the conflict generated by ethnic or sociocultural marginality. The first

three modes of behavior found in the student population are basically the





40

same as those Pettigrew (1964) found, and have been called mode of with-

drawal, mode of assimilation, and mode of separation. However, Gibbs

(1977) found a fourth behavior, a mode of affirmation, which is found to

a lesser degree in students than other modes, yet appears to be one which

students can move towards, once they are more comfortable with themselves

and their new environment. The four modes are described below:

1. Mode of withdrawal. The mode of withdrawal is characterized by

apathy, depression, feelings of hopelessness, alienation and

depression, culminated in the student's wish to avoid contact

with the conflict-producing situation, i.e., to withdraw.

Withdrawal was the predominant mode, with 21 students (51

percent) exhibiting one or more forms of this syndrome and four

(10 percent) obtaining medical leave due to the severity of

their symptoms. Thus, for this specific sample, the student

from a working-class or lower-class family who attended a

predominately black high school had difficulty in handling

academic tasks.



2. Mode of separation. The mode of separation is characterized

by anger, hostility, conflicts in interpersonal relation-

ships which may be expressed as rejection of whites, con-

tempt for middle-class white values and behavior patterns,

and active protests against white institutions and customs.

[Among the five students who selected this mode, two were

involved in assaultive behavior, and three were involved in

militant protest activities which caused property damage on







the campus.] In this sample, the mode of separation seems

to be the second most likely choice for the non-middle-class

student who did not exhibit the withdrawal syndrome.



3. Mode of assimilation. The mode of assimilation is charac-

terized by social anxiety, desire for acceptance and

approval, conformist behavior, compensatory overachievement,

and heightened sensitivity concerning ethnic references and

cues. Those students who avoided all contacts with other

blacks and who made deliberate efforts to conceal their

racial identity were in this category.



4. Mode of affirmation. The mode of affirmation is character-

ized by self-acceptance, positive ethnic identity, hyper-

activity, high achievement motivation, and autonomous self-
actualization behavior. Nearly one-fourth (ten cases) of

the students developed this pattern of response to a con-

flict which, for most of them, was expressed in terms of

their inability to live up to their own ideal expectations

due to conflicting sets of pressures from blacks and whites.

These students attempted to merge those elements of black

and white cultural patterns that were syntonic with their

personalities and goals. In general, they had positive

feelings about their own ethnic identity, yet they were open

to new experiences, new values, and new skills that would

contribute to their successful adaptation to the college

environment.







Among the 9 students from professional and 18 from white-

collar families, one-third of each group developed the

affirmative mode. One (1) of the 11 working-class students

(9 percent) was in this category, and one of the 3 students from

the lower-class developed this pattern. Seven of the 21

students who attended integrated high schools and 3 of the

20 from predominately black schools demonstrated the affirm-

ative mode.

Gibbs found (as did Pettigrew) that a majority of the population

chose the withdrawal mode for coping. Those choosing this mode also had

predominate feelings of inadequacy. Recognizing such behavioral patterns

in a student population could be critical to understanding them, and to

trying to effect change to enhance their matriculation.

Chester Hunt (1975), a sociologist, also identified three patterns

by which black students adapt to white campuses and constructed a typo-

logy based on these patterns. He approached black student group adjust-

ments from the perspective of the university and its response to the

student demands, which varied and often seemed extreme. The three cate-

gories the separationists, the cultural pluralists, and the integration-

ists. Hunt defined these as follows:

1. Integrationist--those persons wishing to erase any reference

to ethnic identity.

2. Separatist--those persons wishing to remove themselves as far

as possible from any association with other groups.

3. Cultural pluralist--those persons wishing to preserve ethnic

identity and to function to a considerable extent within their







ethnic group, at the same time participating in the larger

society (p. 138).

It is interesting to note the similarity between Hunt's (1975) work

and that of Gibbs (1974). His category of Integrationist is analogous to

her Mode of Assimilation. The other similarity is his category of

Separationist and her Mode of Separation.

The category of pluralist is the only one that differs from others

cited heretofore, and is analogous to the Gibbs mode of affirmation.

This mode appears to be one of the most ideal and most effective coping

styles that could be adapted by students. It is comparable to what

Valentine (1971) referred to as a bicultural model of behavior, which

often is not recognized by whites in America. He explained this dual

socialization and its importance for adjustment and coping in the

mainstream culture:

The idea of biculturation helps explain how people learn and
practice both mainstream culture and ethnic cultures at the
same time. Much intra-group socialization is conditioned by
ehtnically distinct experience, ranging from linguistic and
other expressive patterns through exclusive associations
like social clubs and recreational establishments to the
relatively few commercial products and mass media produc-
tions designed for ethnic markets. Yet, at the same time,
members of all subgroups are thoroughly enculturated in
dominant culture patterns by mainstream institutions,
including most of the contact of the mass media, most
products and advertising for mass marketing, the entire
experience of public schooling, constant exposure to
national fashions, holidays, heroes, etc...

In any case, biculturation strongly appeals to us as a key
concept for making sense out of ethnicity and related
matters: the collective behavior and social life of the
Black community is bicultural in the sense that each Afro-
American ethnic segment draws upon both a distinctive reper-
toire of standardized Afro-American group behavior, and,
simultaneously, patterns derived from the mainstream
cultural system of Euro-American derivation. Socialization
into both systems begins at an early age, continues through-
out life, and is generally of equal importance in most







individual lives. The obvious ambiguities and ambivalences
of all this are dramatized and sharpened by the fact that
mainstream Euro-American culture includes concepts, values,
and judgements which categorize Blacks as worthy only of
fear, hatred, or contempt because of their supposedly innate
characteristics. This is part of what radical and national-
istic Afro-Americans mean when they refer to the "brain
washing" of their people. (p. 143)

The adaptive mode chosen by students are important, because they are

the means by which students function on the predominately white campus.

Recognizing the modes and understanding their relationships to successful

matriculation are critical for university personnel.



Developing Perspectives



Becker, Geer and Hughes (1968) define perspectives as "a coordinated

set of ideas and actions a person uses in dealing with some problematic

situation, to refer to a person's ordinary way of thinking and feeling

about acting in such a situation" (p. 35). These ideas and actions are

generated in a special context. A more detailed description by Becker

and Geer points this out:

Perspectives grow and persist in the course of students'
interaction with one another and with college function-
aries. They are not individual responses to the problems
of college life, but collective ones--calculative in the
sense that the understandings contained in the perspective
are held in common and the actions contained in it are
intelligible within that framework of understanding. They
are collective, too, in being embodied in interaction, as
students teach, learn and transmit them in the course of
the routine activities of college life. (p. 36)

As black students enter the new predominately white environment, their

perceptions and expectations, whether clearly defined or inaccurate, are

the basis on which they develop perspectives about their new lives on

campus. Because many new black freshmen are first generation college





45

students, they do not have the experience of other students who have the

advantage of learning from family members of the complexities which

Hattenschwiller (1969) described.

The perspectives which students develop about their academic and

social lives were of primary importance in this study. Students'

individual perspectives were identified, but their collective, group

perspectives as black freshmen were of greater even interest to the

researcher. Their collective freshmen perspectives are unique--just as

those of sophomores or seniors would be. Becker et al. (1968) expand

on how these perspectives are developed:

The perspectives thus exist as a more or less codified set
of ideas and conventional practices, sometimes being expli-
cit, sometimes almost totally implicit. Students may deduce
the proper course of action from its ideas when they are in
the company of the students, or they may adopt practices
suggested to them by others and later find the justification
in their perspectives...Some students, thoughtful analysts
of the circumstances of their own lives, can state student
perspectives in a general and theoretical way. Others, less
thoughtful or less articulate, simply state or act on the
practical conclusions to be drawn from such an analysis, but
their actions and statements imply the more generalized
statement. (p. 37)

Students develop perspectives as their lives evolve on campus, especially

in relation to their peers. Perspectives are composed of three elements,

which are characteristic of those which students adopt: (1) definition

of the situation, (2) activities, and (3) criteria of judgement.

The first element, the situation, is a description of the character

or features of the situation in which some action must be taken. In

defining the situations, students most consider their goals in trying to

solve a problem, the organizational systems or people involved, the

rules--formal and informal--which affect their actions, and the reward

and penalties incurred by taking certain actions. Students, as a rule,





46

are aware of the impact that the various experiences that influence their

lives have on each other, and the way they define situations. That is,

they know that their dorm life, home life, participation in clubs,

friendships, all influence each other. Their academic and social lives

are influenced then by all aspects of their lives at school, not just the

academic and social activities in which they are involved.

The second element of perspectives is activities. Activities are

any actions in which students become involved. Individual or group

actions with formal groups or organizations on or off campus may be

classified as activities. Activities are dictated by the individual

interests of the students, their peers, and even their families.

Criteria of judgement is the last element in analyzing perspectives,

and is defined as the standard against which judgements are made. Peer

standards, those of the faculty, or those established by the administra-.

tors, can all be used by students to make certain judgements about them-

selves or others. It is, however, the rewards of the system, such as

grades, which are used as criteria of judgement by students, more than

other standards. A final quote by the team of Becker et al. (1968) from

their book Making the Grade summarizes how students use the elements in

developing perspectives:

The picture one should have then, is of students going about
their daily activities, arriving at joint definitions of
situations and problems, working out solutions in light of
their common understanding of the situation, and engaged in
what seem to them to be appropriate actions. (p. 37)

In this study, the analysis which revealed the perspectives and

problem solving behaviors of these freshmen depended equally on their

historical experiences prior to attending college, and their new college

environment. The perspectives developed by students were primarily







situational, that is, to solve a particular problem. Some long range

perspectives were identified, but the nature of these were different from

the ones developed day-to-day.



Institutional Response to Black Students



Just as students' adjustment to the university is affected by the

things, i.e., background, characteristics, which they bring to the campus

environment, what they encounter and meet on the campus also influences

their adjustment. Burns Crookston (1975) described an ideal environment,

a campus milieu for student development, which reflects an area of human

and group interaction which each student faces on entering the

university:

What is our milieu? For our purposes it is more than the
physical environment in which the institution is located; it
includes the intellectual, social, esthetic, creative,
cultural, philosophical, emotional, and moral environments
as a totality; it includes the interactions among the indi-
viduals in all such groups. Milieu involves the interface
between and among all those groups that comprise the insti-
tution and the interface of these groups with outside groups
and environments. And it involves the impact of outside or
inside forces on the milieu, whether embracing or retard-
ing, whether interactive or oppressive, whether collabora-
tive or competitive. (p. 46)

The three major groups with whom students interact in this milieu

from the inside are administrators, faculty and their peers (Astin, 1968;

Peterson et al., 1978). A student's perception is influenced by his or

her reaction to those groups and the level of involvement with them

(Feldman and Newcomb, 1969).







Administration



As cited earlier, the majority of American institutions of higher

education were ill-prepared to receive black students; they were not

prepared for a student whose academic, social and cultural needs were not

the same as the white, middle-class students who were in the majority

(Ballard, 1973; Harper, 1971; Napper, 1973). As the chief administrator,

the president must set the tone for the university regarding policies

that affect black students. His/her commitment and support, or the lack

thereof, will be reflected in the entire institution. Presidents were

often targets of black student anger and were the main negotiators in

conflicts when demands were made of institutions (Proctor, 1970;

Peterson et al., 1978). In their study of several higher educational

institutions with programs for the disadvantaged student, Astin, Astin,

Bisconti and Frankel (1972) commented on institutional commitment:

Institutional commitment refers not just to the administra-
tors' attitude, but to the attitude of the entire academic
community. The benevolent apathy of those outside the pro-
gram that characterized so many of the case-study campuses
breeds frustration and resentment in the special students,
who all too frequently interpret indifference as hostility.
However well-intentioned the cause of ignorance--the admini-
strative belief that publicizing the program attaches a
stigma to the participants--its results are destructive.
Moreover, the stigma is felt anyway. If understanding is to
be fostered, regular students and faculy members should be
given more information about the special program and the
students enrolled in it. Their active enthusiasm can and
should be enlisted, and their awareness of reciprocal
benefits increased to achieve those goals; provisions should
be made for greater interchange of students and personnel.
(p. 233)

According to Peterson et al. (1978), this commitment from the highest

administrative level of the institutions was not perceived by black





49

students nor other members of the university community when blacks were

first admitted to predominately white campuses.

Student Affairs administrators usually had more interaction and

experience with black students than faculty and other administrative

personnel. This was due primarily to the nature of their responsibili-

ties, i.e., the adjustment of students to the non-curricular affairs of

the university (Peterson et al., 1978). Housing personnel, financial

aid officers, orientation staff and other student services personnel were

involved with many aspects of the black student's entrance into the

university. Cross (1975) and others have strongly advocated shifting the

burden from student affairs to the whole system to enhance the student's

chance for survival.

Many student services departments were responsible for hiring the

first black administrators in the predominately white universities. At

some institutions positions were created in order to hire someone to work

with black students; others recruited black staff for regular positions

already established. These black staff, wherever they were employed,

tended to be empathetic and supportive towards black students, who

responded the same to them. The black administrator in student affairs,

at times, was the only trusted resource for black students on the

predominately white campus (Napper, 1973; Ballard, 1973).



Faculty/Classroom Experiences



White faculty were often the least interested in helping black stu-

dents adjust to the predominately white campus and offered great resist-

ance to any change in curriculum or teaching style to accommodate these





50

new students. Black students can recount numerous incidents of negative

and degrading references to blacks in class, or a total disregard for the

role of blacks in society (Astin, 1978; Peterson et al. 1978). In seek-

ing help from professors, blacks were often "treated like welfare clients

by bursars and financial officers" (Ballard, 1973, p. 70). Again, the

onus was on the student to change and measure up to the standards already

set before he was allowed to attend the institution.

Astin (1968) in his study of the college environment stated that

although the student spends less time in the classroom than in other

campus activities, the classroom experience is one of the most influen-

tial experiences during the undergraduate years (p. 50). Many black

students then are indeed undergoing difficult experiences in some of

their classes.



Peer Environment



The peer group has been defined as the most powerful and influential

in a student's life on campus (Sanford, 1967; Astin, 1968). Most stu-

dents seek acceptance by fellow students and are eager to fit within a

group of their choice. Black students have the same feelings and need to

belong (Harper, 1971), but have the unique distinction of color and

history that separate them from most other groups on campus. Black

students fall into what Trow (1962) labels the non-conformist, sub-

culture at institutions, that has its own values, norms, and activities

outside other typical culture groups.

White students, like their administrators and faculty, were dis-

appointed when integration did not automatically occur. The newly





51

recruited black student was militant, not grateful for admission, demand-

ing, not acquiescent, and unwilling to compromise in the face of defeat--

all of which were unexpected by their white counterparts (Hunt, 1970;

Peterson et al., 1978).

Early in the 1960's many black and white students marched and sat-in

together, demanding changes in administrative policy. Soon, however, the

split was precipitated both by the prevailing Black ideology of
"separatism" and by a basic distaste among black students for the whole

lifestyle of the white "radical" (Ballard, 1973). More importantly,

demands of black students were for changes in concrete, mundane issues

regarding financial aid, admission and the curriculum, while white

radical demands were more diffuse and involved forces outside the

university. (Ballard, 1973)

Green (1971) emphasizing the need for administrators to take note of

black students' demands, suggested that meeting the need of black

students did in fact address some general education problems that needed

solving. He cited these ills that needed attention:

1. Neglect of undergraduate teaching

2. Lack of curricular innovation

3. Failure to relate classroom instruction to society's problems

4. High student attrition, and

5. The arbitrariness of certification and credential systems

(p. 31)

Today, the interaction between the two student groups has not

changed significantly. In the May issue of the Chronicle of Higher

Education, Middleton and Sievert (1978) cited these comments from





52

students and faculty (of both races) about the increasing racial tensions

and lack of black-white interaction on campuses were cited:

There are a lot of people--both black and white--who would
like to see what it's like on the other side, but never take
that step.

There's a lot of peer-group pressure to stick with your own
kind--a lot of distrust on both sides. The (whites) don't
speak their language and they (blacks) don't speak ours.

They (minority students) won't even talk to you. About the
only time anything gets going between us is during Black
Awareness Week. (p. 11)

Peterson et al. (1978), in their 13-campus study of institutions

with increasing black enrollments, found several patterns of racial

climates on the campuses between black and white student organizations:

Fully integrated. The organizational and activity patterns
of black and white student groups involve mixing of races
and accepting of the other race's interests and concerns.

Racially tense. The organizational and activity patterns of
black and white student groups assure mixing of the races,
but attitudes between the races are positive and accepting.

Racist. The organization and activity patterns of black and
white student groups involve separate racial patterns, and
attitudes between the races are negative and/or antagonistic.
(p. 205)

They found that most campus organizations were moving away from the fully

integrated, pluralistic patterns.

The data indicate that the traditionally white university faculty,

staff and students were not expecting to change to accommodate the new

black student. They were unprepared, "though not necessarily unable to

respond to the campus needs of their student populations" (Green, 1971,

p. 29). This does not mean that the traditionally white institutions

cannot or will not change to meet the needs of black students. What it

means is that there is much more work to be done by the personnel in





53

these institutions, both black and white, in order to create an environ-

ment conducive to learning for all students.



Theoretical Framework



This examination of black students' perceptions and adaptive

behaviors embraces three sociological theories and a major anthropologi-

cal perspective on culture: Cooley's (1910) theory on the social self,

Mead's (1934) symbolic interaction theory, Homan's (1950) reference group

theory, and Kimball and Burnett's (1973) perspective on the individual's

cultural world view. It was within the framework of these works that the

researcher was able to develop this study, and interpret the data

generated from it.



The Social Self



How students view their relationships with others depends in part on

how they view themselves. Awareness of self, according to Cooley (1910)

is one of the first steps in the socialization process, and is actually

an instructive feeling about self, which develops before relationships to

others are formed:

The social self is simply any idea, or system of ideas,
drawn from the communicative life that the mind cherishes as
its own. Self-feeling has its chief scope within the
general life, not outside of it . it is connected with
the thought of other persons; the self idea is always a
consciousness of the peculiar or differentiated aspects of
one's life, because that is the aspect that has to be
sustained by purpose and endeavor, and its more aggressive
forms tend to attach themselves to whatever one finds to be
at once congenial to one's own tendencies and at variance
with those of others with whom one is in mental contact.
(p. 823)







Cooley explained the development of the self in terms of an individual

looking at his expression and appearance in a looking glass. The indivi-

dual sees himself and imagines what others see in his expression or

appearance. These imaginations then influence the behavior of the

individual and how he acts towards others. This phenomenon is well

described in Cooley's 1908 article, "The Looking Glass".

A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal
elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other
person; the imagination of his judgement of that appearance,
and some sort of self feeling such as pride or mortifica-
tion. The comparison with a looking glass hardly suggests
the second element, the imagined judgements, which is quite
essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not
the mere mechanical reflections of ourselves, but an imputed
sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon
another's mind. (p. 231)

The imputed sentiment comes from the self and is projected on others with

whom the self encounters. This self perception can and often does

influence how one perceives others and is critical to understanding how

students perceive themselves and others they encounter in their campus

environment.

The concept of self was shared by a few other nineteenth century

social scientists, including William James, and James Mark Baldwin, but

was not fully developed in many ways, because of the criticism of its

unscientific, subjective nature (Manis and Meltzer, 1972). However,

George Mead's work on the process of self development revitalized

interest in Cooley's theory, and spawned a new school of thought called

symbolic interaction--the second theory on which this study is based.








Symbolic Interaction



Mead's theory of symbolic interaction, as discussed in his book,

Mind, Self and Society (1934), is very important in terms of understand-

ing the meaning of the person, or self. Mead's key supposition (like

Cooley's) was that the human being has a self. Mead, however, went

further than Cooley, and related that the self can act towards itself and

toward others. Furthermore, he stated that this (acting towards self and

others) was the central mechanism by which a person deals with his world.

(Mead's works were organized and presented as a theory from his lectures

and notes after his death. Much of his work has been interpreted and

analyzed by colleagues and other professionals as is the case here.)

Mead (1934) felt that the self was a social process involving two

different phases, identified as the "I" and "me". The "I" represents the

spontaneous, impulsive tendencies of an individual; the "me" represents

the organized, incorporated, other, i.e., definitions, expectations, and

meanings. The interplay between the two gives rise to a person's

actions. Meltzer (1972) has described it this way:

The "I" being spontaneous and propulsive, offers the poten-
tiality for new creative activity. The "me" being regula-
tory, disposes the individual to both goal-directive activ-
ity and conformity. In the operation of these aspects of
self, we have the basis for, on the one hand, social con-
trol, and on the other, novelty and innovation. We are thus
provided with a basis for understanding the mutuality of the
relationship between the individual and society. (p. 11)

Coombs and Snygg (1959) in their book on Individual Behavior described

the phenomenal self as the aspects of the perceptual fields to which we

normally refer to when we say 'I' or 'me'. In common with Mead's (1934)

idea on self, they felt that maintenance of this phenomenal self was and







is the most crucial task of man's existence (p. 43). All behavior and

adjustments then could be seen in this light, i.e., maintenance of the

self, thereby offering clues to why individuals behave as they do.

Blumer (1962), in summarizing Mead's concept of symbolic inter-

action, described how people incorporate other individuals and things

into this world:

This mechanism enables the human being to make indication to
himself of things in his surroundings and thus to guide his
actions by what he notes. Anything of which a human being
is conscious is something which he is indicating to himself--
the ticking of a clock, a knock at the door, the appearance
of a friend, the remark made by a companion, a recognition
that he has a task to perform, or the realization that he
has a cold. Conversely, anything of which he is not con-
scious is ipso facto, something which he is not indicating
to himself. (p. 146)

This premise of "indication" is also the basis on which an individual

begins to interpret the actions and meanings of things or objects outside

himself. Through this interpretation, he or she can role play or take

the role of others in order to view himself or herself from the perspec-

tive of the generalized other, which implies defining one's behavior in

terms of the expectations of others. The interpretation and ensuing

action is defined as symbolic interaction. It is distinct from an indi-

vidual reacting to pre-existing objects in an environment Blumer con-

tinued in his definition of symbolic interaction:

The term "symbolic interaction" refers, of course, to the
peculiar and destructive character of interaction as it
takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists
in the fact that human beings interpret or "define" each
other's actions instead of merely reacting to each other's
actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of
symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning
of one another's actions. (p. 145)

Thus, the individual acts on interpretation, of objects and other

individuals with whom he must encounter in his world. These deliberate





57
acts are preceded by what Thomas (1931) and Stebbins (1967) referred to

as a stage of examination called the definition of the situation. In

other words, defining the situation helps one determine how he will

behave in the situation. This "defining" also aids in determining how

one behaves towards certain individuals and groups.

The next theory is from the field of anthropology, and describes why

different people define the same situation in different ways.



Cultural World View


How one responds to others, and to his environment, identifies him

or her with a particular school of thought, social group, or culture.

Hill (1977) reports how one's perceptions of things are influenced by

one's environment, genes and culture.

Man's concepts of objects, properties, events and relations
(as symbolized in part by the vocabulary and syntax of his
language and the utterance formulated with it) are the means
by which he decodes signals from his environment and con-
structs instructions for how to respond to them. In human
behavior, the symbolically represented and conveyed concept
has in large measure replaced the gene. Man's codes are
cultural, as well as genetic. . Of course, linguistically
(and otherwise) symbolized concepts are not only mechanism
for decoding, representing, and transforming experienced
reality, and for constructing instructions to others. That
in turn implies some degree of standardization of both
concepts and symbols. Concepts and conceptions encoded in
symbolic media can be decoded only if the transmitter and
receiver operate within a common code. (p. 4)

Without a common code, concepts cannot be understood, or decoded. Each

group or society defines the code (language as well as actions) for its

members and others interacting with them. When the transmitter and

receiver are not operating within a certain code or culture, then







perceptions, relationships, and responses to the environment are

necessarily perplexing.

How one codes and decodes is directly influenced by one's culture.

Kimball and Burnett (1973) described this cultural perspective in their

volume on Learning and Culture:

The cultural world into which each individual is born and
comes to maturity provides him with a conceptual framework
which permits him to organize his experiences in a meaning-
ful manner. He learns to identify things, the relationship
between them and him, and specifies his own behavior in the
events in which he participates. . It makes meaningful
to him the natural phenomena, the rhythms of nature, and
the origins and future of life. This system is thought and
its body of knowledge is called the world view. It gives
to the members of each specific society their distinctive
perspective. . Hence the meaning of items, acts, or
events must be sought within the context of each specific
culture. (Introduction, p. xi)

As the authors implied, the cultural world view of an individual is

critical to perceptions of everything and everyone with whom he or she

interacts. Reality is defined then for most people, the way their

culture has shaped them to see it.

Black students represent one of America's largest sub-cultures,

which within its boundaries has several sub-cultures, each with its own

world view (Valentine, 1971). Students who represent this sub-culture

have many perceptions of themselves and others that are reflections of

their culture, and which differ from those students or groups in the

majority at predominately white universities. On the other hand, they

are also influenced by the majority culture in which they live. In

addition, when they become students, they join yet another "culture,"

i.e., the student culture, where common characteristics and goals

influence their perceptions.







Kimball and Burnett's (1973) reference to the world view can be

thought of in terms of a perspective unique to certain groups. Since

group perceptions and perspectives are important in this study a look at

reference groups was necessary.



Reference Groups



In trying to determine who the others are with whom students inter-

act when becoming adapted to the university setting, a look at reference

group theory was necessary. It was not until the publishing of Merton's

classic, Social Theory and Social Structure (1957), that social scien-

tists began to use the reference group theory as an analytical tool to

understand man's behavior. Since that time the following two types of

reference groups have been identified most often: (1) the normative

type which sets and maintains standards for the individual, and (2) the

comparative type which provides a frame of comparison relative to which

the individual evaluates himself and others (Merton, 1957, p. 283).

Merton (1957) also identified a third type, which Sherif and Sherif

(1964) described in their study of adolescent behavior. This group is

one to which one aspires to gain acceptance to enhance one's own status.

Trying to belong to a certain group, or attempting to identify with their

norms was the way many of the adolescent boys in their study spent their

time. Seeking approval and/or memberships to groups outside one's own is

not unique to adolescents, but is characteristic of human nature. Use of

reference group theory will be utilized in the analysis of how black

students perceive themselves in relationship to other groups on campus.





60

This theoretical framework of the study provides a background which

facilitates the interpretation and analysis of the data. How students

feel about themselves, their world, and those with whom they interact can

be understood more clearly after citing theories which relate to these

respective areas.



Summary



In the literature review, the researcher found that most black

collegians in PWIs were urban, first generation college students who

believed they were not adequately prepared for college, academically.

They tended to major in traditional social sciences and educational

areas, although a trend seemed to be developing toward business and

science majors, especially with new black freshmen. Few black students

have realistic expectations of what college life is about, due primarily

to their first generation status, and lack of models who were familiar

with college life. Nevertheless, most black students were confident in

their ability to succeed.

Personnel on the PWI campuses were no better prepared to accept and

assist black students, than the students were prepared for the campus.

White faculty, staff, and students expected black students to fit into

the campus scene with little to no change on their part to accommodate

them. Frustration, alienation, and mutual misunderstandings resulted

from the typical unpreparedness of both groups. Too often, the onus was

placed on the black student to adjust with little hellep from the

institutional personnel.





61

The behavior most typical of the black students in response to the

new environment and personnel was withdrawal. Other modes of behavior

were cited, including one of affirmation in which the student embraced

his own culture while seeking to fit into the mainstream. Coping styles,

perception, and newly developed perspectives all influenced the students'

behavior and hence their ability to matriculate successfully.

Theories which explain the cultural world view, reference grouping,

and interaction of people assisted in the development of new insights

about how the black freshmen adjusted to the campus. Experiences from

their home environments mingled with their new college experiences

certainly made application of theory to finding important in this study.

Chapter III describes the researcher's findings.













CHAPTER III

THE WINTER TERM FRESHMEN



This chapter provides the reader with a history of the university

where the study was conducted and an introduction to the black freshmen

who experienced their first two terms there. The introduction to the

students includes the data collected from their interviews, question-

naires, observations of them, and data from the university records at

that time. These data were collected winter and spring terms, or over

a twenty week period and are presented in part as case studies of each

student.

The categories in which data are presented include Family History

and Educational Background; Orientation and Registration; Friends at

Home/Friends at School; If I Study More, My Grade Will Improve; and I

Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students. Summaries follow each case study.



The Orange State University



Originally founded in 1853 as a segregated educational institution

for white men, Orange State University (OSU) now serves a coeducational,

multi-ethnic population of approximately 32,000 undergraduate and gradu-

ate students. It is located in an agricultural district of 80,000

people, not including the student population. This land-grant institu-

tion is one among three universities in the country offering such a wide





63

range of professional fields in a single campus. It is the largest and

oldest university in the state system, has several nationally ranked

departments, and is among the top 50 colleges and universities receiving

the largest amount of federal funds in the United States. It has the

largest number of graduate programs in the state, and employs a distin-

guished faculty to uphold its excellence in teaching, research, and

service to the University community. Its school of agriculture, medi-

cine, and law are well known in the South, and have been attended by many

educators, politicians, and professionals in the state.

Historically, the University's admissions personnel have offered

access to persons who (1) could afford to attend, (2) demonstrated their

potential for success by scoring well on standardized state or national

examinations, and (3) attained a high grade point average in high school.

The vast majority of students attending OSU come from middle and upper

middle class white families, thereby creating a significant disparity

between students whose family education and income do not equitably

compare.

Things have changed, though, spurred on by the advent of the equal

educational opportunity thrust of the 1960's. By 1970, OSU initiated its

largest experimental programs to enroll freshmen who, because of poor

preparation or some other factor, failed to meet the regular criteria for

admission. The prospective undergraduate students were selected on the

basis that they gave some indication that the normal criteria did not

give a true indication of their ability to succeed in university work.

(SREB, 1971). One hundred and ten of these students were black, and

fifty-seven were white. Admission of these students, and the initiation

of that program began OSU's commitment to provide equal educational





64

opportunity to the low income and nigh risk populations. Prior to that

time black students had not been admitted to the University at the under-

graduate level. Black students were first admitted to graduate study at

OSU in 1969.

Since 1970, the University's commitment to equal educational opportu-

nity has grown, and it currently participates in a state-wide admissions

program which allows each state university to admit ten percent of its

entering freshmen class who do not meet the standard admissions require-

ments. To date, the majority of the black undergraduate students at the

University have been admitted through this special admissions program. At

the time this study was conducted, black students (graduate and under-

graduate) represented less than six percent of the total student popula-

tion, yet represented the largest ethnic group on campus.

Students entering under the special admissions program are required

to have a minimum high school average of "C", good references, and a

strong interest in attending college. Most of the students come from low

income families, and often do not have sufficient backgrounds in science

and/or English to compete successfully with regularly admitted students.

Most of these students also do not score well on standardized aptitude

tests, whether state or nationally administered.

In order to meet the needs of the specially admitted students, the

University, with the help of federal monies, established a Special Admis-

sion Program. The purpose of the Special Admissions Program was to

enhance the retention rate of students, and to provide services to aid

their academic and social adjustment to the University. Specifically,

students were offered (1) special orientation to the University, (2) a

trouble-free pre-registration their first quarter in school, (3) personal





65
and academic counseling, (4) smaller classes, (5) individual and/or group

tutoring services, and (6) individualized grading on examinations in some

of their courses. All of these services were provided for the students

for one full (three terms) school term. This full year did not include a

six week summer orientation to the University which is attended by the

majority of special admission students in the summer prior to the fall of

their freshmen year.

A limited number of students are accepted for the fall and winter

terms without the benefit of the summer term. Students admitted without

the summer orientation usually have stronger academic backgrounds than

those admitted during the summer. However, most of the students are

encouraged to attend in the summer to take advantage of becoming adjusted

to the campus and the curricula without the pressure and the pace of the

regular school term.

The Special Admission Program is part of the undergraduate univer-

sity college program and at the time of the study reported to the Dean of

the University College. A director with a secretary, counselors, and

peer advisors works with faculty and other university administrators to

assist the students admitted under this program. The students' first

introduction to the program, however, comes from an admissions officer

who recruits them to attend the university. The admissions officer who

recruits the majority of the black students who attend OSU is also black,

and plays an important role in introducing them to the university as a

whole.

The next section describes the individual situation of the five new

black students who were the subjects of this study. The case study pres-

entations are written to report the findings, without discussion, yet a







synthesis of data has been made in order to make such a report. Major

themes and problems are identified in the summaries at the end of each

section.



Family History and Educational Background


Butch



Family history. Butch is the fourth male and the youngest child of

seven born to a black family in the South. His home city is located

approximately 80 miles from OSU. Though his parents were born and raised

in a small town in a neighboring state, they have resided in the home

city for 33 years. Butch was born and raised in the city, which is the

second largest in the state, with over 700,000 people. The family

members include uncles, aunts and cousins from both sides of the family.

They are close relatives, who also reside in various parts of the city,

and visit each other often, on weekends and holidays in particular.

Butch has a medium brown complexion, is approximately 5'6" tall,

wears a medium length Afro hair style, and dresses in a neat casual

fashion. He is friendly, talkative, and is serious about his school

work. His mother was a housewife who died suddenly in June, 1977, from

high blood pressure, the same month he graduated from high school. His

father is a laborer for a warehouse company where he has worked for

several years.

The family's annual income is less than $10,000 and was in the range

to make Butch eligible for financial aid to attend school. Butch is the

only sibling who lives at home with his father; his sisters and brothers

work and reside in other parts of the city.





67

Education. Butch's parents are both high school graduates who never

attended college. However, Butch remembers constant encouragement from

his parents for all of their children to attend college. Of the six

other siblings, two attended junior college, but only one completed the

Associate of Arts degree. Butch knew of only one relative, his father's

youngest brother, who received a degree from a four year institution.

Butch and his siblings are all very proud of this uncle who graduated

from Howard University, a well-known predominately black institution in

Washington, D.C. Butch reported that his sisters and brothers would

always say to him, "Dad's baby brother went to college, so now you--our

baby brother--you got to go, too, to keep it in the family."

Butch graduated from a public high school that had a black student

enrollment of 40-50% in a total population of approximately 625 students.

At 19 years of age, he graduated from high school with a 2.95 or "C+"

average, and was ranked 51 in a class of 416 students. He did not parti-

cipate in extra-curricular activities, although he had a strong interest

in sports. Butch listed his intended college major as accounting--his

second choice was architecture.

Butch's interest in attending OSU began early in his youth. He

recalled watching scenes of college life at OSU on television, and

dreamed of attending when he graduated from high school:

When I was little, I always used to watch it on TV...and
that's all I could think about--when you graduate, you want
to go to OSU.

Butch was determined to attend OSU. He did not apply for admission to

any other schools. He could not even be persuaded by his peers to

consider attending elsewhere:







Several of my friends tried to get me to go to AU, saying it
had the best accounting program, which is what I want to go
into. They kept on trying to persuade me, but I saw that
this was where I wanted to go.
(AU is the historically black state institution, which many
of Butch's black friends attended.)

Butch visited the OSU campus at every opportunity. This was accomplished

through attending sports events and concerts held on the campus. He and

his friends would look into the classrooms, visit dormitories, and became

quite familiar with the campus.

In February, seven months before his 19th birthday, Butch applied

for admission for the fall term at OSU. He was scheduled to take the

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in April, and anticipated graduation from

high school in June of the same year. On the OSU application requesting

additional information and the student's reason for applying to college,

Butch made this statement: "Orange State University is the only institu-

tion in the state that I feel getting along with people will be easy."

In March, 1977, Butch's application for admission was acknowledged by the

minority admissions officer who also offered his assistance to Butch to

facilitate any aspect of the admission process. Butch corresponded with

the admissions officer on several occasions during the next few months,

about housing, reporting SAT scores, and registration for classes.

Early in August, Butch was notified by the admissions officer that

his SAT scores were too low for consideration for fall entrance with the

regular freshmen class. However, he was offered the opportunity to

compete for admission under a state policy which allowed 10 percent of

the freshmen class to enter the university without all of the entrance

requirements. Butch was accepted for admission under the University





69

Special Admission Program for the winter school term. He and his family

were very happy about his acceptance to State Orange University. Butch

reported that his friends had mixed feelings about his acceptance; some

were excited for him, and others just couldn't understand why he wanted

to go to a "white school".

Despite his lifelong dream of attending OSU, Butch was somewhat

relieved that he did not have to attend until January. When questioned

about his feelings, Butch admitted that he was uncertain about whether he

should be working, or attending school. So he worked from August to

December, as a dishwasher in a restaurant. This experience convinced him

that an education would guarantee him a better job, and reinforced his

interests in attending the university. He spent the Christmas holidays

preceding his attendance with his uncle (the college graduate) and his

family in Washington, D.C. This visit also reinforced hi.s interests in

attending college, and he felt much better about attending school in

January.

And, like I went up to Washington for Christmas. And when I
went up there my uncle, the one that went to school, he just
kept insisting for me to go to school, go to school, go to
school. So, now I'm in. And so far it's been all right.
And I feel like, you know, as of right now, there's nothing
that would keep me from graduating.



Janice



Family history. Janice is the oldest of three children born to a

family that has resided in the southern part of the state for the last

twelve (12) years. She was born and raised in an urban city of 25,000

people only 25 miles from the third largest city in the state. Janice







described her family as very close and religious. Both her parents

graduated from high school and have never attended college. Her mother,

a receptionist, and her father, a laborer, have a combined income of over

$20,000. Her father had also worked as a nurse's assistant, and ulti-

mately influenced Janice's choice of pre-med as an area of study.

Janice is a guiet, attractive young woman with dark brown skin,

thick shoulder length black hair, and a medium build. She was shy when

interviews first began, but soon warmed up and very often volunteered

information during interviews. Janice did not know much about college

but had a cousin who graduated from Albany State College, a predominately

black institution in another southern state, and an uncle who graduated

from Rutgers University, a predominately white school in the Northeast.

They talked to her of their experience and encouraged her to attend

school. She was expected to attend college and set a model for her

younger sister and brother, even though she knew it would mean a

financial hardship on all members of the family, including herself.

Education. At 18 years of age, Janice graduated from a high school

that had a 20-40% population of black students. The majority of the

other students were white. She was ranked 105 in a graduating class of

540, and had a final grade point average of 3.1 on a 4.0 scale. The high

school counselor's estimate of Janice's ability to succeed at OSU was

average, yet she described her as an "outstanding minority student".

Other comments from high school teachers gave more of an academic profile

of Janice:

She is a hard worker, but is not strong in math...Janice is
a desirable student...is willing to work and is one of the
better students at the high school. Janice is polite, did
not participate much in class...was considerate of others...
and seemed to understand her coursework.







Janice was not very involved in extracurricular activities in high

school, although she belonged to some clubs and enjoyed spectator sports.

In January, Janice applied for admission to OSU. During that time she

also applied to three out-of-state, predominately black institutions.

She was accepted at two of the black institutions, and at OSU. One of

Janice's cousins had graduated from one of the black institutions which

accepted her and encouraged her to attend, yet Janice was torn between

leaving her family and the excitement of the adventures described by her

cousin.

She was accepted at OSU for the summer Special Admit Program because

her SAT scores from the winter testing were not competitive for admission

for the Fall class for which she applied. Janice reported that her

decision to attend OSU was based on its reputation as a good school. It

was close to home, and it cost less to attend than the out-of-state

schools to which she had been accepted. Janice knew she would need

financial aid and believed her decision to attend OSU was a good one.

She requested that the University delay her summer admission because she

had scheduled to take the SAT again in May in an effort to improve her

scores. Janice's first child was also arriving in June, and she needed

more time to make adjustments about her life prior to attending school.

Janice's second SAT scores were higher overall, but not high enough to

qualify her for regular admission. She was accepted under the Special

Admit Program for January, a year after she first applied for admission.

In the meantime, Janice gave birth to a baby boy, and received

permission from OSU to attend a local junior college for the Fall term.

She had made arrangements with her mother and grandmother to care for her

son, while she commuted to college. Her family was very proud of her





72

educational efforts, and also made similar arrangements to care for her

child when she entered the University, which was 300 miles from her home.



Yvette



Family history. Yvette was the third female and the third of four

children born to a black family in the South. Her two older sisters are

twins, who are married, and do not live at home, and her brother is a

junior in high school. Yvette's parents were divorced and Yvette had a

much closer relationship with her mother than with with her father, but

felt she was close to him, too. Yvette was born and raised in the urban

city of over 700,000 that she calls home. Yvette is a petite, light

brown-skinned young woman with long hair which she wore as a large Afro

or in a long braid around her head.

Yvette's mother, a high school graduate, works as a cook in the

child care department in a junior college in the city where she lives.

Her father, also a high school graduate, attended college, but never

graduated. He works for the Navy, but Yvette was uncertain of his

specific job title. Yvette was uncertain of her family's combined income

(father-mother), yet she did qualify to receive financial aid when she

entered college.

Education. Yvette was a very popular student in her high school

which had a population of over 700 students. Over 50-60% of the students

were black. Yvette was an active member of the school's Honor Society

all four years of high school, was a cheerleader for three years, senior

editor of the Yearbook, a member of the Student Council her senior year,

and a member of the Senior Council. Yvette graduated with a 3.27 average





73

and was ranked 49 in a graduating class of 350. The counselor recommend-

ing her for college estimated that she could do average work at OSU. She

further commented that Yvette demonstrated leadership qualities and was

active in extracurricular activities while maintaining her Honor Society

status.

Attending college was something that Yvette's parents wanted all

their children to do. Both of Yvette's sisters attended junior college

for a year, but got married before they graduated. Neither had resumed

studies at the time when Yvette was planning to enter college.

Yvette, unlike her younger brother, also had a strong interest in

attending school, and was interested in a pre-medicine curriculum but had

made no final decisions about a major. She was not interested in attend-

ing the junior college at home, and finally applied to three schools; a

small predominately black school in another southern state, the largest

private university in the state, and OSU, which was less than 100 miles

from her home. She was interested in the small black school because she

had a friend who attended and who liked the school. He told her about it

and encouraged her to apply. The private school had a good reputation

for its medical facilities, and OSU was where some of her high school

friends were attending. Yvette reported that she had considered applying

at AU, the traditionally black institution in the state, and explained

her failure to apply in this way.

I had a couple of friends who had gone down there and they
told me how much they liked it, but they didn't have what I
wanted. I'm not sure of what I want to go into, but I have
too many friends down there for one thing. And I know I
wouldn't really keep my mind on my work if I go there.

Yvette had applied to OSU in March for entrance in the winter

January term. She had taken the SAT exams in January and asked that her





74

scores be sent to OSU and the black school her friend had attended. By

June she was sure she wanted to attend OSU and in July she was accepted

to enter the winter term. Yvette reported that her friends at OSU,

including her boyfriend (who was also a student at OSU) influenced her

most in her decision to attend the university.

Yvette's family was pleased that she was accepted and very proud of

her. Most of her friends were also in support of her decision. However,

there were some who questioned her about getting along with whites at

OSU. Yvette responded:

Yes, it was a black friend. But I told her I have been
around whites, and I didn't think they were no better than
I was. So it didn't make no difference 'cause when I was
younger I was raised mostly with whites, you know. I went
to white schools, and most of my friends were white.

Yvette was excited about attending the University and had no doubts

about her ability to succeed. She rated her high school preparation for

college as good, and felt she could successfully compete with other

students at the University. From September to December she babysat, and

helped her mother at home to earn money prior to attending school in

January.



Claire



Family history. Claire, who is the youngest of three children, was

born in a small Southern town of 13,000, and had not seriously considered

attending college until her senior year in high school. Claire is a

slim, medium brown-skinned young woman with short black hair. A ready

smile and a friendly easy manner were always part of her carriage. Her





75

older brother and sister were attending the local junior college, but she

wanted to attend school away from home. Her parents were high school

graduates who never attended college, but they had several relatives who

had completed four year degrees. Claire's parents had always encouraged

their children to attend college and were pleased when Claire made the

decision to apply for entrance at OSU.

Claire's mother is a cafeteria manager, and her father is a laborer

in a paper company. She listed their combined income between $10,000 and

$20,U000 a year. She also worked part-time while attending high school,

and anticipated working in college, too.

Education. Claire graduated from a predominately white high school

that had 10-20% black population of the total 250 students. She was

active in extracurricular activities, including membership on the cheer-

leading squad, the volleyball team, the Student Council, and the Senior

Class Committee. She graduated in the top fifth of her class, ranking

14 in a class of 164.

Since attending college was a recent idea for Claire, she applied

late and could not be considered for Fall admission. She was accepted

for the winter term in January, under the Special Admission Program at

OSU because her SAT scores were too low for consideration as a regular

student. Claire was excited and her family was very pleased with her

decision to attend OSU. She indicated that the main reasons for her

accepting the offer to attend were the University's reputation, and she

had a cousin and some friends already at the school who encouraged her to

attend. She had also applied to AU, the traditional black institution in

the state, but had been discouraged by several people, including her

mother.







I though about AU, you know, but a lot of people were say-
ing, No, you don't want to go there, you know, I don't know
S. I guess, I really don't know. Like I told you once
before, My Mom didn't want me to go to AU. I guess maybe
she thought it was an all black college--things might have
gotten out-of-hand. Start partying, then doing no work, or
something like that.

Claire's friends at home were very supportive of her decision to attend

OSU and were happy for her. She was undecided about a major area of

study, but had considered physical therapy and elementary education.

Claire was interested in starting college right away, and wrote the

admissions officer who recruited her to request information about attend-

ing a junior college until she enrolled at the University in the fall.

She was given specifics about the courses she could take, and enrolled in

the Fall term for a speech and math course at the junior college her

sister and brother attended. She commuted from home and earned a C+

average for that term.



Gordon


Family history. Gordon was a 24 year old, Air Force veteran, who

was released early from the service to attend school at the time the

study was conducted. He is the middle child and only male offspring in a

family of three siblings; he grew up in New York with his mother and one

of his sisters. His step-sister lived with his father in another part of

the city. His parents were separated, so he saw his father infrequently,

and did not know him very well. Both his parents were high school

graduates, and his mother was trained as a practical nurse but has no

college education. She is now a receptionist at a rectory, and his

father was a cab driver. (Gordon's father died during his first term at

the University.)







Gordon had been interested in attending college since junior high

school. His older, step-sister finished college and his younger sister

has taken a few college courses, but was not interested in a degree

program. Gordon's mother encouraged him to attend college, and had

placed emphasis on his attending because she believed "the girls could

learn to type and take shorthand and get a job as a secretary". He had

definite plans to do so, but not right after high school:

Well, see after high school I didn't want to go to college
because I figured that going to college would be easy as far
as going to school and getting good grades, and stuff like
that. And I think today, that would have been true. But I
didn't think that I could fit on campus because I was a
loner. I didn't want to go to school in New York, I wanted
to go in California.

Before joining the service and moving to California, Gordon began working

after high school and completed a computer programming school which he

attended in the evening.

Education. Gordon graduated in the top 10% of his Catholic high

school class. While maintaining a respectable academic record, he parti-

cipated in many extracurricular activities, including basketball, bowl-

ing, cross-country, chess club, and the Afro-American Club. He was a

member of Student Council and was elected the President of his homeroom

class.

There were 10-15% black students in a total school population of

1,000. Gordon believes he was well-educated and prepared for a college

curriculum, and decided to apply to OSU during his last year in the Air

Force. He was encouraged to apply by friends and chose OSU because of

the climate, the reputation of the engineering school, its access to his

home state, and its proximity to NASA, where he eventually wanted to

work. He had been accepted to OSU under the regular admissions program





78

six months before he was released from the service, yet on his arrival in

August all the necessary paperwork had not been sent to the admissions

office from the Air Force. He had mixed feelings about attending right

away since the papers were missing!

There were quite a few papers missing so I said, "Forget it!
I'll go out and find a job real quick and just work, and sit
out this quarter...I'll wait. And I wasn't really sure I
wanted to start right into school, anyway. I wanted, I
guess I was worried and tense about going to college. I...
there was a fear of failing...of getting in and not doing
well.

After getting settled in his apartment off campus, Gordon found a

part-time job at a convenience store. He would have to work at least

part-time when school started to supplement his savings and the educa-

tional benefits from the GI bill.



Summary: Family History and Educational Background



The five freshmen in this study are not unlike the black students

described in Shenkman's study of 1970, or Boyd's study in 1974. The

majority (4 of 5) were natives of the state and they hailed from

supportive families in which both parents had at least a high school

education. The majority resided in urban areas (only one rural resident)

and all needed financial assistance in order to attend the University.

Unlike the students in Shenkmen's (1971) study, the freshmen in this

study had a variety of reasons for attending OSU, not just financial.

Two were influenced to attend by friends who were already students at

OSU; one entered particularly because of the reputation of the engineer-

ing school and its proximity to NASA; one had been convinced since child-

hood that OSU was the best school in the state and the one where he could






79
learn and get along with others; and one attended because it was close to

home and less expensive than the out-of-state schools to which she had

been accepted. Each of the students had relatives who had entered

college at some time, and three had relatives who had four year degrees.

All students had identified major areas of interest prior to attending,

although they were not certain enough to make a final decision to declare

a major their first year. Though these students and their families were

excited about their attendance at OSU, at least two freshmen had friends

who were puzzled and curious about why they wanted to attend a "white

school".

The five freshmen attending OSU determined that OSU was the best

option for them. Four of the five had been accepted by other institu-

tions and one only applied to OSU. These freshmen, who all graduated in

the top half of their classes, had attended integrated high schools and

were familiar with going to school with whites. Only two of the five

students had over 50% Black population in their high schools. Three of

the five had successful high school experiences in extracurricular acti-

vities and thus were used to participating in the social arena, as well

as the academic.

Four of the students made a contact at the university through the

minority admissions officer; two (Janice and Butch) had visited campus in

anticipation of their arrival; two (Janice and Claire) had corresponded

with the administration and received approval to attend junior college

prior to their entrance, and two (Yvette and Claire) already had friends

attending.

The issue of race which so preoccupied the new students in the 1970

study was not openly expressed as a concern. Each of the students in







this study initially felt confident in his/her ability to adjust to

college life at OSU.

Finally, the determination and excitement about attending college

was ultimately expressed by all of the students; and was reflected

strongly in two of the females, Janice and Claire. Each wrote for

permission to earn credits at a local junior college while waiting to

enter OSU in the winter quarter. Janice had decided school was more

important than being with her son his first few years of life. Both

males, on the other hand, openly expressed some reservations about

attending, despite their interest and commitment to attaining a college

education.

The next stage of events which add to the students' perceptions

about college life at OSU was orientation, registration and their intro-

duction to their residential areas. Perceptions were building and being

confirmed about OSU and its environment prior to their formal entry. In

the next section a review of orientation and the move to campus adds more

insight to their new student status.



The Special Admission Program


The purpose of the Special Admission Program (SAP) was not clear to

any of the students. The four students admitted under the program were

sent information about special services prior to their entrance, yet none

of them attended the orientation held for them. All of them missed the

opportunity to learn more information about adjusting, registration and

advising. The older student (who was admitted as a regular student)

inadvertently registered himself for the SAP courses by changing the






81

course numbers after he was advised (by a faculty member) to take courses

he thought were too advanced for him. Therefore, because none of them

attended the special admission orientation, the administrators of the SAP

did not shape their understanding of the program as much as the profes-

sors who taught the program courses in which they were enrolled and their

peers who were participating in the program.



Butch



Since Butch did not attend the special admit orientation, he was not

fully aware of the purpose of the program or all its services. For his

first term, Butch was registered for a combination of regular and special

admission courses. He vaguely remembered the admissions officer explain-

ing the nature of the program to him, but what he remembered most was

what his peers had shared with him about the SAP:

Like I talked to one of the students from the same high
school in my home town. She made a 4.0 average but she was
on special admissions first quarter. And she says she made
the dean's list, but it wasn't considered special, you know,
because she was on Special Admissions. So I decided that,
you know, I'm just gonna stay on in it this quarter. But
next quarter I'm not going to sign up for special courses.
I'm gonna try, you know, to get in with the regular classes.

Sam, Butch's black hallmate also talked to him about the SAP and

suggested that he choose only regular courses, as he (Sam) had done.

Until these encounters Butch reported that he had not thought about the

difference in special courses and regular courses. As he began to notice

the differences, he made these observations: (1) that the majority of

his classmates were black; and that seemed odd at a predominately white

university, (2) that most of the black people he knew at the University






82

were on the special program, (3) that the special admissions program was

for slow students, (4) that the program was designed to give more

individual attention to students, and (5) that the only way to be

recognized as completing regular courses was to get off the program.

Butch obviously had mixed feelings about the program. He realized

that the program was helpful to students like him, but he emphatically

stated that he did not consider himself a slow student. Adding to his

confusion were comments from some of his professors who told him that

there was no real difference between regular and special admissions

classes.

He said, so far there's no difference in it you know--being
in special admissions class and a regular class. So I say
that if I feel I can do the special admissions (work) and he
says there's no difference, then I mean I'm quite sure I
could do it in a regular class.

Towards the end of the first term, Butch began to think a little

differently about the special admissions program. He reported that the

pace was so fast in the classes, that few students had time to take

advantage of the special grading process. (This process involved the

student re-taking an exam a second or third time on the same material if

the first score was unsatisfactory. A different exam, covering the same

content was administered.) Much of the problem with re-takes, he

explained, was that the student still had to maintain reading assignments

and other homework on new class material, while trying to study for a

re-take.

The other incident that influenced Butch's thinking about the SAP

involved one of his white hallmates. The hallmate asked Butch for

assistance with his homework after learning that Butch was in the same

class at a different time. On assisting his friend, Butch learned that





83

not only was his class six chapters ahead of his hallmate's, but that the

special admissions exams were harder than those given in his hallmate's

class. Nevertheless, Butch was convinced that the only way to make it at

OSU was "off the program". He believed he could do well off the program,

as he had done in the program courses.

It's just a feeling I've had ever since I've been in school.
No matter what the class is, I've always been able to make
the grade...So I feel that if I push myself out there (into
regular classes) and just get into things, maybe I can still
make the same grades. Seems that it would be better if I
were on my own. . I'll feel much better.

Butch remained in the special admissions program for the two terms

the study was conducted.



Janice


Janice reported that she did not know anything about the SAP. She

had registered for regular courses since she entered, and did not utilize

any services of the SAP. She did not recall receiving any material about

the program in the mail, either.



Claire


Claire learned about the SAP at the orientation for minority

students, and from her peers. When she registered her first term at

OSU, four of her courses were in the SAP and one was a regular course.

She preferred to take the combination, i.e., some regular and some on the

SAP, and followed this pattern her second term as well. However,

Claire's understanding was not very clear!







Well, my understanding is that these (students) who are not
really ready to take, you know, well, how should I say it?
. (not ready) to take those classes, I mean, you know,
that they think they can't handle.

When asked if the SAP courses and services helped students, Claire was

able to respond more definitely.

Yes, a lot of the professors will tell you if you are taking
the courses on the Program, like Mr. Thomas told us. He
said he's not teaching it any different than he would if it
was off the Program, you know. But a lot of people think
he's to help the people who are maybe slow learners or some-
thing like that.

Claire admitted that the Program was a help to her in her adjustment to

OSU and initially felt that courses were no easier, nor more difficult

than her regular courses. From her peers she learned that a student can

take SAP courses the freshmen and sophomore years, and also that the

professors didn't teach courses any differently than in regular courses.

However, after her first term, she was not sure there was no

difference in the SAP courses and regular ones.

I don't know, I really don't know. 'Cause my social science
teacher, he said he doesn't teach any different on the SAP
than he would off. In one class, I think it was a little
harder than the other classes, and that was off the SAP
this term. I don't think it's really any harder. I like the
idea of being in a smaller class like that. But I don't
think there's really too much difference. Cause you cover
more material, you gotta take exams every week, and you
have to keep up or you're just lost. I heard a couple of
other students say that they thought some of the courses on
the SAP were harder.
Claire decided that she would take some courses on the SAP through the

summer term (her 3rd term) and begin taking all regular courses in the

fall of the next year.







Yvette



Yvette was aware that she had been admitted under the SAP. Three of

the five courses she enrolled in her first term were Special Admission

courses. She explained her understanding of the SAP this way:

Well, to me it's just a program where they limit the amount
of students in the classroom so you can get a more one-on-
one relationship with the teacher.

Yvette reported that she tried to register for a combination of the SAP

courses and regular courses her freshman year. She thought that the SAP

courses were no easier, nor more difficult than regular courses. She

indicated that she believed the SAP courses helped her become adjusted to

the University. Although she did not attend the special admission

orientation, she knew of the services and thought overall that the

program was very beneficial to students.



Gordon



In his efforts to change the advanced courses selected for him by

his advisor, Gordon changed his 200 level courses to 100 level and,

unknowingly registered for two courses (math and english) under the SAP.

He did not know about the SAP until he went to class. It was there that

he learned about the extra assistance he could receive with his writing

and his math.

Gordon believed the program to be beneficial to him, and utilized

the services on a regular basis.







Summary



The students' understanding of the purpose of the Special Admissions

Program varies from one to another. One of the four admitted under the

Program knew nothing about it and did not participate in it in any way.

Two of the other three admitted under the SAP had mixed and sometimes

negative attitudes about it. Nonetheless, they believed it was helpful,

but somehow felt there was a stigma attached to it by their peers and

others at the University. Only one student had a decidedly positive

attitude about Special Admissions, enjoyed the small classes and seemed

to understand more about the program than the others. The older student

was inadvertently enrolled in two Special Admission courses, and accepted

them without attaching a stigma to them. He was grateful to have a

chance to review his math and writing skills since he had not been in a

school setting for some time.



Orientation, Advising, and Registration


At Orange State University (OSU) the orientation to the university

is planned by the University College in conjunction with the Student

Affairs Division. The University College personnel are primarily respon-

sible for the students introduction to the academic milieu; faculty

advising registration, peer advising, and other activities related to

attending classes. The student affairs personnel are primarily respon-

sible for introducing students to the university as a community which

offers resources for survival. These personnel offer students informa-

tion about campus activities and campus resources, such as the counseling





87
center and the study skills clinic which aid in their adjustment outside

the classroom.

The college and the division work cooperatively and their responsi-

bilities often overlap in helping the new student become acquainted with

the university. All university students are invited to the major campus-

wide orientation, and are expected to register for their classes as a

part of the orientation process. The winter orientation is a signifi-

cantly smaller program, since the majority of the students enter in the

fall.

A second orientation is offered by the Special Admissions Program to

introduce the student admitted under the auspices of that program to the

services it provides. Students are contacted by letter by the counselor

in the Program, and given instruction about the services, particularly

the registration process, which is facilitated for them in their first

year.

In addition to the general campus wide orientation and the Special

Admission orientation, the Minority Affairs Office in the Student Affairs

Division conducts a specific orientation and reception for all minority

students regardless of how they were admitted. At this orientation, new

students meet other minority students, including minority student

leaders, minority faculty, administrators, and staff who are employed by

the University. They are given information about University and commu-

nity resources to enhance their matriculation, as well as tips on how to

survive as a minority on campus. Usually, a directory of minority staff,

minority organization, and community businesses and churches are made

available at that time.







This orientation is held at the Afro-American Cultural Center, a

programming unit of the Student Affairs Division. The Center, which has

a library, an exhibition area, meeting rooms, and kitchen, is charged

with providing educational, cultural and social programs to help minority

students maintain their cultural identities. In addition, it has a goal

to teach and share with the campus community at large the contribution of

ethnic people to the society in general. This orientation was usually

held for two hours. Presumably by attending the orientation the new

minority students learn that there are other minority people on campus,

who may act as resources to help them as they begin their journey at the

University.

A new minority student then, could choose to attend up to three

orientation programs after being admitted to OSU. A student admitted

under the regular admissions program might choose to attend the general

orientation and the one sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office,

whereas, a specially admitted student could choose all three programs.

Four of the students in this study had the option to choose three

programs, and the fifth had options for two. The following sections

describe their participation in orientation to the University, and the

introduction to their living areas.



Butch


Arrival on campus. In January, 1978, Butch traveled alone by bus to

OSU. He had asked his father not to accompany him because he thought he

could become better adjusted if he went alone. His decision to attend

alone was somewhat influenced by his holiday visit to his uncle's home.







His cousin (his uncle's son), also a recent high school graduate, had

dropped out of college after his first semester as a freshman in a school

near his home in Washington. Butch reported his reaction to his cousin's

experience.

I listened at how his Dad did him. I said I don't want Dad
to do that for ME, 'cause you know, that makes you seem like
a little baby'. . His Dad took him up there and all; made
sure he got situated. I mean it seems like you adjust
quickly if you're on your own, than if somebody else is
doing everything for you.

Butch had originally requested a double room in one specific housing

area. On his arrival, he learned that he had been reassigned to a triple

room in another area. He decided to accept this reassignment without

challenge mainly because he would be able to save some money by doing so.

He was the first of the roommates to arrive in the room. Soon after

arriving he was joined by a white male student, and his mother. They

introduced themselves, got acquainted, and continued to unpack. Later

that day, they were joined by the third roommate, a native Puerto Rican.

Butch reported that the three of them got along quite well with each

other from their first meeting. The only problem seemed to be the

tension created by the other roommates eating Butch's food without

telling him, or asking him beforehand. Butch was not sure how to handle

this problem, especially since he was not sure which roommate was

actually eating his food.

Since Butch had visited the campus prior to his admission, he was

familiar with many buildings, and did not feel as lost as some other

freshmen. Nevertheless, he did need some help, and found his hallmates

very friendly and helpful. He and his Puerto Rican roommate met Sam, a

black junior, the only other black student on the hall, who befriended







them and offered to help them around campus. Butch was most impressed

and excited, though, about Joe, a white, 18 year old junior, who became a

good friend of his.

Well, if it wasn't for Joe, I would still mostly be lost, as
far as this area in general is concerned. He's just a good
friend. And like we go out all the time, about 2 weeks ago
we went horseback riding.

Orientation. Butch attended the campus-wide orientation for all new

students. He went by himself and reported that he found the orientation

very helpful, especially the sessions on how to register for classes. He

did not attend the SAP orientation or the one sponsored by the Minority

Affairs Office at the Afro-American Cultural Center.

Registration. Butch initiated the registration process by attempt-

ing to see an advisor. However, after being referred to several differ-

ent offices he soon became rather frustrated:

After I got here and they started sending me around. . I
said I'm not gonna go through all this. . I'm just gonna
deal with Mr. C (the admissions officer).

Butch did visit Mr. C, the admissions officer, who referred him to a

Special Admissions Advisor. The advisor helped him select his courses,

and referred him to the curriculum coordinator to find out which classes

had already been filled and closed. Butch did this, acquired appropriate

signatures for his registration card, and finally registered for four

courses totaling 13 credit hours. The only course he wanted and was

unable to get was a math course. All the math courses had been closed by

the time he registered. He was advised to wait to try and get the course

for the next school term.

The entire registration process took about two hours. Butch was

amazed that he finished in so short a time. It had taken his roommates





91

4 to 5 hours to finish their registrations. It was not until late in the

term that he learned that specially admitted students had certain classes

reserved for them, and that this made their registration easier and

quicker than regular registration.

Butch's course load at OSU his first term was typical for

entering freshmen: an english composition course, a separate writing

laboratory, a social science course, a physical science course, and a

weight lifting and conditioning course. Butch admitted that he did not

like English, but resigned himself to taking it. He was confident,

though, in his ability to perform well in his classes, and stated that

the physical science course was the only one in which he might not be

able to make an "A" or "B".

For the second term, Butch went through the preregistration process

which was easier and quicker for all students.



Janice



Arrival on campus. Janice and both of her parents visited the

University campus in December, a month before she was to attend. They

toured the campus (on their own), checked on her housing arrangements,

and attempted to see the admissions officer who had recruited Janice.

She reported that she and her family were well received, and all of the

people they encountered were very friendly. Their decision for her to

attend was reinforced by their visit.

In January, Janice was again accompanied by both parents to campus.

She received her room assignment, and learned that she had been assigned

two roommates instead of one. Both of her roommates were black





92

sophomores who were from the same home town, and who had known each other

prior to attending the University. Janice also found that three of her

old high school friends lived in the same dormitory area she lived in.

According to Janice, one of her roommates was responsible for her getting

adjusted to the campus:

'Cause when I got here, she didn't have any classes til like
11 o'clock. So she took me around. She was just great,
cause I didn't know anything. I didn't even know where the
administration building was. She took me around, and
everything. . showed me everything about the dorms, took
me to the Student Union, and the gymnasium...

This roommate also introduced Janice to the other hallmates, and helped

her register for classes.

Orientation. Janice was scheduled to attend the campus-wide orient-

ation for new students the same day she arrived on campus. She was also

scheduled to register for classes that day. She reported that she chose

not to attend the orientation, since she had already been to junior

college and was familiar with the kinds of things that occurred at

orientation. She also relied on her junior college experience regarding

her registration appointment. She was scheduled to register at 2:30

p.m., but advised her parents that she would only "have to stand in line

for a couple of hours, like at the junior college". So they did not

arrive until 4:30 p.m., and found that she had missed her opportunity to

register. She had to register late, the next day, and was very

frustrated by the process which took most of her second day on campus.

Janice did not attend the SAP orientation and did not know of the

services provided for her. She did attend an orientation held by the

Minority Affairs Office, where she met black faculty members, and was

introduced to the history of minority students at the University. She





93

reported that what she remembered most was the discussion of the ratio of

black to white students on campus, and the description of the problems

black students might encounter as minority students on a predominately

white campus.

Registration. Since Janice had to register late, and had not

attended the SAP orientation, she was not aware of her option to take

courses offered through the SAP. She registered for all regular classes,

using the catalogue and her roommate as guides. She did not see a

faculty advisor during this first registration.

Her roommate helped with the late registration which is a process of

adding a course, one by one, to make a schedule, instead of registering

for 4 or 5 at one time. She helped her find open classes and even stood

in lines with her to get signed up for them. Janice described her

registration day with her roommate asher "worst day at college":

Okay. Well, she said you better get up pretty early to beat
the lines. I said okay. So we got up about eight...I guess
she wasn't frustrated cause she had already been through it
and she was taking me around. So she couldn't say Oh, you
won't get those classes! So we worked it out pretty well.
They had two lines going . I was standing in one, and
she was standing in another, and whoever got there first
added the class.

She registered for a typical freshman courseload including an

english course, a social science course, a behavioral studies course, and

a basic concepts course in physical education totaling 13 credit hours.

She had been careful not to repeat courses she had taken at the junior

college until she could have her transcript evaluated. When she received

permission to take courses at a junior college, she was also given a

choice of courses that would count toward the required curriculum in her

first two years of school. As long as she earned at least a grade of C,




Full Text
61
The behavior most typical of the black students in response to the
new environment and personnel was withdrawal. Other modes of behavior
were cited, including one of affirmation in which the student embraced
his own culture while seeking to fit into the mainstream. Coping styles,
perception, and newly developed perspectives all influenced the students'
behavior and hence their ability to matriculate successfully.
Theories which explain the cultural world view, reference grouping,
and interaction of people assisted in the development of new insights
about how the black freshmen adjusted to the campus. Experiences from
their home environments mingled with their new college experiences
certainly made application of theory to finding important in this study.
Chapter III describes the researcher's findings.


APPENDIX C
FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE
The following questionnaire was designed to collect information
about the academic and social adjustment of black freshmen to the
university. The information will be used to complete a study about black
students' perceptions of their adaptation to the campus. The findings
will be sent to the university administration and will be available for
your information in the Minority Affairs Office in Student Services.
Please fill out the questionnaire completely, answering all
questions. Do not put your name or social security number on any part of
the questionnaire. All information should be given anonymously. Please
do not hesitate to ask about anything which is unclear to you about the
questionnaire; just raise your hand and I will assist you.
Thank you very much for helping, maybe some other new freshman will
benefit from the information you share by completing the questionnaire.
JOYCE E. TAYLOR
233


125
During the first term, Claire spent several weekends at home visit
ing with friends and family. She discontinued this the second term,
devoting more time to her studies. She was perplexed by the indifferent
attitude of some of her black peers and the unexpected friendliness of
her white peers.
Yvette
Yvette observed that overall she socialized more with blacks than
with whites. Many of her black peers at OSU were friends she knew from
home, including Aaron, her steady boyfriend. She belonged to a couple of
friendship groups formed in her classes and through talking with people
on the set, an area on campus where many black students gathered daily to
talk about events of the day. One such group was formed in her English
lab class her first term. There were three others who were in the
group--two males and one female. They met quite often because of their
classes:
And most of . four of us are in three different classes
together. So the four of us usually communicate with each
other in English class, in the social science class, and the
lab class. We talk and kid around.
Yvette and Claire, the other female in the group, became good
friends. They studied together sometimes, and attended social activities
together in the dormitory or on campus. They also spent a lot of time
socializing together between the classes they had together.
Yvette did not belong to any organized groups on campus but was
interested in joining the Black Student Union and a black sorority. She
reported that she found more than enough interesting things to do, but


41
the campus.] In this sample, the mode of separation seems
to be the second most likely choice for the non-middle-class
student who did not exhibit the withdrawal syndrome.
3. Mode of assimilation. The mode of assimilation is charac
terized by social anxiety, desire for acceptance and
approval, conformist behavior, compensatory overachievement,
and heightened sensitivity concerning ethnic references and
cues. Those students who avoided all contacts with other
blacks and who made deliberate efforts to conceal their
racial identity were in this category.
4. Mode of affirmation. The mode of affirmation is character
ized by self-acceptance, positive ethnic identity, hyper
activity, high achievement motivation, and autonomous self-
actualization behavior. Nearly one-fourth (ten cases) of
the students developed this pattern of response to a con
flict which, for most of them, was expressed in terms of
their inability to live up to their own ideal expectations
due to conflicting sets of pressures from blacks and whites.
These students attempted to merge those elements of black
and white cultural patterns that were syntonic with their
personalities and goals. In general, they had positive
feelings about their own ethnic identity, yet they were open
to new experiences, new values, and new skills that would
contribute to their successful adaptation to the college
environment.


95
remaining roommate was also a freshman who had entered OSU in the fall.
Claire's summary of their relationship follows:
Well, you know, I was really hoping all the time that I
would get somebody that I could really get along with. And,
you know, everything turned out fine. We get along great.
Claire was surprised and impressed at the friendliness of the students
on the hall. They were very helpful as she was becoming adjusted to the
University:
Well, I just came, you know. I mean, it was just unbeliev
able how these people were. We were walking down the hall,
and you know, a lot of girls would, you know, rarely see
you, and they would tell me. . "Anything I can do to
help you, you just come by".
And this one girl was walking up and down the hall. She
didn't know where to go. My cousin stepped out into the
hall (and we were all sitting in here) and brought the girl
in. Cause the girl was new, too. She was a first quarter
student. And, well, her name's Joan. She lives right down
the hall. And we started talking, and then, you know, we
just decided to go around together. So we can learn every
thing, you know. And we became real close friends, you
know. And the other girls . .we walk up and down the
halls, you know, trying to be friendly, making friends.
I'm close with a lot of the girls on the floor now.
Claire reported that she did not expect people to be so friendly
because of the size of the institution. Between her cousin and new
friends, Claire found it fun and interesting her first days at OSU.
Orientation. Claire attended the campus-wide orientation for new
students and the orientation sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office for
new black students. She did not attend SAP orientation. The most impor
tant things she learned from the campus-wide orientation were instruc
tions for registration and how to use of the campus map. Acquisition of
the map, which she used extensively during her first few weeks at OSU,
was particularly important to her.


APPENDIX D
PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS IN PILOT STUDY
Social Peer Relations
Blacks won't get together and help each other. "Every man for
himself."
Blacks don't trust each other...due to the fact that there are so
few here.
When they (blacks) come here, they hang around with only their white
friends.
It's a concept: Something black people do in general, you know we
get into the black life and we limit ourselves to the black life in
general, instead of moving out...there is a whole 'nother world outside
of black students at the university. We have got to deal with this
entire university of a full spectrum, and in that sense the fraternity
gave me the enthusiasm.
We had fraternities and sororities fighting...not fighting
physically, but fighting by putting each other down.
The rivalry...yeah it causes dissension.
When I first came...I came from a predominately black school and I
wasn't used to being around white people; it was good to be taken along,
you know, to feel close to something, or someone, in an organization
whether it's a fraternity or some other social club the fraternity did
help.
252


REFERENCE NOTES
1. Goodrich, A. "A call for new strategies on the use of data in minor
ity enrollment, distribution, retention and graduation rates of
minority students in predominately white colleges". Paper presented
at the First National Think Tank on Blanks in Predominately White
Colleges and Universities, University of Maryland, College Park,
September, 1976.
2. Hazeur, F.B. Symposium on "Dealing with types of test biases when
black students are concerned"The transition from high school to
college: How do we bridge the gap? Paper presented at the American
Personnel and Guidance Association Meeting, February, 1973, San Diego
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. Ed 080918).
3. Taylor, J.E. Black students' perceptions of their academic problems
at the University of Florida. Unpublished study completed in 1976.
Copies available at Office for Student Services, 129 Tigert Hall,
University of Florida, 32611.
263


158
The third major difference was in the areas of study chosen by black
students. In the national study black students usually chose majors in
the social sciences and education, often referred to as traditional areas
of study. The 1978 freshmen overall chose non-traditional majors. Only
one of the five was undecided about a major when she entered OSU; the
others had chosen majors in accounting, physical therapy, zoology and
engineering. Their interests had not changed at the end of the study
period, even though some of them began to wonder about how realistic
their choices were after reviewing their grades.
Comparison of 1970 Students and the 1978 Freshmen
Next, the researcher believed it was important to compare the 1971
black students studied at OSU with the freshmen in this study of 1978.
Table 2 reflects the major similarities and differences between the
groups. Both groups were primarily from the state; lived in black neigh
borhoods, agreed that they did not have good study habits in high school,
and believed that a lack of performance in college had more to do with
poor study habits, and less to do with their ability or potential to
succeed. A very important common characteristic shared by the 1970
students and the 1978 freshmen was the fact that most of their high
school peers were attending predominately black institutions. (Later in
this chapter, the discussion about peer influence will reflect the sig
nificance of this characteristic.)
Contrary to the 1970 blacks attending OSU, the 1978 freshmen came
from integrated high schools, did not identify financial aid as the major
factor in considering attendance at OSU, and did not believe themselves


Ill
contact. To insure participation in each, the campus-wide
orientation should offer materials and information which
students need in order to effectively participate in the special
admissions orientation. The purpose and history of special
admissions programs should be made available at the orientation,
so students will have clear information about their choices for
selecting courses. Students accepted through regular admission
should be given the option to attend a minority orientation on
campus.
3. Be made aware on a regular basis of the university's efforts to
more fully embrace the Afro-American culture which has historic
ally been denied access to campus, and given current information
on the status of minorities at the university. This means that
the university must inform students of minority faculty,
curriculum, events and activities which currently reflect their
heritage. This also means that students must be aware of any
committees, such as affirmative action committee, facilities,
such as cultural institutes and other programs or events within
the black and white communities which were established to insure
a cultural identity for them, and a truer reflection of the
pluralistic society for the community at large.
This kind of information, which should be sanctioned by the univer
sity president, fosters confidence in the minority students about the
university's commitment to maintain minority enrollment and interests and
encourages greater commitment from them to the university, as well.


9
research results" (p. 145). Two early studies on black students at white
universities used a combination of the participant observation method and
a questionnaire in documenting the perceptions of students about their
college experiences. These studies added to the general body of informa
tion about black students' adaptation on the predominately white campus.
Willie and McCord (1972) in Black Students at White Colleges, and George
Napper (1973) in Blacker Than Thou: The Struggle for Campus Unity, pro
vide important data about black students, yet little is known about the
everyday activities of black college students attending predominately
white campuses.
Like some other studies (Willie and McCord, 1972; Peterson,
Blackburn, Gamson, Circe, Davenport and Mingle, 1978), this study was
conducted on a single campus. However, it is not a comparative study of
perceptions between blacks and whites, does not use a large staff to
conduct the study and interpret the data, and is not a study that simply
utilizes statistics from surveys or questionnaires to convey perceptions
of black students as a homogeneous group. Rather, this study is one of a
few conducted on a southern campus which seeks to examine (1) the
perspectives and adaptive behavior of one particular group of black
students--freshmen--(not a mixed classification of students) and (2) to
identify phenomena that influence their perceptions and adaptations
through a variety of research tools.*
*The research was conducted by a former administrator at the institution
where the study took place. Her familiarity with the institution, its
traditions, policies, and practices enhanced her ability to develop
insights and hypotheses which an outside observer might have had
difficulty in grasping during the two terms the study was completed.


186
Butch
For Butch, the first term was the one in which he participated in
many activities. He interacted positively with classmates, hallmates,
roommates and friends from home. He went home several weekends to music
concerts and house parties, watched TV and spent time in group discus
sions with guys on the hall. He went to restaurants with his new hall-
mate, Joe, who also introduced him to horseback riding and just cruising
in his car. He engaged in activities approved by his peers at school and
at home. He enjoyed doing things they enjoyed. Butch attended classes,
ate dinner in the cafeteria and studied alone. He reported that the
social events he attended were primarily dormitory socials or university
wide activities such as basketball games and musical concerts. Butch did
not belong to any student organizations, was not politically involved in
the campus community and avoided interaction with his professors the
first term. Butch also did not socialize as much with his black peers on
campus as much as with his white campus peers.
During the second term, Butch's activities with his hallmates
decreased as did his interaction with his other peers in the dormitory.
A friend from home spent the weekend with him and they participated in
campus activities at the student union. This was also the term that
Butch watched the famous Ali-Frazier boxing match with his hallmates and
overheard one person refer to one of the boxers as a nigger. After that
incident, Butch became more disillusioned about relationships with whites
and began to think about transfering to a predominately black school.


5
must be borne by both parties. Gibbs (1977) echoed these sentiments in
an article on the problems of black students at integrated colleges, and
offered this prediction:
There will continue to be ethnic tensions in the foreseeable
future, so that blacks will continue to be perceived as a
minority and treated in a somewhat different manner. How
ever, the challenge for the students and the universities is
learning to adapt to each other for the mutual growth and
vitality of both constituencies, (p. 56)
Statement of the Problem
The research reported here examines the perceptions of a small group
of black freshmen about their academic and social adjustment to a pre
dominately white southern university. The purpose was to discover the
behavioral patterns used by students in adjusting to the university
environment and the perspectives they developed in solving problems
during their first two terms. This study is an exploratory one which
sought answers to the following questions:
1. What phenomena influenced black students' perceptions of their
academic and social adaptation to a predominately white
university?
a. In what activities do students participate as they adapt to
the university?
b. What groups do students interact with in adjusting to the
university?
c. What are the students' feelings about the ways in which they
adjust to the university?
d. What institutional policies and/or traditions do students
perceive as affecting their adjustment to the university?


234
FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE
Please circle the number of the answer which is appropriate for you,
and fill in the blanks as necessary.
SECTION A. DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
1. SEX 2. AGE
3. MARITAL STATUS 4. NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS
l=female
1=16-19
l=single
2=male
2=20-23
2=married
3=23 or older
3=divorced
4=separated
5=other
Do Not Count Yourself
5.SIZE OF YOUR HOME TOWN OR CITY
l=less than 2500
2=2500 to 24,999
3=25,000 to 99,999
4=100,000 to 499,000
5=500,000 or larger
6.MOTHER'S EDUCATION
l=less than high school
2=high school grad, no college
3=trade or business school
4=some college
5=college grad or more
6=don't know
7.FATHER'S EDUCATION 8. MOTHER'S OCCUPATION
l=less than high school
2=high school grad, no college
3=trade or business school
4=some college 9. FATHER'S OCCUPATION
5=college grad or more
6=don't know
10. PARENTS COMBINED INCOME
l=below $10,000
2=10,000 to 19,999
3=20,000 to 29,999
4=30,000 or over
11. Please give the number of sisters or
brothers who have attended college.
12. Please give the number of sisters or
brothers who have graduated college.


193
settings. Everyone except Yvette and Gordon had discussed racial issues
with both black and white peers during the time the study was conducted.
Yvette had not spoken to anyone about these issues and Gordon had held
some discussions with a faculty member. The researcher's review of data
collected on Yvette indicated that she had discussed cultural differences
between blacks and whites with hallmates, yet she did not consider these
racial. Claire, on the other hand, who reported feeling some racial
tension involved herself in similar social discussions. The students
apparently believed these were more cultural examples than discussion
about race.
Race was a factor in adjustment of all the students and appeared to
depend on their past perceptions about racial issues, as much as their
new experiences. All of the students had either positive or neutral
experiences regarding racial issues their first term in school. During
the second term though, for two of them, the racial issue did affect
their social adjustment, so much so that they seriously considered
transferring to join their black high school peers at the state's
predominately black university. For these students social adjustment was
at least as their important as academic adjustment to the university.
It is important to note that whatever individual perceptions
students had about race as a factor in adjustment, the common facts about
race and the university's historical position about accepting blacks were
known to each of them: Blacks were barred from admission because of
race. How each interpreted this also affected their adjustment on
perhaps a more unconscious than conscious level. Examples of how race
affected adjustment can be seen in these observations of the students:


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
On September, 1946, Joyce Taylor Gibson was born in Yazoo City,
Mississippi. She received her B.S. from Howard University in 1967, and
her M.A. from George Washington University in 1969. She has worked in
higher education since 1969 and is currently the Dean of Students at
Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
269


21
(Students may be considered "special admits" at any given
school because they possess one or any combination of these
characteristics). (Boyd, 1974, p. 4)
As a rule, black students are grouped, labeled, and are rarely perceived
as different from each other at the PWI's. In addition, few campus
administrators and faculty take time to view the many similarities
between black and other students. Boyd stated this about these
misperceptions:
In order to understand black students as a nonmonolithic
group and to be able to respond to their needs more effec
tively, it is necessary to explore in some detail the areas
in which great similarities exist as well as those whose
great diversity is the rule. This is particularly important
because some of the areas where no majority exists...are
ones which have been used as "proof" of uniformity among
black students. The areas in which the largest majorities
exist, on the other hand, have received little attention
because they tend to apply equally to all students regard
less of race. (p. 5)
Boyd found very few similarities of a striking nature among black
students. At least 80 percent of the students in his study were
unmarried and graduates of public high schools, maintained "C" averages
and participated in classes at least as much as other students, and were
usually able to obtain adequate help with their problems by using some
combination of the resources available to them (p. 5). More importantly,
at least two-thirds of the students shared some obvious, and some less
well-known characteristics which heavily influenced their careers in
higher education.
Characteristics pertinent to this research with citations on each
topic of recent research by others follow:
Black students were dependent on financial aid as their primary
source of money for funding their college educations. Sixty-eight


217
CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study was initiated to identify phenomena which influenced the
academic and social adjustment of black freshmen to a predominately white
university in the south. The exploratory nature of the study was
designed to foster development of new themes, ideas or hypotheses which
might guide in further research or programs intended to assist the
students in matriculating, and the university in helping them do so. An
analysis of the perceptions, adaptive behaviors and perspectives which
students developed to solve problems was made so as to better understand
how these freshmen adjusted to the university.
The four major questions posed at the beginning of the study were
used as a guide in discussing conclusions. Recommendations follow the
conclusions.
1. What Phenomena Influenced the Students1 Perception of Their Academic
and Social Adjustment to the University?
Four variables were identified as major influences on student
adjustment: family support, university reception, peer relations, and
individual characteristics and experiences. Peer relations were by far
more influential than the other phenomena. Dependence on their peers'
experience and acceptance of their behavior were guiding forces for the
new freshmen. The academic and social arenas were dominated by norms set


238
4. Did you get help from an academic advisor for your registration
your second term at OSU?
l=yes
2=no
5. Do you have a regular academic advisor?
l=yes
2=no
6. The academic advisors I have gone to for help have:
l=shown interest in me, were knowledgeable & helpful with my schedule
2=shown interest in me, but were not knowledgeable about scheduling
3=shown no interest in me, were not knowledgeable nor helpful
4=no experience with academic advisors
7.As a result of taking the advice of an academic advisor,
I have taken: (Circle all that apply)
l=the right courses I need
2=courses I don't need
3=courses that were too advanced for me
4=courses that were too easy, and not challenging
8.Each quarter I have carried an average of:
1=6-9 quarter hours
2=10-13 quarter hours
3=14-17 quarter hours
4=18-20 quarter hours
5=20 or more quarter hours
9.The courses I have taken have been:
l=special admission courses only
2=regular courses only
3=special admission and regular courses
10. I believe that Special Admissions courses are:
l=easier than the regular courses
2=more difficult than the regular courses
3=no easier, nor more difficult than the regular courses
11. I believe that Special Admissions courses have:
l=helped me in my academic adjustment to the university
2=inhibited my academic adjustment to the university


170
interested in getting to know her white peers better, and perhaps just
projected her feelings when completing the questionnaire.
Gordon reported that his best friends were black, yet he indicated
that he had no social life and did not belong to any campus group. The
best friends he referred to were those he made prior to attending OSU.
He communicated with them, male and female, by telephone which was his
major social outlet. One of Gordon's friends, a female, was also in
college and a person he shared experiences with about adjusting to OSU.
Another close friend with whom he communicated by telephone was a white
female whom he had met and befriended while he was in the service. He
credited her with providing reinforcement and motivation to continue in
school despite his concerns about his readiness after being out of school
for so long. Gordon also corresponded regularly with two male friends
who were black and lived out-of-state.
Butch, the other male student, also reported that his best friends
were black and that they were friendships established before attending
OSU. However, Butch reported socializing with blacks more than others,
and that he did not belong to any groups on campus. The interview data
corroborated his answers in this questionnaire, and confirmed that his
socializing was done primarily with blacks at home, especially after his
first term in school. During his first term, he had developed friend
ships with two juniors who lived on his floor one black and one white.
They spent a lot of time together the first term, but the friendships
dissolved the second term.
One of the researcher's measures of the freshmen's friendships with
their black and white peers was the extent to which they spent time
together and participated in activities together. Excluding Gordon,


2
rates and limited academic offerings--and only about a third
is in four-year programs. In other words, while more black
students are entering colleges these days, the majority
leave before they graduate. (p. 55)
What are the variables that influence black student adjustment at the
predominately white schools where attrition appears to be high and
matriculation very low?
Wright (1981) reported several reasons for high matriculation of
black students at traditional black institutions, including elements
which may be missing at the majority of the traditional white institu
tions. Two are important to this study: (1) most of the TBI's have
strong supportive programs for students who are in need of academic
assistance, especially for those with deficiencies in reading, mathe
matics, and English, and (2) the TBI's help students develop their self-
images, which is viewed as critical to achieving goals. In his national
longitudinal study of freshmen, from 1968-1972, Astin (1975) found that
blacks at predominately white institutions had a substantially higher
attrition rate than any other group of students in the study. He
observed:
The higher attrition rate appears to be attributable in part
to the effect of attending a white college, rather than to
differences in initial drop-out proneness between blacks in
white colleges, (p. 26)
Students' adaptations to college life depend on many things that
they bring with them to college, including family history, grades from
high school, and study habits (Astin, 1975). On the other hand, what
they encounter in the college environment influences their adjustment,
i.e., the people they meet, classroom experiences, as well as their
involvement in extra-curricular activities. Adaptation involves
interactions and relationships between individuals and groups in an


TABLE 4-5Continued
Off-Campus Activities
Yvette
Cl aire
Janice
Butch
Weekend visits home
X
X
X
X
Home visits for concerts
X
X
X
Church attendance
X
X
Off-campus events in town
(non-campus related, dinner,
shopping, visiting, parties)
X
X ?
X
X
Gordon
X
X
Work off campus
Big Brother activities
X


204
good friend, not a girlfriend, and that he was disturbed at how women in
the service were treated like blacks.are in the general society.
Gordon's uncertainty about his ability to perform after five years
absence from high school, his age, his style of being a loner and his
living off campus, separated him from the other freshmen in the study, as
well as from his peers at OSU. He was not comfortable with his social
skills and not sure whether his definition of situations he encountered
were accurate. He did not risk friendships, and did not allow himself to
go beyond roles defined for his behavior. That is, he went to class,
refrained from interacting in class unless requested to do so; on his job
he spoke to customers and was cheerful and amiable because the job
required it. He made no friends and complained that he didn't have the
time to do so, yet admitted how lonely he was. The "me" in him played it
safe, and only opened up with old friends on the telephone. The "I" in
him was dominant most of the two terms.
Gordon had no difficulty interacting with whites on the job, in his
apartment complex or in classes. Though he believed most of his younger
classmates to be immature, he could effectively communicate with them
when he wanted to. He was operating in Gibbs' (1974) mode of affirmation
to a limited degree, yet was not seeking new experiences, especially if
they interfered with his classes and his job. Early in the year he
believed he had no time for activities that distracted him from his
academic pursuits. He aggressively sought help in some of his classes,
and established positive relationships with his professors earlier than
the other freshmen. But that, too, was restricted to his role as a
student. The death of his father during the first term, his own illness,
and the frustration of re-entering academia kept his life on the


157
Differences
The major differences in characteristics between the 1978 freshmen
and others cited in this paper occurred in three areas: (1) feelings
about high school preparation for college, (2) the difference in family
background of the females and males, and (3) choosing a major.
Of the five freshmen, the four who were recent graduates
believed they were well prepared for college except for their study
habits. The fifth, older freshman was uncertain about his readiness for
college because he had been out of high school for several years, not
because he felt he was poorly prepared in high school. In fact, he was
quite proud of his record in the Catholic high school which only accepted
students through examination. The other freshmen attended public
schools. Nevertheless, these freshmen generally felt competitive with
other OSU freshmen, even though the majority were accepted under the
Special Admissions Program. In the national study, students reported
feeling unprepared for college.
The second major difference was in the income and educational
level between the parents of females and males, and in the difference in
male and female contact with professors. In the national study the
parents of females earned more income than parents of males, and females
had greater contact with professors than males. In this study there were
no marked differences in the background and income of the parents of the
different sexes, nor did females have more contact with professors than
the male students. In this study, the older freshman male initiated more
contact with professors than females, and the other four rarely initiated
contact until after the first term.


220
2. What Patterns of Behavior were Exhibited by Students in Their
Adjustment to the University?
Initially, all but one of the students was optimistic about their
college experience, and exhibited characteristics found in two of Gibbs'
(1974) mode of behavior; the modes of affirmation and separation. Char
acteristics of the mode of affirmation also exhibited initially by the
students were self-acceptance, positive ethnic identity, and high
achievement motivation. These modes of feeling and behavior were
expressed or observed among all of the four residential students. These
students were anxious, yet open, for new experiences, and operated with
these feelings until other experiences or peers led them to think or act
otherwise. They were interested in fitting into campus life while
maintaining their own cultural identity formed in their home environ
ments. In contrast, the student who lived off campus manifested the same
characteristics of the mode of affirmation, but was less interested in
interacting with the campus community except for those persons who could
assist him academically. He remained an isolate during most of the two
terms.
During the second term two students, a male and a female, experi
enced negative encounters with their white peers--one directly, and the
other vicariously through her best friendand changed from the affirma
tion mode to that of separation. Characteristics of this mode of
behavior included anger, hostility, conflict in interpersonal relations,
and rejection of middle class values and customs. So profound were their
feelings that each seriously considered transferring to a predominately
black school. Their social environments were uncomfortable enough to
cause them to literally consider withdrawal from the university.


200
because she would be in the majority. She exclaimed "there's only one
white person in my friend's dorm!".
Janice could not see that much of her college experience both terms
was lived vicariously through her friends who actually incorporated her
into a basically black experience on a predominately white campus. She
was really operating from a black campus ghetto, and only ventured out to
classes. She was very impressionable, susceptible to acquiece by the
strong will and personality of her friend.
Janice was also still living part of her life "at home". Her new
child was there, her fiance, and a family with whom she was very close.
Keeping up with the events at home and in the black world at OSU, left
almost no room for new experiences. Therefore, her capacity to function
more creatively in a bicultural world could not be realized at OSU, at
least in the first two terms. The "me" in her controlled the would be
adventurous "I" due to her personality, strong peer pressure, and a lack
of experiences with the mainstream culture. She took few risks in her
new environment, and therefore did little to change her perceptions and
world view. Janice was the only student who developed a strong relation
ship with a black peer after attending OSU. All the others had estab
lished their strongest black peer relationships prior to attending.
Yvette. Yvette's self concept was very positive, and she was a
gregarious individual who easily attracted friends. She was open,
friendly, confident and interpreted and defined situations from a
position of strength. Her dominant culture and world view were black.
However, she operated equally as well in the mainstream society. Yvette
had grown up in her early youth in an integrated neighborhood, was active
with whites in activities in high school, and was comfortable in defining


18
study data, the findings of other researchers and the data from the
students studied here in order to help clarify and answer the questions
raised in the statement of the problem. It is through combining ideas,
data and insight into a descriptive, understandable model that new
hypotheses are developed for further research. Arensberg and Kimball
(1968) referred to a "living" model that evolves from the community study
approach, as opposed to one that is hypothetical or confirmed. They
expanded this definition to distinguish it from other types of analysis.
Primarily it is a method of thinking about facts, organization,
priority and relevance. It is empirical, inductive, and
examines behavior through events in time and place. It is
concerned with the qualities of items or traits and their
relationship with other traits within the stable or changing
conditions of the several environments--physical, cultural, and
social--within which they appear, (p. 695)
The combined analysis of the case studies was the basis for model
building in this study.
A Look Ahead
Before turning to the data of this study, Chapter II presents a
literature review of black student adjustment at four year institutions,
citing problems of students and university personnel; descriptions of
adaptative behaviors of black students on predominately white campuses;
and a theoretical framework for studying adaptation. The initial view of
students' perceptions, perspectives and behaviors is described in
Chapter III which reports the findings for each individual, and in
Chapter IV which examines the students' collective perceptions and
perspectives. The understanding of these which emerged after the study
was completed is reviewed in Chapter V, which also presents the
conclusions of the study and recommendations based on these conclusions.


22
percent of the students in Boyd's study were dependent on loans, scholar
ships or veteran's benefits to support their schooling. Twenty-nine per
cent listed scholarships as their primary source of aid, and 20 percent
received primary funding from their parents. Nineteen percent received
loans from sources outside the institution. Obtaining sufficient aid is
critical to the student's survival in school (p. 5).
In his study of college dropouts, Astin (1975) found that blacks were
much more likely than whites to check financial difficulties (43 percent
versus 27 percent) as the reason for dropping out of college (p. 17). The
reason for this is clear--a greater proportion of black students come from
low income families which are unable to contribute significantly to their
education (Astin et al., 1972; Bayer and Boruch, 1969).
Centra (1970) also found that black students relied heavily on
scholarships for financial support. Two-thirds of the black students in
his study on freshmen received some scholarship money, and 16 percent
received at least three-fourths of their support from scholarships. In
contrast, only one-third of the white students were supported by scholar
ships. Twenty-seven percent of the black students received no parental
support, and 24 percent received a quarter or less of their college
expenses from their parents, whereas 43 percent of the white students
received 75 to 100 percent of their college expenses from parents.
Centra's sample, however, differed significantly from Boyd's in that 85
percent of his sample came from small, private colleges with very small
black populations. Still, the pattern of funding education was similar in
both studies.
In his 1972 study of characteristics and trends of black freshmen,
Bayer found that 25 percent of the black students as opposed to 10 percent


258
man told me straight out he say listen I had Jewish students last quarter
and they proved to me they could write, now I'm gonna see if you can
write for my test.
I was the only black in there, I mean who was he talking to really?
Because he refused to say well Cubans couldn't write until they proved it
to me last quarter, now I'm gonna get the blacks to prove it to me,
too...I didn't fail the test, but I asked him if he was satisfied, he
said, my, you're very phenomenal aren't you," you know, that kind of
stuff.
I had the personal experience when a class professor said no "A's",
most of my class get "C's" or "B's" so therefore you are in the "E"
bracket...If you can't catch my grad asst, do not come to me, things like
that. I have to ask questions in class, the man said, I'm sorry you
can't ask questions in my class. Yes because I don't have time; and he's
never in his office.
A lot of professors they are just they have this class image they
portray you know as being very nasty and when you go and try to really
talk to them they are really trying to help you, especially sometimes if
you are black.
Now they I have had some to say you know you niggers ain't getting
no more than a "C" no matter what you do. I have had one that told me
when I was a sophomore he said, "Well, I look at it like this. I don't
think there is no blacks that can make an "A" or "B" in this class, so I
don't care how smart he is so you gonna get a "C"; but then again I think
you been dealt a double blow in the past so you see if you come to class
everyday you get a "C".


120
Black-Black Peer Relationships
All of the students had strong family and friendship ties from their
home communities which continued to influence their lives after entering
OSU. The stronger of these friendships were the black-black peer rela
tionships which were for the majority (Claire, Yvette, Butch) of great
importance in their day to day lives.
Butch
The majority of Butch's classmates were black students whom he met
after coining to OSU. Some of them were from his high school and from his
home town. Butch's interactions with his black classmates were limited
to the classroom for the most part.
Sam, the black junior who lived in his dorm first term was the
only black peer he spent time with during the first weeks on campus. He
did not have a best friend at OSU, and spent much of this time alone or
in group activity with his hallmates.
In his English class his first term in shcool, he did become a
member of a small group whose members became close because of their class
interests and activities. Two of the members were females who are a part
of this study. This led to casual social friendships outside class, but
not close friendships. For example, one of the females in the group
consented to braid his hair when he tired of wearing his old hairstyle,
yet they did not otherwise socialize.
On the other hand, Butch's black friends from home had developed
strong relationships with him, and he went home several weekends each


65
and academic counseling, (4) smaller classes, (5) individual and/or group
tutoring services, and (6) individualized grading on examinations in some
of their courses. All of these services were provided for the students
for one full (three terms) school term. This full year did not include a
six week summer orientation to the University which is attended by the
majority of special admission students in the summer prior to the fall of
their freshmen year.
A limited number of students are accepted for the fall and winter
terms without the benefit of the summer term. Students admitted without
the summer orientation usually have stronger academic backgrounds than
those admitted during the summer. However, most of the students are
encouraged to attend in the summer to take advantage of becoming adjusted
to the campus and the curricula without the pressure and the pace of the
regular school term.
The Special Admission Program is part of the undergraduate univer
sity college program and at the time of the study reported to the Dean of
the University College. A director with a secretary, counselors, and
peer advisors works with faculty and other university administrators to
assist the students admitted under this program. The students' first
introduction to the program, however, comes from an admissions officer
who recruits them to attend the university. The admissions officer who
recruits the majority of the black students who attend OSU is also black,
and plays an important role in introducing them to the university as a
whole.
The next section describes the individual situation of the five new
black students who were the subjects of this study. The case study pres
entations are written to report the findings, without discussion, yet a


46
are aware of the impact that the various experiences that influence their
lives have on each other, and the way they define situations. That is,
they know that their dorm life, home life, participation in clubs,
friendships, all influence each other. Their academic and social lives
are influenced then by all aspects of their lives at school, not just the
academic and social activities in which they are involved.
The second element of perspectives is activities. Activities are
any actions in which students become involved. Individual or group
actions with formal groups or organizations on or off campus may be
classified as activities. Activities are dictated by the individual
interests of the students, their peers, and even their families.
Criteria of judgement is the last element in analyzing perspectives,
and is defined as the standard against which judgements are made. Peer
standards, those of the faculty, or those established by the administra-,
tors, can all be used by students to make certain judgements about them
selves or others. It is, however, the rewards of the system, such as
grades, which are used as criteria of judgement by students, more than
other standards. A final quote by the team of Becker et al. (1968) from
their book Making the Grade summarizes how students use the elements in
developing perspectives:
The picture one should have then, is of students going about
their daily activities, arriving at joint definitions of
situations and problems, working out solutions in light of
their common understanding of the situation, and engaged in
what seem to them to be appropriate actions, (p. 37)
In this study, the analysis which revealed the perspectives and
problem solving behaviors of these freshmen depended equally on their
historical experiences prior to attending college, and their new college
environment. The perspectives developed by students were primarily


255
upper division, you really weren't aware of how you had to go about
things as far as getting to know professors, "cause you were always in
the study center, or taking a test behind some little cubby hole".
...Those people that basically have those ideas came in the early
part of the special admissions. Now, if you look at special admissions,
today, you will see an entirely different thing, like the peer counselors
are motivating the students; they are telling the students to go talk to
that professor; don't wait til the last day to drop a class officially,
or go talk to him about a "D" you may have or a midterm or something.
They always have the option to take the regular courses and stay in
the program. Right, they have the option and some people want good
GPA's, okay. We all stress that GPA's mean a lot, which they do. And
some people try to stay on this program as a crutch and they really don't
get out there arid learn, but we have been breaking away from that, and a
lot of students are becoming angry, but it's for their own benefit that
they are getting out there.
Well, one of the best things about the program is that half the
black kids wouldn't be here without it.
Perceptions: The Special Admissions Program has improved over the
years, and is an important service for black students. Peer counselors
play an important role in the special admissions program, especially in
helping the students break away and begin the more traditional courses
and to use the university resources.


237
13.What kind of financial aid do you receive from the university?
(Circle all that apply)
l=grant or scholarship
2=loans
3=work study
4=0PS
b=none
14.Do you receive financial help from your parents or guardian?
l=yes
2=no
15.Do you think you receive enough money (from all sources) to meet
your academic needs?
l=yes
2=no
16.Do you work off campus?
If you answered yes to #16, give
number of hours you work per week
l=yes
2=no
17.Who brought you to the OSU campus to start school?
l=parents or relatives
2=friends
3=came alone
4=other (Be specific)
SECTION C. ACADEMIC ADVISEMENT AND REGISTRATION
1. What is your major?
2. What college are you enrolled in?
3. Who helped you register for classes your first quarter at the
university? (Check all that apply)
l=special services staff
2=my peer counselor
3=roommate
4=friends
5=an academic advisor
6=the Asst. Dean for Minority Affairs
7=registered by myself


APPENDIX B
INTERVIEW GUIDE
At the first interview the researcher and each student reviewed
their understanding about working together on the study. The researcher
then explained that she was interested in their social and academic
adjustment to the campus, and that she was interested in their everyday
interactions and activities. She informed them that the interviews would
center around their activities and interactions on campus, i.e., in the
classroom, in the dormitory, at social events, with friends, other
students and university personnel, too.
The first interview was the longest of any of them because three
weeks had elapsed before the initiation of the interviewing process. The
researcher and each student began to establish a comfortable rapport at
the first interview, and most of the questions centered around securing
information about the student:
1. Please describe yourself to me; your family, your relationship
to each member and anything you think would give me a picture of
your life at home.
a. Do all your family members live together? (grandparents,
sisters, etc.)
b. How do the other family members view you?
c. Do you have strong family ties?
2. Describe your neighborhood, friends and the people you associate
with at home.
Other questions of a demographic nature were also asked as the
interviewer progressed.
231


of the white students were very concerned about finances for college,
(p. 16)
23
Most black students must work to supplement their primary source of
funding. Working is more the norm than the exception for black students
attending college. In Boyd's (1974) study 73 percent of the students
held at least one job. Fifty-four percent worked 11 to 20 hours per
week, and 20 percent worked 21 hours per week. (p. 6)
Bayer and Boruch (1969) found in their American Council on Education
(ACE) report on freshmen, that two-thirds of the black students in the
study worked full or part-time, as opposed to one-half of the white
students.
. Black students feel inadequately prepared for college. In Boyd's
1974 study, 71 percent of the students felt that they would prepare them
selves differently if they had the opportunity to do so again. Consist
ent with this feeling, 52 percent rated their college preparation as fair
or poor (p. 7). Similar findings are reported by Hedegard and Brown
(1969) in their study of black and white freshmen at the University of
Michigan. Black students felt they were less well prepared academically
than the average white student.
In a 1976 study of black students at the University of Florida,
Taylor (Note 2) found that black students chose poor academic preparation
as the second biggest problem they experienced in adapting to the pre
dominately white campus. Nieves (1977), Crossland (1971), and others
concur with these findings.


14
One week after their arrival on campus, the researcher contacted
each student by telephone to arrange individual appointments to discuss
their participation in the study. All five of the students agreed to
participate in the study and gave their permission for the researcher to
tape interviews and to observe them in various campus activities.
Instrumentation and Data Collection
The researcher developed a semi-structured, free response, interview
guide which was designed to stimulate discussion with the students about
their activities, interactions, and feelings as they were adjusting to
the University (see Appendix B). Students were asked questions and given
the freedom to respond as they wished. This guide was used in weekly
interviews with students for a ten-week period. All interviews were
arranged in advance and were conducted at an appointed place and time
at the mutual convenience of the student and researcher. Four students
lived on campus and met with the researcher in their dormitory rooms, or
a lounge or lobby of their living areas. The fifth student lived off-
campus, and arranged meetings with the researcher in the student union or
other places on campus. A common interviewing procedure was followed
with each student. All interviews were taped on a portable cassette
recorder. The weekly interviews lasted for thirty minutes.
Data were also collected for the study through administration of a
questionnaire developed by the researcher. Using items from (1) a ques
tionnaire developed by Jones, Harris and Hauck of Bucknell University
(1975), (2) the Arts and Sciences Faculty of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill (1978), and (3) some original ones of her own,


202
or blacks her first term at OSU, and was very pleased to find peers in
her immediate living environment to be friendly. Her expectation of
unfriendly people could have some roots in the impressions people from
small towns have about large cities or places larger than their own
communities.
During her first term, she found new black and white freshmen on her
hall who befriended her. She had two roommates originally, one black,
one white; the white roommate moved shortly after she arrived, with
little explanation to either her or the other roommate. Claire did not
assume the move was racially motivated, but she did not rule it out
either. Though this was a perplexing experience, it was not enough to
prevent Claire from maintaining her relationships with other whites.
Claire admitted sometimes feeling out of place, yet comfortable at other
times as a minority student on campus. It appears that this was due as
much to finding her way in a very large community as it was to the racial
make-up of it. Evidence of this was found in Claire's frequent comments
during the first few weeks about the size of the campus. She was over
whelmed and thought the most important thing she learned at orientation
was how to read the campus map!
Claire reported her best friends as black and white and was comfort
able with both. She identified her primary socialization with blacks,
but also belonged to racially mixed social groups and a black study
group. Claire would have liked to have a larger black student popula
tion, especially an addition of males from which to choose for dating.
The behavior pattern exhibited by Claire was the mode of affirma
tion. As she became more familiar with the new environment, she moved
toward the affirmation mode more and more. She was very cautious at


203
first in her new relationships with whites, but grew more confident in
her interpretation of situations in her contact with them. Though
harboring a somewhat cynical attitude about whites' view of blacks at OSU
(she believed whites were sorry blacks were attending OSU) she operated
in this mode in her day to day experiences.
Claire consistently separated her views of people whom she knew,
black and white, in her residential, day to day life, from students out
side her living area. In her questionnaire and in some of her interviews
she indicated that blacks and whites she met out on campus were indiffer
ent as opposed to friendly. This surprised her very much about the
blacks, since such an attitude was was more expected from whites. The
researcher believed that this attitude was again consequent with the
small town attitude described above.
Gordon. Gordon's patterns of behavior were quite different from
those of the other freshmen. His experiences since his graduation from
high school, his age, his personality, were evidence of this. His domi
nant culture and world view were definitely black. He described an
interest in joining the Black Panthers before joining the Air Force, and
was more likely to be operating in a mode of separation then as defined
by Gibbs (1974). His dual socialization led him to reject the mainstream
culture in deference to his own lifestyle in the black community.
After joining the Air Force Gordon's perception about race changed
and he was more tolerant of the mainstream lifestyle. He still identi
fied most with blacks, and also expressed a new identification with white
females and the way they were treated in the service. One of his good
friends with whom he conversed regularly by telephone while at OSU was a
white female whom he met in the service. He made it clear that she was a


101
resident assistants. The male student who resided off campus lived
alone, and moved in by himself. The three women students arrived with
parents, other relatives and friends, who helped them move into the
dormitories.
None of the four students who were admitted under the Special
Admission Program (SAP) attended the program's orientation. Three of the
four accepted under the program attended the orientation sponsored by the
Minority Affairs Office, and two of the four attended the campus-wide
orientation. The older student who lived off campus only attended the
orientation for minority students. At the campus-wide orientation and
the one sponsored by SAP, students had the chance to learn how to
register for classes as well as the academic services established to help
them adjust to the University.
The registration process was initially painful for all of the
students. Three of the five students did consult an academic advisor
prior to registering. One of the three originally tried it on his own
and was eventually referred to the advisor by the admissions officer who
recruited him. These students were generally satisfied with the advice
they received.
The older student was upset by his advisor who didn't seem to listen
to him, and who made assumptions about his ability to perform because he
was mature and had been in the military service. Later he was helped
through the computer processing part of registration by a staff member
whom he met at registration.
Of the two students who did not see an academic advisor, one had to
register late because she missed her appointment and was eventually
registered with the assistance of her roommate. The second student who


109
discrimination. She commented that "whites are more prejudiced here than
at home".
Janice did report encountering some racial tension in the dormitory
with white hallmates, and seemed perplexed by them:
Like there's one girl from Singer (another dormitory).
She's nice, but she gets snobby sometimes, too. Like she
came last week cause she wanted to know if Tina and I wanted
to ride to see "Saturday Night Fever" in her sister's car
. . And then like one time she made the statement that her,
their parents, are paying for black students to come here
and flunk out. They're paying taxes for us to come! See,
she gets like that, on and off. So I really don't care for
her.
Another incident that recurred often in her friend Tina's room was
described by Janice as another example of racial tension in the
dormitory.
Okay, like there's one girl, she used Tina's phone to call
home. She won't even speak to Tina. But she'll come and
say, "Can I use your phone". Just like that. Then she'll
leave without saying thank you--Just like we weren't even
there.
Janice reported that these incidents continued until Tina decided not to
let the girl use the telephone. Other negative incidents described by
Janice were those Tina related to her. She learned of Tina's negative
experiences, and compared them with hers.
When asked if she initiated any interaction with white students,
this is how Janice responded:
No. They don't seem to want to. Not the ones at my dorm,
at least. I guess everybody is too busy. I don't know.
I never hardly see them anyway.
However, later on in the second term, Janice volunteered examples of
positive interactions with whites that she did not expect:
When I was toting a bag of groceries home, this boy asked,
"Would you like me to carry those home for you?" And I
said, "I think I can manage." He was white and I was
surprised.


37
experienced by many international students who attend American institu
tions for the first time (Proctor, 1970) or Asian and Africans in
European universities (Ballard, 1973). Valentine (1971) has suggested
that black Americans' commitment to survival has forced them to deal
successfully in a bicultural society, i.e., in their own black culture
and that of the mainstream culture; having a commitment in both cultures
requires certain adaptive behaviors for coping with life (p. 143).
On the other hand, students' adaptive behaviors are influenced by
their environment, the campus milieu. University personnel including
administrators, students, faculty and staff, collectively, and individu
ally, influence to some degree how comfortable or uncomfortable students
are in their environment. The curriculum, social activities, and pro
grams reflecting the institution's philosophy have varying effects on
students as they attempt to fit into campus life. This section will
include a review of the black student's adaptive behavior in the new
campus environment, as well as the campus response to them.
Many educators have described the tension, misunderstandings and
problems between the two groups, which were in conflict during the
1960s. Perhaps more than others, the feeling of alienation is the
cultural problem which underlies all others, i.e., feelings of not
fitting into the major activities of the university. Ballard (1973)
depicts the current picture very well, though his reference is to an
early time when he was among the few black scholars attending
predominately white institutions:
This theme of alienation among Blacks who had the singular
chance to attend white institutions persisted in the pre-
World War I, and pre-World War II periods. Many seemed to
feel themselves in four-year exile in a strange and alien


51
recruited black student was militant, not grateful for admission, demand
ing, not acquiescent, and unwilling to compromise in the face of defeat--
all of which were unexpected by their white counterparts (Hunt, 1970;
Peterson et al., 1978).
Early in the 1960's many black and white students marched and sat-in
together, demanding changes in administrative policy. Soon, however, the
split was precipitated both by the prevailing Black ideology of
"separatism'1 and by a basic distaste among black students for the whole
lifestyle of the white "radical" (Ballard, 1973). More importantly,
demands of black students were for changes in concrete, mundane issues
regarding financial aid, admission and the curriculum, while white
radical demands were more diffuse and involved forces outside the
university. (Ballard, 1973)
Green (1971) emphasizing the need for administrators to take note of
black students' demands, suggested that meeting the need of black
students did in fact address some general education problems that needed
solving. He cited these ills that needed attention:
1. Neglect of undergraduate teaching
2. Lack of curricular innovation
3. Failure to relate classroom instruction to society's problems
4. High student attrition, and
5. The arbitrariness of certification and credential systems
(p. 31)
Today, the interaction between the two student groups has not
changed significantly. In the May issue of the Chronicle of Higher
Education, Middleton and Sievert (1978) cited these comments from


235
SECTION B. ENTRANCE AND ORIENTATION TO ORANGE STATE UNIVERSITY
1.Was your interest in going to college:
l=something you or your parents planned for a long time
2=a recent idea
2.What person(s) influenced you most about attending college?
l=parents or relatives
2=friends
3=high school counselor
4=college recruiter
5=self '
3.Why did you choose to attend OSU? (Circle all numbers that apply)
l=reputation of the school
2=attractive financial aid package offered
3=high school counselor recommended university
4=had friends attending
5=other reason (Be specific)
4.What percentage of your high school was attended by black students?
1=5-10%
2=10-20%
3=20-40%
4=40-50%
5=50% or over
5.Were you a participant in extra-curricular activities in high school?
l=yes
2=no
If you answered yes to #5, please list the activities that you were
active in, and indicate any offices you held:


267
Napper, G. Blacker than thou: The struggle for campus unity. Grand
Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973.
National Advisory Committee on Black Higher Education and Black Colleges
and Universities. Access of black Americans to higher education:
How open is the door? Washington: Government Printing Office,
1979.
Nieves, L. The minority college student experience: A case for the use
of self-control systems. Princeton: Educational Testing Service,
1977.
Pelto, P.V. Anthropological research structure of inquiry. New York:
Harper & Rowe, 1970.
Peterson, M.W., Blackburn, R.T., Gamson, Z.F., Circe, C.H., Davenport,
R.W. and Mingle, J.R. Black students on white campuses. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, 1978.
Pettigrew, T.F. Profile of the Negro American. Princeton:
Van Nostrand-Reinhold, 1964.
Poinsett, A. Rocky road for black collegians. Ebony, September 1980,
pp. 54-60.
Proctor, S.D. Racial pressures on urban institutions. In D.C. Nichols
& 0. Mills (Eds.), The campus and the racial crisis. Washington,
D.C.: American Council on Education, 1970.
Redfield, R. The folk culture of Yucatan: Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1941.
Reichard, D.J. and Hengstler, D.D. A comparison of black and white
student backgrounds and perceptions of a predominately white campus
environment: Implications for institutional research and program
development. A paper presented at the Twenty-First Annual Forum of
the Association for Institutional Research. Minneapolis, Minnesota,
May 20, 1981.
Sanford, N. Where col leges fail. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1967.
Sellitz, C., Jahoda, M., Deutsch, M. and Cook, S.W. Research methods in
social relations. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1959.
Shenkman, F.A. The participation of black students in the social system
of a southern integrated university (Doctoral dissertation,
University of Florida, 1970). Dissertation Abstracts International,
1970, 32 (4), 71-24976.
Sherif, M. The concept of reference groups in human relations. In M.
Sherif and M.D. Wilson (Eds.) Group relations at the crossroads.
New York: Harper & Bros., 1953.


138
fellow classmates if she was having trouble with a homework assignment.
However, she reported that professors were accessible and easy to get
help from when she sought them, and found it easier still to get help
from the graduate teaching assistants. She did not begin to communicate
with professors regularly until her second term.
Janice did have a complaint about her Behavioral Studies class. It
was confusing and not what she expected:
We have three different teachers and each teach like three
sections apiece. And I thought the course was gonna be one
teacher and one subject. Three teachers, three different
subjects. So as soon as I get adjusted to one, then there's
a new teacher! This week it's psychology. So it's
confusing.
Janice also complained about the kind of teachers in this class:
I liked the first teacher better. He was more into it.
... He was a professor. The other two teachers, they're
like graduate students--nervous, monotone voices, boring.
Janice also had a graduate student teaching her social science course.
She said he was all right, but "still a graduate student".
Early in that term, Janice had mentioned that the students in her
social science classes seemed to be older and more sophisticated. She
preferred to listen more and participate less in that course. She
learned later in the term than most of the students were juniors and
seniors, and that she had registered for an upper level course.
Her attendance in her cources was high. She reported that she would
get to most of her classes about 10 to 15 minutes early in order to
review the homework she had done the night before. Overall, she found
her classes challenging, but was uncertain about her performance in some
of them.


24
Bayer (1972) found that despite good high school grades, 53 percent
of the black freshmen in the 1971 ACE study felt they needed tutoring or
remedial work, particularly in mathematics.
At the University of Maryland at College Park, Brooks and Sedlacek
(1972) found that all but 16 percent of their 1972 black freshmen
indicated an interest in the tutorial or remedial help programs, (p. 2)
Very little data have been recorded about whether black students
actually receive the help they indicate they need. However, Boyd's study
(1974) reported that a majority of students do not feel they have
received any special help, even though many were admitted under special
programs which supposedly provided such services. Seventy-three percent
of the students believed they received no special or preferential treat
ment in any phase of their experience at college. Sixty-six percent said
they received no academic help whatsoever (pp. 7-8). However, Nieves
(1977) and others (Taylor, Note 2; Hazeur, Note 3) report that black
students often do not use the services they know they need.
They simply do not avail themselves of the services
provided--perhaps because of the class and ethnic gulf
between them and most counselors, perhaps because they feel
their problems are outside the ken of white counselors,
perhaps because they feel the counsel they receive is too
abstract, not directly applicable to their problems.
(Nieves, 1977, p. 5)
Black students are confident of their ability to succeed. Their
confidence in succeeding is seen as admirable, yet somewhat unrealistic
by some educators, especially in light of the admitted need for academic
assistance. Hazeur (Note 3) stated that young black freshmen envision
college as an extension of high school and are not aware that they will


224
those students who were not the best adjusters had different perspectives
each term, usually developed negative responses to problems which arose,
and were not coping well in their academic or social spheres.
The successful adjustment of black freshmen seemed to be dependent
on certain essential conditions outside and within the campus community.
The six characteristics which described the most successful freshmen
experience gave rise to recommendations for developing the best condi
tions under which adjustment could occur; yet the experiences of the
other three, and the questions raised about their less successful adjust
ment were equally as valuable for determining the model circumstance for
optimum adjustment. The following recommendations are separated into
two categories--those essential prior to entering college, and those
necessary after arrival to the campus. These recommendations include
things the students and university personnel should be prepared to do
A. Prior to entering the university community students should have:
1. Better than average academic record and study habits. Support
from family, teachers and peers can insure this. Personal moti
vation and interest in learning could also help insure this
condition.
2. Experience and/or work with racially integrated groups--enough
to understand and appreciate cultural diversity, especially in a
school setting. Students without this type of background should
have the option to join workshops, seminars or other similar
activities which foster understanding of race relations. This
means that the university should already have such a program


64
opportunity to the low income and high risk populations. Prior to that
time black students had not been admitted to the University at the under
graduate level. Black students were first admitted to graduate study at
OSU in 1969.
Since 1970, the University's commitment to equal educational opportu
nity has grown, and it currently participates in a state-wide admissions
program which allows each state university to admit ten percent of its
entering freshmen class who do not meet the standard admissions require
ments. To date, the majority of the black undergraduate students at the
University have been admitted through this special admissions program. At
the time this study was conducted, black students (graduate and under
graduate) represented less than six percent of the total student popula
tion, yet represented the largest ethnic group on campus.
Students entering under the special admissions program are required
to have a minimum high school average of "C", good references, and a
strong interest in attending college. Most of the students come from low
income families, and often do not have sufficient backgrounds in science
and/or English to compete successfully with regularly admitted students.
Most of these students also do not score well on standardized aptitude
tests, whether state or nationally administered.
In order to meet the needs of the specially admitted students, the
University, with the help of federal monies, established a Special Admis
sion Program. The purpose of the Special Admissions Program was to
enhance the retention rate of students, and to provide services to aid
their academic and social adjustment to the University. Specifically,
students were offered (1) special orientation to the University, (2) a
trouble-free pre-registration their first quarter in school, (3) personal


134
when asked if he intended to request a look at his final exams, he
answered in the negative. He had no plans to talk to the professors.
Yet Butch was not discouraged, and said he'd try to do better next term.
Claire
Classroom interaction. Claire described most of her classes as
interesting. She was very conscientious about attending classes, and
reported that during the first term she only missed two. In three of
her courses Claire had weekly quizzes and exams. She said that a
student not attending and not studying could easily fall behind in
classes.
She was comfortable expressing her views in class and enjoyed small
discussion classes more then lecture classes. If she misunderstood
information during class, she was more likely to approach the professor
after class, rather than seek clarification in class. She found it easy
to communicate with most professors, and easy to get help from them. She
reported, though, that she often incurred difficulty trying to reach
graduate teaching assistants. Claire was more inclined to seek help with
homework assignments from other students rather than professors, and she
tended to study alone.
Claire liked her social science course, and particularly enjoyed
behavioral studies course because they studied the adjustment of college
students to the University. The course had no texts, but students were
given outside readings and were responsible for information from class
lectures and discussions. Claire found the physical science class boring
and reported her feelings about it.


CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
In this chapter the reader finds the analysis and discussion of the
data. The collective experiences of the students' academic and social
lives are the focus of the chapter. Individual experiences are reported
when they add a different dimension to the analysis. Descriptions of
events and activities which occurred each term are noted to emphasize the
time they occurred, and their importance in relation to the entire study
period.
The literature review, data from the pilot study, observations and
insights of the writer were used in the analysis, which began from the
time the data were collected. The chapter begins with a general descrip
tion of the students' characteristics, then addresses the questions posed
in the first chapter, and finally summarizes the variables and percep
tions of the freshmen along with the perspectives they developed to cope
with problems as they arose.
Student Characteristics
The five black freshmen in this 1978 study were found to have some
similarities with those students described in Boyd's (1974) national
survey (1974) and those Shenkman studied at OSU in 1970. There were also
some very important differences in the 1978 freshmen from black students
154


164
section will necessarily include some reference to personal and family
history because their influence was continuous and cannot be fully
separated from the experiences of the students after they entered
college. However, the discussion will be centered primarily on variables
identified in the four aforementioned categories.
Family Support
All of the 1978 freshmen recalled from early childhood the family's
interest and sometimes insistence that they attend college as a means of
obtaining better jobs and an improved lifestyle. Gordon, the only male
offspring was told by his family that a college education was more
important for him than his sisters because they could always find jobs
typing. Janice, as the oldest child was repeatedly informed that she had
to set a model for her younger sisters and brothers. Even the birth of
her first child during the fall she was to attend did not deter her
family's commitment for her education. Her parents provided for her
child while she attended a community college during the fall before
entering OSU in the winter term. Such determination and support is
unusual and significant, particularly because the parents incurred a
greater responsibility for themselves financially and emotionally because
of Janice's child.
Butch's siblings were particularly proud of their uncle (their
father's youngest brother) who had earned a four-year degree, and urged
Butch, their youngest brother, to do the same. Two of his siblings had
attended the local community college, and one completed the Associate of


198
any new person or a person who enters school in mid-year when most
friendship circles have already been established. He didn't give much
thought to the white friend who still wanted to be his roommate during
the summer, as evidence of his ability to relate to white peers.
He could not analyze what happened the second term and incorporate
his lack of experience with whites on any intimate level. He had had no
interaction in extracurricular activities in his high school with whites,
and no white friendships prior to attendance at OSU. He was unable to
see any of these reasons, and chose the obvious problem of racial preju
dice as the reason for the change in his friends' behavior. Butch's
expectations and desires were incongruent with his experience in his
dominant culture, and the dual socialization in the black mainstream
culture which Valentine (1971) described had not been a major part of his
development.
Janice. Janice also operated like Butch from a strong dominant
black cultural world view. She, too, had few if any close relationships
with whites prior to entering OSU; but unlike Butch, she had black room
mates, and was not as eager or aggressive in her attempt to interact and
trust whites as he was. Her peers and family were very supportive of her
and she was quite comfortable in her interactions and communication in
her dominant culture. Her self perceptions were positive and interpreta
tions of situations in the dominant culture were quite satisfactory.
Janice's dual socialization in the dominant culture and the main
stream society was strong in the former, weaker in the latter. She had
been sheltered from interaction in the mainstream and could not fully
trust her interpretation of situations, such as the new situations with
whites on campus, especially in a one-to-one situation. She was a rather


248
10.Most of my professors are:
l=black males
2=white males
3=black females
4=white females
11.In most of my classes, the professors:
1=1ike black students to express their group's viewpoint on issues
2=object to black students discussing a black viewpoint on issues
12.I believe that some professors have been:
l=more supportive and helpful when I have consulted them about
academic problems than they have been to students of other races
2=less supportive and helpful when I have consulted them about
academic problems than they have been to students of other races
3=1 am unsure about answers 1 and 2 of this question
13.In some of my classes I believe that I have:
l=unfairly received lower grades than students of other races on exams
2=unfairly received lower grades than students of other races on
written assignments
3=no reason to believe I have been graded unfairly
14.I have experienced racial tension in:
l=some of my classes
2=in the dormitory
3=at some social events
4=none of my experiences on campus
5=at a campus meeting or school related activity
6=other
15.I have had conversations about racial issues with:
(Cirel al 1 that apply)
l=my black friends on campus
2=my white friends on campus
3=some of my white professors
4=some of my black professors
5=no one since I came to campus
6=a faculty or staff member


97
visit to her parents. Judy was also friendly, introduced Yvette to many
of the girls on the hall, and showed her around the dorm.
She introduced herself to me and I introduced myself to her,
and we started talking. She brought out some of the other
girls that I hadn't met. 'Cause I hadn't met the girl right
across the hall, already, so she brought some of the other
girls and introduced them.
Yvette's boyfriend, Aaron, also helped her become adjusted to the
campus. He had been accepted a year ago but was not enrolled the quarter
Yvette entered. He had stopped out for a term to earn more money to
return to school. He showed her around the campus, introduced her to his
friends, helped her with registration, and became a major resource person
on campus for her.
Orientation. Yvette did not attend the campus-wide orientation for
new students, nor did she attend the SAP orientation. She did attend the
orientation sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office for entering black
students at OSU. She was disappointed that there were not very many
continuing students attending the orientation, but was pleased to meet
the black faculty members present. She considered the orientation very
helpful because she learned where to go to solve certain problems she
might encounter.
Registrati on. Aaron had warned Yvette about how difficult it was to
register the first term in school. She admitted that she had not
believed it would be as difficult as he said it would. She reported that
after two hours of trying to register, she was ready to give up. At that
time she remembered that the admissions officer had told her about the
courses offered on the SAP. It was then that she decided to see an
advisor to help her select courses.


89
His cousin (his uncle's son), also a recent high school graduate, had
dropped out of college after his first semester as a freshman in a school
near his home in Washington. Butch reported his reaction to his cousin's
experience.
I listened at how his Dad did him. I said I don't want Dad
to do that for ME, 'cause you know, that makes you seem like
a little baby*. . His Dad took him up there and all; made
sure he got situated. I mean it seems like you adjust
quickly if you're on your own, than if somebody else is
doing everything for you.
Butch had originally requested a double room in one specific housing
area. On his arrival, he learned that he had been reassigned to a triple
room in another area. He decided to accept this reassignment without
challenge mainly because he would be able to save some money by doing so.
He was the first of the roommates to arrive in the room. Soon after
arriving he was joined by a white male student, and his mother. They
introducted themselves, got acquainted, and continued to unpack. Later
that day, they were joined by the third roommate, a native Puerto Rican.
Butch reported that the three of them got along quite well with each
other from their first meeting. The only problem seemed to be the
tension created by the other roommates eating Butch's food without
telling him, or asking him beforehand. Butch was not sure how to handle
this problem, especially since he was not sure which roommate was
actually eating his food.
Since Butch had visited the campus prior to his admission, he was
familiar with many buildings, and did not feel as lost as some other
freshmen. Nevertheless, he did need some help, and found his hallmates
very friendly and helpful. He and his Puerto Rican roommate met Sam, a
black junior, the only other black student on the hall, who befriended


31
2. Black students were expected to compete academically with white
students who generally had superior high school preparation and
adequate study skills
3. Black students were expected to blend into the social-cultural
life of the campus, and
4. Black students were expected to be overly grateful for having
been given the opportunity to obtain a quality integrated
education (p. 463-464)
Black Student Expectations
As first generation collegians, many black students did not have
clearly defined college expectations. They had not undergone what
Hattenschwiller (1969) has described as anticipatory socialization'^
prepare them for the complexities of college life. That is, they had not
discussed it with persons knowledgeable about it, or read about it enough
to understand fully what it meant to attend college. Black students
expect
1. The university to be very flexible in responding to their
individual needs
2. College courses to be a continuation of high school work, and
were often confused by the qualitative and quantitative
differences in courses and study assignments
3. A greater diversity of activities and lifestyles at college
4. To have a greater contact with the black community surrounding
the campus, and


PERCEPTIONS, PERSPECTIVES, AND ADAPTIVE BEHAVIORS
OF SELECTED BLACK FRESHMEN AT A SOUTHERN
PREDOMINATELY WHITE UNIVERSITY
BY
JOYCE TAYLOR GIBSON
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1983

Dedicated to my parents
who taught me the value of
Dr. and Mrs. Jeremiah A.
education
Taylor

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research could not have been completed without the support of
many friends, colleagues and family members. The author wishes to
express special thanks to the persons described here who were intimately
involved with her during the time of her study.
Dr. Wattenbarger is to be congratulated for his enduring patience;
his support and advice made the study possible. Dr. Eddy introduced the
author to the field of anthropology and provided countless hours of
assistance during the research process. Encouragement and direction from
Dr. Cole was readily available when necessary. Very special thanks must
be given posthumously to Dr. Solon Kimball whose counsel was critical in
the development of the study.
The Whitney Young Foundation of New York City provided the author
with financial support for one year of study and research. The Southern
Education Foundation of Atlanta subsidized the research to facilitate
analysis of the data. The author expresses sincere gratitude to these
foundations for their assistance.
Roland, the author's husband, and her children, Rhona, Roland, Jr.
and Rhys, deserve awards for their love and understanding throughout the
study period. For encouraging words and prayers, the author thanks Bill
Beldan and her friends in the Littleton Congregational Church. The quiet
place in the woods of Harvard where the majority of the writing was
completed, was made available by two wonderful friends, Phil and Lynne
Wood, whom the author can never thank enough. Pamela Johnson, who typed
the dissertation, is appreciated for her talent and hard work.
Finally, the students who participated in the study are warmly
thanked for giving the author the opportunity to seek solutions to
problems of adjustment which are important to all those who support
higher education.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of Problem 5
Justification for the Study 6
Methodology 10
Data Analysis 16
A Look Ahead 18
II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 19
Overview 19
Who Is This Black Student in Higher Education? 20
Problems Of Black Students 30
Adaptive Behaviors 36
Developing Perspectives 44
Institutional Response to Black Students 47
Theoretical Framework 53
Summary 60
III. THE WINTER TERM FRESHMEN 62
The Orange State University 62
Family History/Educational Background 66
The Special Admission Program 80
Orientation, Advising, and Registration 86
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old 102
Black-Black Peer Relationships 120
If I Study More, My Grades Will Improve 128
I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students 148
IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS 154
Student Characteristics 154
Comparison of 1971 Students and 1978 Freshmen 158
What Phenomena Influenced Student Adjustment? 162
Was Race a Factor in Students' Adjustment
to the University? 191
What Patterns of Behavior Were Developed
by Students Adjusting to the University? 194
What Perspectives Did Students Develop to Solve Problems
While Adjusting to the University? 205
Freshmens' Perceptions about Adjusting 210
Perspectives Developed by Freshmen 212
V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 217
i v

APPENDICES
A SIGNATURE POSTCARD FOR PARTICIPATION IN STUDY 230
B INTERVIEW GUIDE 231
C FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE 233
D PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS IN PILOT STUDY 252
REFERENCE NOTES 263
REFERENCES 264
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 24fi
v

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Perceptions, Perspectives And Adaptive Behaviors Of Selected
Black Freshmen At A Southern Predominately White University
By
Joyce Taylor Gibson
December, 1983
Chairman: Dr. James L. Wattenbarger
Major Department: Educational Administration and Supervision
The research reported here examines the perceptions of a small group
of black freshmen about their academic and social adjustment to a pre
dominately white, Southern university. The purpose was to discover the
behavioral patterns used by students in adjusting to the university
environment, and the perspectives they developed in solving problems
during their first two terms in school. Documenting student perceptions
and perspectives about college is critical to a better understanding of
the ways in which students adapt to the university. Students' perspec
tives about their everyday activities within the settings of classroom,
extra-curricular activities, living arrangements and natural groupings on
the campus are revealed to accomplish this goal.

Data were collected through open-ended interviews, questionnaires,
participant observation, and through examination of official documents
published by the university which were in effect during 1977-78, the time
period of the research. The analysis of the data revealed four variables
which had major influence on the students' adjustment to the university:
family support, the initial university reception, peer relationships, and
individual characteristics. Peer relations were by far more influential
than the other variables. The students' peers at home and their peers at
the university played equal roles in their adjustment, and in how they
developed perspectives to solve everyday problems.
Two important perspectives developed by freshmen influenced the
social and academic aspects of their lives. They were (1) to succeed in
college I have to make good grades, preferably without any help from
others, and (2) to be successful in college means being accepted by my
peers, especially my white peers. Those freshmen identified as adjusting
well had at least two of the following characteristics: (1) friendships
with black students at the university prior to their enrollment,
(2) friendships or experiences with white peers in high school, and
(3) strong self-images, and positive attitudes about the university. The
successful adjustment of black freshmen seemed to be dependent on certain
essential conditions outside and within the campus community.

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The enrollment of B1ack-Americans in higher education has tripled in
the last twenty years, bringing the 1982 figure to 1.3 million students.
However, too few of these students are graduating, and attrition poses a
serious threat to this increase in numbers. A closer look at the break
down of enrollment will put these facts in wider perspective.
At this writing, 75 percent of all students enrolled in higher
education attend two year or four year colleges--86 percent of black
students are enrolled in these institutions. Twenty-five percent of all
students attend universities, yet only 15 percent of black students are
enrolled in universities (National Advisory Committee, 1979). Higher
/
education statistics for 1981 reflected that blacks constituted 9.3
percent of all students in higher education, and the makeup of the
institutions where they were enrolled was as follows: 70 percent in
predominately white institutions (PWI), 18 percent in the traditional
black institutions (TBI), and 12 percent in newer predominately black
institutions (PBI). Of the baccalaureate degrees awarded that year, a
surprising 40 percent of these were awarded by the traditional black
institutions. Poinsett (1980) summarized this dilemma in an article in
Ebony magazine:
Fantasy may suggest that the million-plus students are
moving inexorably toward baccalaureate degrees and beyond.
But the fact is that half of that impressive total is
enrolled in two-year col 1eges--plagued with high dropout
1

2
rates and limited academic offerings--and only about a third
is in four-year programs. In other words, while more black
students are entering colleges these days, the majority
leave before they graduate. (p. 55)
What are the variables that influence black student adjustment at the
predominately white schools where attrition appears to be high and
matriculation very low?
Wright (1981) reported several reasons for high matriculation of
black students at traditional black institutions, including elements
which may be missing at the majority of the traditional white institu
tions. Two are important to this study: (1) most of the TBI's have
strong supportive programs for students who are in need of academic
assistance, especially for those with deficiencies in reading, mathe
matics, and English, and (2) the TBI's help students develop their self-
images, which is viewed as critical to achieving goals. In his national
longitudinal study of freshmen, from 1968-1972, Astin (1975) found that
blacks at predominately white institutions had a substantially higher
attrition rate than any other group of students in the study. He
observed:
The higher attrition rate appears to be attributable in part
to the effect of attending a white college, rather than to
differences in initial drop-out proneness between blacks in
white colleges, (p. 26)
Students' adaptations to college life depend on many things that
they bring with them to college, including family history, grades from
high school, and study habits (Astin, 1975). On the other hand, what
they encounter in the college environment influences their adjustment,
i.e., the people they meet, classroom experiences, as well as their
involvement in extra-curricular activities. Adaptation involves
interactions and relationships between individuals and groups in an

3
environment and is part of the socialization process. One purpose for
conducting this study was to discover how black freshmen adapt to their
white college environments. One aspect of this purpose was to examine
how students adjust to problems they encounter in their new environment.
Adjusting necessarily involves learning about new and different ways of
handling problems that are unique to campus life. How students face the
new problems on campus is determined to some degree from their past and
in part from their abilty to generate new ideas. This process is called
developing a perspective. Students can develop individual and group
perspectives in learning to cope and handle problem situations. Their
home lives appear to have as much influence in developing perspective as
their new campus life. (See literature review for more details on
perspectives.)
Many black college freshmen who attend predominately white colleges
are particularly vulnerable to uncertainties and frustrations during
their first year of school, primarily because they are unlike the major
ity of their white counterparts in three major ways: (1) they are
usually first generation college students, i.e., the first person in
their families to attend college; (2) they have generally been academic
ally handicapped to some degree by their inaccessibility or delayed
accessibility to quality secondary schools; and (3) they must try to
adapt to a college environment which reflects very little of their own
history or culture (Harper, 1971; Ballard, 1973; and Boyd, 1974). The
problems they face are real and must be addressed by other members of the
university community.
When black students began to attend predominately white universities
in large numbers in the early 1960s, few of these institutions were

4
prepared to receive them. John Egerton in a 1969 report on newly
integrated institutions of higher education described this problem:
One of the most serious problems accompanying increased
desegregation in predominately white colleges and universi
ties could be called unpreparedness. Institutions which
have reached beyond the "super blacks" with impeccable
credentials to admit students whose backgrounds and prior
preparation set them apart from regular students have often
experienced a variety of difficulties. The unpreparedness
of these students has frequently been noted in institutional
studies and press reports. But the institutions, too, are
often unprepared, not only to deal with the so-called "high
risk" students but with black students generally. "High-
risk" is a two-sided coin; the institutions take a risk on
the students, but the reverse is also true, and the risk any
black student takes when he enters a white-oriented institu
tion is substantial. Universities, despite popular senti
ments to the contrary, are conservative institutions; the
process of change in them is sometimes glacially slow, and
many of them have not yet demonstrated either the skill or
the determination to educate students--whatever their race--
who differ markedly from the middled ass white students they
are accustomed to having. (p. 94)
This mutual unpreparedness of the new black students and the tradition
ally white institutions was and still is a major factor in the poor
adjustment of many black students to predominately white campuses.
A 1980 Office of Education study of seven predominately white insti
tutions, conducted by Donald Smith, revealed that institutions had
changed very little since the 1960's. In reviewing Smith's work,
Poinsett (1980) reported that black students still complained of feeling
depressed, alienated in PWI's where the environments were described as
"hostile" (p. 55). Perhaps worst of all, black students are still expe
riencing the negative effects resulting from the apparent belief of white
faculty and white students that all or most blacks are special admission
students or are enrolled to meet affirmative action quotas, and therefore
are not legitimate students. Successful adaptation and the onus to
develop improved relations between black students and their institutions

5
must be borne by both parties. Gibbs (1977) echoed these sentiments in
an article on the problems of black students at integrated colleges, and
offered this prediction:
There will continue to be ethnic tensions in the foreseeable
future, so that blacks will continue to be perceived as a
minority and treated in a somewhat different manner. How
ever, the challenge for the students and the universities is
learning to adapt to each other for the mutual growth and
vitality of both constituencies, (p. 56)
Statement of the Problem
The research reported here examines the perceptions of a small group
of black freshmen about their academic and social adjustment to a pre
dominately white southern university. The purpose was to discover the
behavioral patterns used by students in adjusting to the university
environment and the perspectives they developed in solving problems
during their first two terms. This study is an exploratory one which
sought answers to the following questions:
1. What phenomena influenced black students' perceptions of their
academic and social adaptation to a predominately white
university?
a. In what activities do students participate as they adapt to
the university?
b. What groups do students interact with in adjusting to the
university?
c. What are the students' feelings about the ways in which they
adjust to the university?
d. What institutional policies and/or traditions do students
perceive as affecting their adjustment to the university?

6
2. What patterns of behavior are exhibited by students in their
adjustment to the university?
3. What are students' perceptions about race as a factor affecting
their adjustment to the university?
4. What perspectives do students develop to solve problems they
encountered in the university?
Although many surveys and studies have been conducted to determine
the attitudes, conditions, and perceptions of black students adjusting to
white campuses, few have sought the perceptions of defined groups within
the black college population, that is, black freshmen, and none have uti
lized an open-ended interview method or directed questions towards the
collection of data which would begin to reveal the nature of the inter
connections between social and psychological processes as black students
make the transition from their home communities and schools to the
university community. In a preliminary way, this study was designed to
accomplish this goal.
Justification for the Study
This exploratory research was designed to identify phenomena that
influence the adaptation of black freshmen on a predominately white
campus, and to formulate new hypotheses for further study. Though many
black students at predominately white institutions learn to cope with and
survive in their environments, even more do not; moreover, the staff and
faculty at these institutions are not aware of some of the problems and
concerns experienced by students, nor how to help them. High attrition
rates often result from this lack of understanding between university

7
personnel and minority students resulting in a low graduation rate for
black students. Goodrich (Note 1) summarized a few reasons for the
attrition of black students at the First National Think Tank on Blacks in
Predominately White Colleges and Universities:
While attrition is a problem for the college student popu
lation as a whole, it is particularly so for the (ethnic)
minority students attending predominately white universi
ties. In addition to financial and academic difficulties
which typically contribute to student attrition, the minor
ity student faces an unfamiliar and frequently unsupportive
environment. The low percentage of minority faculty and
support service staff, the dearth of cultural and social
programs geared to minority students, and the indifference
or hostility of many administrators and faculty make it
extremely difficult for even the better prepared minority
student to adapt to the college environment, (p. 3)
Willie, Kramer, and Brown (1977), authors in a text on racial
relations and mental health, recommend that more studies be conducted as
a means of adding significant knowledge for greater understanding of
black students at predominately white institutions.
An investigation to identify the social and psychological phenomena
entailed will provide insights into the adaptation of students to each
other and to the campus. Knowledge of these phenomena may also help
develop measures to facilitate adaptation. Documenting student percep
tions and perspectives about college is critical to better understanding
of the ways in which students adapt to the university. In their pioneer
ing study on college student life, Becker, Geer, and Hughes (1968)
described this void in understanding the everyday life of students:
Everyone writes about college students. Many people have
studied them. Yet in all the vast literature that has
accumulated, we find very little that gives any sense of
either the overall dimensions of college life, as students
see them, or of the ordinary, routine everyday character it
has for them ... we should study students' views of their
own experience because, we think, it is the best way to find
out what influences these features of student behavior we

8
are interested in. If we do not see it as they doas a
dense network of social relationships, institutional
demands and constraints, and temporarily connected
contingencies--we will not be able to understand what they
do. (pp. 1-2)
This study reported here reveals students' perspectives about their
everyday activities within the settings of classrooms, extracurricular
activities, living arrangements and natural groupings on the campus.
Finally, this study was conducted to emphasize the need for more
field research in the area of social relations in education. Field
studies conducted in natural, realistic environments are particularly
meaningful in developing new hypotheses, discovering relations among
variables, and laying the groundwork for more rigorous testing of ques
tions and hypotheses (Kerlinger, 1973). The approach that seeks to
understand life in the context and setting of the person being studied is
referred to by anthropologists, sociologists, and other behavioral scien
tists as an in vivo study. It requires the technique of participant
observation, as a means of collecting data, and utilizes a combination of
techniques such as interviewing and surveys, to facilitate the under
standing of persons in their own setting. This study utilizes the
participation-observation method, questionnaire and interview in
collecting data.
Use of varied techniques is becoming more popular in educational
research, but is usually confined to the social sciences. In their book,
Unobtrusive Measures, Webb, Campbell, Schwartz and Sechrest (1966) des
cribed the limitations of single instrumentation in conducting research,
and advocated (whenever possible) a multiple operational methodology for
more reliable results (pp. 105). Pelto (1970) has also described multi-
instrument research as a means which "greatly enhanced the credibility of

9
research results" (p. 145). Two early studies on black students at white
universities used a combination of the participant observation method and
a questionnaire in documenting the perceptions of students about their
college experiences. These studies added to the general body of informa
tion about black students' adaptation on the predominately white campus.
Willie and McCord (1972) in Black Students at White Colleges, and George
Napper (1973) in Blacker Than Thou: The Struggle for Campus Unity, pro
vide important data about black students, yet little is known about the
everyday activities of black college students attending predominately
white campuses.
Like some other studies (Willie and McCord, 1972; Peterson,
Blackburn, Gamson, Circe, Davenport and Mingle, 1978), this study was
conducted on a single campus. However, it is not a comparative study of
perceptions between blacks and whites, does not use a large staff to
conduct the study and interpret the data, and is not a study that simply
utilizes statistics from surveys or questionnaires to convey perceptions
of black students as a homogeneous group. Rather, this study is one of a
few conducted on a southern campus which seeks to examine (1) the
perspectives and adaptive behavior of one particular group of black
students--freshmen--(not a mixed classification of students) and (2) to
identify phenomena that influence their perceptions and adaptations
through a variety of research tools.*
*The research was conducted by a former administrator at the institution
where the study took place. Her familiarity with the institution, its
traditions, policies, and practices enhanced her ability to develop
insights and hypotheses which an outside observer might have had
difficulty in grasping during the two terms the study was completed.

10
Methodology
This study was designed to be exploratory since research on this
topic is relatively new, and not much is known about the adaptation pro
cess of blacks on white campuses. Sellitz, Jahoda, Oeutsch, and Cook
(1959) found that with exploration research, "the major emphasis is on
the discovery of ideas and insights" (p. 50). Katz and Festinger (1953)
described exploration study as a kind of field study which seeks what is
rather than predicts relationships to be found (p. 25). In examining
student perceptions and adaptive behavior patterns, the researcher
designed the exploratory field study to discover relationships among
certain variables affecting perceptions in the adaptive process and to
formulate new questions and hypotheses about black students' adaptation
to predominately white universities.
Although this study was not itself a community study, the perspec
tive of the researcher in designing the interviews and making observa
tions of students was strongly influenced by this approach. As noted
earlier, the community study method is familiar to sociologists and
anthropologists who have utilized this method to attain a naturalistic,
or real life picture of the processes which occur between and among indi
viduals in a given environment. Arensberg and Kimball's (1972) defini
tion of the community study is simple and easy to understand:
Community study is that method in which a problem (or
problems) in the nature, interconnections, or dynamics of
behavior and attitudes is explored against or within the
surround of other behavior and attitudes of the individuals
making up the life of a particular community. It is a
naturalistic, comparative method. It is aimed at studying
behavior and attitudes as objects in vivo through observa
tion rather than in vitro through isolation and abstraction
or in a model through experiment, (p. 29)

11
In his reflections on his field research for Street Corner Society,
Whyte (1943) commented on how he used this method.
Although I could not cover all Cornerville, I was building
up the structure and functioning of the community through
intensive examination of some of its parts in action. I was
relating the parts together through observing events between
groups and between group leaders and the members of the
larger institutional structures of politics and the rackets.
I was seeking to build a sociology based upon observed
interpersonal events, (p. 358)
The community study method seeks to describe what is natural and is
different from controlled experiments. The four major characteristics of
any community study as described by Arensberg and Kimball (1972) are as
fol1ows:
1. The community under study must be a whole or representa
tive community. In other words, a reasonable representation
of the different sexes, ages, classes, sects of the majority
and minority members of an area must be present or included
in the defined community. Each and every segment does not
have to be represented in each study. However, Arensberg
stated that "the community is still representative which
knows and deals with persons and things of its culture and
society, as long as a minimal number, a minimal contact, and
a minimal continuity connects them . pattern and aware
ness, structuring and relationships, not numbers is of the
essence" (p. 25). The method is by nature comparative since
it must be alike or different from some other community.
2. Several techniques of observation and data collection
must be used. Examples of techniques used in this type of
study include questionnaires, surveys, in-depth interview
ing, participative observation, sociometrics, and house-
to-house canvasses.
3. Third, there is a requirement to reexamine existing
data. Simply stated this means that the researcher cannot
assume that data already collected are the most accurate,
even though he/she uses it.
4. Fourth, a new working model is required as a result of
this hypothesis--generating comparative methodology. The
community study technique evolves ideally into model build
ing through three stages: (a) construction of the model
through the data collected, (b) comparison with other exist
ing models or those examining exact data collected before
this study (see characteristic (3), and (c) integrating
problems within the new model created by study, (pp. 31-34)

12
Effective model building depends heavily on the completeness and consis
tency with which results are fitted into the community studied, the
experience and insight of the research, and finally on the accuracy of
the technique used to collect data. Details of model building will be
described in data analysis.
Pilot Study
Prior to designing the study, the researcher conducted an informal
pilot investigation to help identify phenomena that influenced the
adaptation of black students to Orange State University (OSU) campus in
Mainsville.l During the Fall quarter, 1977, twenty-five currently
enrolled black students were contacted by telephone and invited to a
meeting to share their experiences about adapting to the University.
The students were selected by the researcher and the Assistant Dean for
Minority Affairs at the University. The nature of the research was
explained and the students were assured of the confidentiality of the
information. Twelve students agreed to participate in the pilot study
including one sophomore, six juniors, four seniors, and one graduate
student. Each student had entered the University as a freshman, and
agreed to share feelings and experiences about adapting to the
University.
The researcher met with the students in a November in the Afro-
American Cultural Center on campus. The students were divided into three
small groups in which they shared the positive and negative experiences
^These are pseudonyms for the name of the city and the name of the
university.

13
about adaptations to the University. Afterwards, they were asked to join
the researcher and share the same with the entire group. Tape recordings
were made of the large group discussions.
Data collected from the pilot study and the review of the literature
were used in designing the study formulating questions for the investiga
tion and for defining categories for analyses.
Sample
The admissions officer at the University who recruits minority
students provided the researcher with a list of black freshmen accepted
for admission to the Winter term. The researcher suggested that he relay
the general nature of the study to the new students and inform them of
the researcher's intent to contact them. This was done and facilitated
the introduction of the study to the students. Fifteen students were
contacted by the recruiter and were receptive to being contacted by the
researcher. This type of sampling is called purposive. "The basic
assumption behind purposive sampling is that with good judgment and an
appropriate strategy one can hand-pick the cases to be included in the
sample and thus develop samples that are satisfactory in relation to
one's needs". (Sellitz et al., 1959, p. 520)
A letter explaining the study and introducing the researcher was
mailed to the students in December. Included in the letter was a stamped
post card addressed to the researcher, which requested the student's
signature if she or he agreed to participate in the study (see Appendix
A). Eight of the fifteen students responded affirmatively, and five were
eventually chosen to assist with the study.

14
One week after their arrival on campus, the researcher contacted
each student by telephone to arrange individual appointments to discuss
their participation in the study. All five of the students agreed to
participate in the study and gave their permission for the researcher to
tape interviews and to observe them in various campus activities.
Instrumentation and Data Collection
The researcher developed a semi-structured, free response, interview
guide which was designed to stimulate discussion with the students about
their activities, interactions, and feelings as they were adjusting to
the University (see Appendix B). Students were asked questions and given
the freedom to respond as they wished. This guide was used in weekly
interviews with students for a ten-week period. All interviews were
arranged in advance and were conducted at an appointed place and time
at the mutual convenience of the student and researcher. Four students
lived on campus and met with the researcher in their dormitory rooms, or
a lounge or lobby of their living areas. The fifth student lived off-
campus, and arranged meetings with the researcher in the student union or
other places on campus. A common interviewing procedure was followed
with each student. All interviews were taped on a portable cassette
recorder. The weekly interviews lasted for thirty minutes.
Data were also collected for the study through administration of a
questionnaire developed by the researcher. Using items from (1) a ques
tionnaire developed by Jones, Harris and Hauck of Bucknell University
(1975), (2) the Arts and Sciences Faculty of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill (1978), and (3) some original ones of her own,

15
the researcher created a semi-structured, open-ended survey of students
to seek data under the following headings (see Appendix C):
(A) Demographic Data
(B) Entrance and Orientation to the University
(C) Academic Advisement and Registration
(D) Classroom Experience
(E) Study Habits
(F) Personal-Social Experiences
(G) Black-White Relations
(H) Administrative-Student Relations
The questionnaire was administered to each student individually
after the final weekly interview. These data were collected for compari
son with the data gathered in the regular weekly interview, as one means
of verifying their reliability.
The third method of collecting data was through observation of the
students in some of their campus settings. The researcher was able to
act as a participant observer with the students during weekly interviews,
through unscheduled interaction at campus activities, and during pre
arranged class visits during the two quarters.
The last method of data collection was examination of the official
documents published by the University which explained or described cer
tain policies, programs and activities which were in effect or were prac
ticed during 1977-78, the period of the research. The documents consisted
of the Undergraduate Catalogue, the Student Handbook, and the annual
report of the Special Support Services. In addition, student records and
the winter and spring issues of the daily student newspaper were examined
and analyzed. All data were collected and analyzed by the researcher.

Data Analysis
Continuous Phase
In anthropology, data collection is not separate from data analysis.
Kimball and Burnett (1973) express the point of view as follows:
...as always, data collection and analysis, substantive
conclusions, and problem formulation, and expansion of
conceptual tools were all intimately connected, (p. 49)
The data in this study were analyzed as they were collected. A
continuous review of information was conducted as it was collected,
especially from the interviews and the participant observation. These
data were then compared to the data from the questionnaire. As a more
complete picture of each student evolved from week to week, individual
personal experiences were compared and reviewed. The difference in data
collected from each student were reviewed, and special attention was
given to student perceptions, about similar events, and their reactions
to common variables in their environment, i.e., faculty, the registration
process, examinations and the like.
The perceptions and collective perspectives of the students evolved
as the analysis occurred and are reflected in the findings reported in
Chapter II and in the analysis presented in Chapter IV. In this latter
chapter specific student perspectives on peer relationships, academic
performance, and university officials are described in the sections
entitled "Make New Friends, But Keep the Old," "If I Study More, My
Grades Will Improve," and "I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students".
A comparative analysis was also made of the data pertaining to
students' behaviors in small groups and social systems. Data were
collected in which students described their relationships within groups

17
and social systems prior to attending college, and those they created
after entering the university. Using Homan's (1950) methodology for
studying the small group as a means of understanding people and their
relationship to society, the researcher utilized the three elements of
(1) activity, (2) interaction, and (3) sentiment in analyzing the
students' relationship to others and their environment. The focus of
this phase of analysis was on peer group and kin groupsthose estab
lished prior to entry to college and those established after entry. The
social system as defined in anthropology was also a guide in this phase
of the analysis. The system is defined by Arensberg and Kimball (1972)
in this way:
A system is seen as composed of a number of individuals
united by ordered relations, existing in time and space,
each individual responding in a customary manner towards
others within the system (or outsiders or events which
impinge on the system), the nature of interaction (ordered
relations and custom) being an expression of the values
affected by the situation or event which stimulated the
response, (p. 270)
This examination of the human groupings revealed vital information about
adjustments and behaviors of students to the campus. The adaptative
group behaviors of the freshmen are also described in Chapter IV.
Model Building
The integration of early findings with those later discovered is a
major challenge of the community study method. With all the data
collected and analyzed, it was still difficult to determine which data
were most appropriate to synthesize in order to present a clearer picture
of student perceptions and perspectives as these unfolded during the
course of the research. Comparisons were made in this study of the pilot

18
study data, the findings of other researchers and the data from the
students studied here in order to help clarify and answer the questions
raised in the statement of the problem. It is through combining ideas,
data and insight into a descriptive, understandable model that new
hypotheses are developed for further research. Arensberg and Kimball
(1968) referred to a "living" model that evolves from the community study
approach, as opposed to one that is hypothetical or confirmed. They
expanded this definition to distinguish it from other types of analysis.
Primarily it is a method of thinking about facts, organization,
priority and relevance. It is empirical, inductive, and
examines behavior through events in time and place. It is
concerned with the qualities of items or traits and their
relationship with other traits within the stable or changing
conditions of the several environments--physical, cultural, and
social--within which they appear, (p. 695)
The combined analysis of the case studies was the basis for model
building in this study.
A Look Ahead
Before turning to the data of this study, Chapter II presents a
literature review of black student adjustment at four year institutions,
citing problems of students and university personnel; descriptions of
adaptative behaviors of black students on predominately white campuses;
and a theoretical framework for studying adaptation. The initial view of
students' perceptions, perspectives and behaviors is described in
Chapter III which reports the findings for each individual, and in
Chapter IV which examines the students' collective perceptions and
perspectives. The understanding of these which emerged after the study
was completed is reviewed in Chapter V, which also presents the
conclusions of the study and recommendations based on these conclusions.

CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Overview
Since the advent of equal educational opportunity in higher educa
tion, research on minorities in this setting has been voluminous. Most
research has been about the black minority student (Bayer, 1972, Nieves,
1977) and has emphasized admissions procedures, compensatory education
programs, and various problems of black and white student interaction.
Although these topics are important, and to some degree influence a
student's perceptions and behavior, the focus here is limited to how
black freshmen adapt to everday life in their new campus environments.
This review was also limited to studies at four year institutions. In
this chapter, the reader will find
(a) A review of current characteristics and problems of black
students who attend predominately white institutions, including
a special study on blacks attending a southern university,
(b) Descriptions of studies that reveal behavior patterns and
adaptive modes exhibited by black students on predominately
white campuses and how students develop perspectives to handle
problems they encounter,
(c) A summary of the historical and current response of predomi
nately white institutional personnel to black students, and
19

20
(d) The theoretical framework used in studying the adaptation,
perceptions, and development of students' perspectives on
adjusting to college.
Mho Is This Black Person in Higher Education?
One of the most thorough descriptions of black students who attend
predominately white campuses is found in William Boyd's book,
Desegregating America's Colleges--A Nationwide Survey of Black Students,
1972-73 (1974). This study was the first national survey of black
students who attend predominately white colleges. The study was historic
for this reason, and also because it was conducted by a core of black
professionals. Similar studies have been limited to one campus and have
been conducted by a single black or white researcher (Astin, 1975;
Willie, 1972).
Nine hundred and ninety personal interviews were conducted at 40
public and private colleges and universities across the country. Boyd's
sample included 785 black students, and 194 black or white faculty
members and administrators. The findings present the general character
istics of black students, and then provide details about the interaction
of black students, black faculty and the administrators of colleges and
universities in the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western United
States. The study clearly attacks the myth of uniformity of character
istics among black students. Too many personnel in higher education view
the following description as the norm for al 1 black students:
He is "Mr. Special Admit": poor, ill-prepared, in need of
remediation, "high risk" in that he is likely to fail (and
to demonstrate rather than fade away quietly), and "street"
rather than "middle class" in value system and life style.

21
(Students may be considered "special admits" at any given
school because they possess one or any combination of these
characteristics). (Boyd, 1974, p. 4)
As a rule, black students are grouped, labeled, and are rarely perceived
as different from each other at the PWI's. In addition, few campus
administrators and faculty take time to view the many similarities
between black and other students. Boyd stated this about these
misperceptions:
In order to understand black students as a nonmonolithic
group and to be able to respond to their needs more effec
tively, it is necessary to explore in some detail the areas
in which great similarities exist as well as those whose
great diversity is the rule. This is particularly important
because some of the areas where no majority exists...are
ones which have been used as "proof" of uniformity among
black students. The areas in which the largest majorities
exist, on the other hand, have received little attention
because they tend to apply equally to all students regard
less of race. (p. 5)
Boyd found very few similarities of a striking nature among black
students. At least 80 percent of the students in his study were
unmarried and graduates of public high schools, maintained "C" averages
and participated in classes at least as much as other students, and were
usually able to obtain adequate help with their problems by using some
combination of the resources available to them (p. 5). More importantly,
at least two-thirds of the students shared some obvious, and some less
well-known characteristics which heavily influenced their careers in
higher education.
Characteristics pertinent to this research with citations on each
topic of recent research by others follow:
Black students were dependent on financial aid as their primary
source of money for funding their college educations. Sixty-eight

22
percent of the students in Boyd's study were dependent on loans, scholar
ships or veteran's benefits to support their schooling. Twenty-nine per
cent listed scholarships as their primary source of aid, and 20 percent
received primary funding from their parents. Nineteen percent received
loans from sources outside the institution. Obtaining sufficient aid is
critical to the student's survival in school (p. 5).
In his study of college dropouts, Astin (1975) found that blacks were
much more likely than whites to check financial difficulties (43 percent
versus 27 percent) as the reason for dropping out of college (p. 17). The
reason for this is clear--a greater proportion of black students come from
low income families which are unable to contribute significantly to their
education (Astin et al., 1972; Bayer and Boruch, 1969).
Centra (1970) also found that black students relied heavily on
scholarships for financial support. Two-thirds of the black students in
his study on freshmen received some scholarship money, and 16 percent
received at least three-fourths of their support from scholarships. In
contrast, only one-third of the white students were supported by scholar
ships. Twenty-seven percent of the black students received no parental
support, and 24 percent received a quarter or less of their college
expenses from their parents, whereas 43 percent of the white students
received 75 to 100 percent of their college expenses from parents.
Centra's sample, however, differed significantly from Boyd's in that 85
percent of his sample came from small, private colleges with very small
black populations. Still, the pattern of funding education was similar in
both studies.
In his 1972 study of characteristics and trends of black freshmen,
Bayer found that 25 percent of the black students as opposed to 10 percent

of the white students were very concerned about finances for college,
(p. 16)
23
Most black students must work to supplement their primary source of
funding. Working is more the norm than the exception for black students
attending college. In Boyd's (1974) study 73 percent of the students
held at least one job. Fifty-four percent worked 11 to 20 hours per
week, and 20 percent worked 21 hours per week. (p. 6)
Bayer and Boruch (1969) found in their American Council on Education
(ACE) report on freshmen, that two-thirds of the black students in the
study worked full or part-time, as opposed to one-half of the white
students.
. Black students feel inadequately prepared for college. In Boyd's
1974 study, 71 percent of the students felt that they would prepare them
selves differently if they had the opportunity to do so again. Consist
ent with this feeling, 52 percent rated their college preparation as fair
or poor (p. 7). Similar findings are reported by Hedegard and Brown
(1969) in their study of black and white freshmen at the University of
Michigan. Black students felt they were less well prepared academically
than the average white student.
In a 1976 study of black students at the University of Florida,
Taylor (Note 2) found that black students chose poor academic preparation
as the second biggest problem they experienced in adapting to the pre
dominately white campus. Nieves (1977), Crossland (1971), and others
concur with these findings.

24
Bayer (1972) found that despite good high school grades, 53 percent
of the black freshmen in the 1971 ACE study felt they needed tutoring or
remedial work, particularly in mathematics.
At the University of Maryland at College Park, Brooks and Sedlacek
(1972) found that all but 16 percent of their 1972 black freshmen
indicated an interest in the tutorial or remedial help programs, (p. 2)
Very little data have been recorded about whether black students
actually receive the help they indicate they need. However, Boyd's study
(1974) reported that a majority of students do not feel they have
received any special help, even though many were admitted under special
programs which supposedly provided such services. Seventy-three percent
of the students believed they received no special or preferential treat
ment in any phase of their experience at college. Sixty-six percent said
they received no academic help whatsoever (pp. 7-8). However, Nieves
(1977) and others (Taylor, Note 2; Hazeur, Note 3) report that black
students often do not use the services they know they need.
They simply do not avail themselves of the services
provided--perhaps because of the class and ethnic gulf
between them and most counselors, perhaps because they feel
their problems are outside the ken of white counselors,
perhaps because they feel the counsel they receive is too
abstract, not directly applicable to their problems.
(Nieves, 1977, p. 5)
Black students are confident of their ability to succeed. Their
confidence in succeeding is seen as admirable, yet somewhat unrealistic
by some educators, especially in light of the admitted need for academic
assistance. Hazeur (Note 3) stated that young black freshmen envision
college as an extension of high school and are not aware that they will

25
need better study habits and skills to cope on campus. Harper (1971) and
Nieves (1977) concur with this observation.
Boyd's (1974) findings also reflected this paradox. His study found
this:
Seventy-nine percent of those who received help feel that
they didn't need assistance, and 77% believe there was no
likelihood of their dropping out of college. This confi
dence was also reflected in their views on study habits--
72% felt that their study habits were as good or better
than those of other students, (p. 7)
Though working against seeming insurmountable odds, increasing numbers of
black students have matriculated at predominately white institutions,
perhaps because of this "unrealistic confidence", (p. 21)
A majority of the black students are poor, urban, first generation
college students. Sixty-five percent of the students in Boyd's study
came from families that have incomes under $10,000. Sixty percent of
these were first-generation college students, or the first in their
families to attend college. Of the students in the study, 59 percent
were from families in which neither parent had attended college. These
students were more likely to require substantial financial aid than those
whose families had incomes exceeding $10,000. Students from families
with incomes higher than $10,000 were more likely to attend college than
those from families with incomes less than $10,000, and were also less
likely to need substantial financial aid.
Hedegard and Brown (1969) found that the median income of the white
students in their sample was between $12,000 and $14,000, as opposed to
$6,000 to $10,800 for black students. They also found that 70 percent of
the fathers of black students had completed no more than a high school

26
education and were employed in unskilled or semi-skilled occupations.
Seven percent of the white fathers were semi-skilled or unskilled
laborers, and 55 percent had some graduate or undergraduate degree.
Bayer and Boruch (1969) reported similar finding.
Boyd's (1974) data indicated that a majority of black students
during the time of his study were enrolled in urban institutions in the
Northeast and the West. Moreover, 80 percent of these students were
enrolled in major urban areas, which were close to home (p. 29).
Female students differ significantly from black males in regard to
family background and academic behavior. Boyd found that twice as many
females (22 percent) as males (11 percent) indicate that both their
parents attended college. Also, 23 percent of the females as opposed to
15 percent of the males reported family incomes of $15,000 or more. This
may be one reason that there are more black females enrolled in higher
education institutions, (p. 18)
Another reason females outnumber males is related to the male role
as breadwinner. Often, due to the poverty of black families, the males
are seen as potential workers to increase family income for survival, and
drop out of primary and secondary school to work. Consequently, twice as
many females as males identified their families as their primary source
of financial support (Boyd, 1974).
Academically, males fare less well than females in predominately
white campuses. Boyd (1974) found that 31 percent of the females made
"B" averages as opposed to 21 percent of the males, and that 56 percent
of the males versus 46 percent of the females reported fair or poor
academic preparation for college. In addition, females have more contact

27
with faculty than do males. Yet the females report the contact as pri
marily negative and discriminatory. Of those males who were in contact
with faculty, 37 percent as contrasted with 46 percent of the females
described faculty contact as negative (p. 18).
Strader, Brooks and Sedlesack (1974) also confirmed a higher percent
age of black females as having interaction with faculty than did males.
Host of the students have never attended any other college. Sixty-
nine percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study had never attended
other colleges. Of those students who had attended other institutions,
over half were enrolled in public community colleges. Sixty-eight percent
had considered attending black colleges, which to date have been suffering
declining enrollment due in part to the increase in blacks in tradition
ally white institutions.
Black students still tend to major in traditional areas such as
social sciences. Despite a national trend in job opportunities away from
the social sciences and education, and towards the business and technical
fields, the majority of black students major in the social sciences or
education. Twenty-eight percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study
were majoring in the social sciences, 15 percent in education, and 15
percent in business (p. 9).
Drifting towards fields other than education seemed to be character
istic of all students, according to Bayer's 1972 freshmen study. Black
students were more likely to major in business, the social sciences,
education, and the health fields, while non-black students tended to
major in the physical sciences, engineering, and the biological sciences.

28
A decade later, Astin's (1972) study of freshmen majors confirmed that
black students are moving out of the traditional non-technical areas.
A large majority of black students aspire to graduate education,
though many have less than "B" averages (Bayer, 1972; Boyd, 1974; Centra,
1970). This seemingly unrealistic yet admirable desire to attend
graduate school has often been interpreted as the mechanism by which
blacks can bridge the gap which exists between employment opportunities
and salary differences between blacks and whites (Boyd, 1974).
Southern Study
This section describes a summary of findings in a study completed in
1970 at the same institution where the study reported herein was
conducted. Shenkman, the author, studied the first group of black
undergraduates accepted at the university. His study was designed to
determine how the new students were participating in the life at the
university. In so doing, he also documented characteristics, problems,
and other aspects of their lives on campus. Through interviews and
questionnaires he was able to collect data from half the black population
enrolled at that time. The following summary was selected from his study
of the 70 students.
A majority of the black students at the university come from
low income families. Only one quarter of all black students
have parents who are able to completely finance their
college education. Half of the black students are receiving
financial aid.
The great majority of black students at the university are
from the state. The majority come from predominately black
neighborhoods and graduated from predominately black high
schools. While in high school these students were extremely
active in all facets of extracurricular activities.

A majority of the friends of black students at the univer
sity are attending predominately black colleges and univer
sities. The major consideration of black students who
decided to attend the university was a financial one. The
major reason for black students wanting to attend college
was preparation for making a living.
Black students felt most favorable about professions, had
moderate opinions of white students, and felt least favor
able about administrators. Very few acts of discrimination
were reported having been committed by professors, white
students, or administrators in spite of a general feeling of
their being prejudiced.
Virtually all black students expressed a desire for more
black students, more black faculty, more black administra
tors, more Black Studies Programs, and greater opportunity
for nonfaculty black personnel. The desire for more black
students, however, was most often expressed (pp. x, xi).
Relatively few white individuals or organizations have made
positive overtures in the direction of black students. The
extremely small number of black students at the university
makes it possible for blacks to be ignored without creating
an unassiini 1 ated minority which conceivably could constitute
a threat to the stability of the social system of the
university. In addition, black students are ambivalent as
to whether or not they wish to be assimilated into the
mainstream of campus culture.
Blacks date, study, and socialize mainly with other blacks.
Nonacceptance by whites plays a relatively minor role in
explaining this phenomena. Blacks simply feel more comfort
able around other blacks than they do with whites. More
than actually participating to a greater extent with whites,
black students would like the option of being able to do so.
In order for Blacks to feel that they are first class
citizens in the social system of Orange University, they
must enjoy all the perogatives that true first-class
citizenship implies. There must be enough black students at
Orange University in order to give Blacks a representative
voice on campus. There must be more Black professors at all
academic levels in order to eliminate the feeling that
whites are the sole disseminators of knowledge and erase the
suspicions and fears that this type of thinking generates.
Finally, there must be Blacks in positions of power and
authority. A group cannot feel that it is of equal status
with other groups in a social system unless it has members
of its group in positions of prestige and leadership. These
leaders cannot simply be leaders to the members of that
group, but also must have authority and control over all
participants in the social system, (p. 164-165)

30
Shenkman's observations were the same as Boyd's regarding black
students' income (poor and dependent on aid), their home background
(urban), their family status in school (first generation) and their
feeling unprepared for college.
Problems of Black Students
The studies cited thus far have focused on the characteristics of
black students attending white colleges. What about problems in
adjusting? Some indeed arise from the differences between the new black
student and the traditional white student. However, many others are due
to the expectations of the new students about the campus as well as those
of the staff and faculty who are to receive them.
Gibbs (1973) provided an excellent summary of expectations of white
staff and administrators, and those of black students that reflect
problems they eventually faced in adjusting to each other on the campus.
Staff Expectations of Black Students
The staff related to black students on the basis of a set of
explicit and implicit expectations they held. In the absence of actual
contact, status expectations functioned as substitutes for knowledge.
An example of their expectations follows:
1. Black students would be assimilated into the University
community without needing any substantial alteration of academic
structure or programs

31
2. Black students were expected to compete academically with white
students who generally had superior high school preparation and
adequate study skills
3. Black students were expected to blend into the social-cultural
life of the campus, and
4. Black students were expected to be overly grateful for having
been given the opportunity to obtain a quality integrated
education (p. 463-464)
Black Student Expectations
As first generation collegians, many black students did not have
clearly defined college expectations. They had not undergone what
Hattenschwiller (1969) has described as anticipatory socialization'^
prepare them for the complexities of college life. That is, they had not
discussed it with persons knowledgeable about it, or read about it enough
to understand fully what it meant to attend college. Black students
expect
1. The university to be very flexible in responding to their
individual needs
2. College courses to be a continuation of high school work, and
were often confused by the qualitative and quantitative
differences in courses and study assignments
3. A greater diversity of activities and lifestyles at college
4. To have a greater contact with the black community surrounding
the campus, and

32
5. That they would contribute as much to the university as it
contributed to them, and this would benefit the institution
(p. 464-465)
The expectations of these two groups led to identifiable problems for the
students. These problems included
1. Difficulty in establishing meaningful personal identities
2. Conflict in interpersonal reactions with black and white
students
3. Problems in developing long range goals
4. Sexual and aggressive feelings, and
5. The problems of autonomy with no guidance (p. 465-466)
Nieves (1977) suggests that although problems which minorities
report are also characteristic of the average college student, they are
more severe because of the minority student's lack of preparation and
unrealistic expectations, (p. 2)
Some of the attitudes and feelings bred by such problems include
Feeling unentitled to college. Minority students often
report this feeling on attitude surveys, and faculty members
concur. Students often express self-depreciating opinions
by pointing to their inadequate academic preparation, low
grade averages, and low achievement scores. They also say
they feel uncomfortable with nonminority students and
faculty members because they are made to feel inferior,
unrespected, and different.
Loneliness and isolation. Many students feel a pervasive
stress stemming from insufficient opportunity to relate to
other minority group members on white-dominated campuses.
Unrealistic goals. Minority students enter college with
even less of a general idea of what they want to do than
traditional students. Minority students' aspirations and
career goals are either unrealistically high or
unrealistically low.

33
Fear of performance evaluation. Arriving on campus with a
long record or poor performance on nationally normed tests,
school grades, and other measures, minority students fear
failure and adopt avoidance behaviors rather than the
achievement-oriented actions that are essential to success
on the college campus.
Alienation from the dominant culture and style. Minority
students do not hve the benefit of the lifelong expectations
that accept the demands of college as the next, natural step
in personal development. They do not know what to expect.
Indeed, for most minority students, college environments
contain unfamiliar manifestations of racism.
Attribution of control to external rather than internal
sources. Minority students feel that they have little
control over events in their lives but must simply respond
to outside forces. Some students have described themselves
as "unsuccessful salmons swimming upstream", (pp. 2-3)
These attitudes and feelings are basic to the average minority
student attending college on predominately white campuses. This list is
by no means exhaustive, nor does it imply that these are feelings
experienced by every minority student attending predominately white
schools. Ballard (1973), Brown and Stent (1977), and Harper (1971)
report similar problems and feelings of black students on predominately
white campuses.
Expectations and perceptions of minority students about their new
campus experience were sometimes indistinguishable. The pilot study of
black students from different academic classifications revealed that
they had retained perceptions brought from home, and gained new ones
after entering college. Although there were no freshmen in the pilot
study, some of the perceptions were similar to those of the freshmen.
The following is a summary of the perceptions of the students in the
pilot study. The exact quotes from which the summaries were made are
presented in Appendix 0.

34
Social Peer Relations
1. Black students tend to separate themselves socially from others
(whites) on campus.
2. Sometimes black students do not help each other and turn to
whites before asking help of other blacks.
3. Black fraternities and other (black) organizations are very
helpful in the socialization process into campus life.
Studying
1. Black students feel pressure to perform by themselves" without
help (to study) from others. (This is believed to be an attempt
to prove that blacks are not inferior and that they can make it
without assistance).
2. Some black students who don't attend classes take advantage of
others who do by pressuring them to share notes.
Special Admissions Program
1. The Special Admissions Program (SAP) has improved over the
years and is an important service for black students.
2. Peer counselors play an important role in the SAP, especially in
helping students understand the (university) system and to
utilize the resources on campus.
Most black students would not be at OSU without the Special
Services Program.
3.

35
Academic Advising
1. Academic advising at OSU is inadequate, and many faculty are not
helpful at all.
2. Some black students do not seek professors for academic advice
because they are viewed by their peers as "begging for points"
or "trying to be the teacher's pet," and thus not having much
pride as a black person.
Faculty Relations in Class
1. Some Black students have experienced racial prejudice in the
classroom.
2. Often times, a black student's comfort in the classroom depends
on the extent of their experience with whites prior to attending
the university.
3. When black issues arise in class discussions, some blacks are
asked by professors to speak for all black people on the
specific issue.
4. Some students have been told by professors that they can only
earn predetermined grades in their classes.
Adjusting to Black/White Situations
1. Black students who attended integrated high schools had an
easier time adjusting to the university than blacks who attended
predominately black high schools.

36
2. Organizations, like ROTC, helped some black students get used to
being around whites.
3. Some black students deliberately chose a predominately white
school, to learn how to cope with the racial situations which
they believed they would eventually encounter in the work world,
after graduation.
Family Influence
1. The families of most black students are very supportive of their
educational pursuits, in a moral and financial sense.
2. Many students feel that their parents' limited educational
experiences prevent them from understanding some academic
problems they experience on campus. Since these experiences are
difficult to explain, students are left to fend for themselves
or find support from other sources.
Adaptive Behaviors
A large university campus is a microcosm of the general society.
Thus, the adaptive behaviors of blacks in the predominately white
American society parallel the behaviors of black students on the predomi
nately white campuses. Pettigrew's (1964) description of the three
models of response that blacks have to oppressive American society are
very much like the behaviors that Gibbs (1974) and Willie (1977) observed
and documented among black students on predominately white campuses. The
reactions of these black students are not unlike the culture shock

37
experienced by many international students who attend American institu
tions for the first time (Proctor, 1970) or Asian and Africans in
European universities (Ballard, 1973). Valentine (1971) has suggested
that black Americans' commitment to survival has forced them to deal
successfully in a bicultural society, i.e., in their own black culture
and that of the mainstream culture; having a commitment in both cultures
requires certain adaptive behaviors for coping with life (p. 143).
On the other hand, students' adaptive behaviors are influenced by
their environment, the campus milieu. University personnel including
administrators, students, faculty and staff, collectively, and individu
ally, influence to some degree how comfortable or uncomfortable students
are in their environment. The curriculum, social activities, and pro
grams reflecting the institution's philosophy have varying effects on
students as they attempt to fit into campus life. This section will
include a review of the black student's adaptive behavior in the new
campus environment, as well as the campus response to them.
Many educators have described the tension, misunderstandings and
problems between the two groups, which were in conflict during the
1960s. Perhaps more than others, the feeling of alienation is the
cultural problem which underlies all others, i.e., feelings of not
fitting into the major activities of the university. Ballard (1973)
depicts the current picture very well, though his reference is to an
early time when he was among the few black scholars attending
predominately white institutions:
This theme of alienation among Blacks who had the singular
chance to attend white institutions persisted in the pre-
World War I, and pre-World War II periods. Many seemed to
feel themselves in four-year exile in a strange and alien

38
white world which cut them off from their roots. From the
memoirs of such persons as J. Saunders Redding,, one gains a
sense of the way in which all Blacks--including the middle
class--viewed the prospect of education in an environment
which refused to acknowledge their existence, (p. 5)
Other characteristics describing the feelings of black students on
predominately white campuses included depression, anxiety, feelings of
failure, loss of self-esteem (Mackey, 1973).
Harper (1971) spoke of the related, intricate, and rigid bureau
cracy" which adds to the gap between students and their own environment,
which prevents the students from meeting their basic needs, i.e., love
and belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization (p. 257).
Thomas F. Pettigrew, Harvard sociologist, is noted for his book,
A Profile of the American Negro (1964). In the book, his discussion of
the Negro American's reaction to this relegation in the United States as
a second class, inferior human being by the majority, white society,
provides insight into how black students on a white campus might feel as
they become adjusted to the campus. The three modes of behavior
described are:
Moving toward the oppressor. Persons utilizing this means of coping
with society are seeking full acceptance as equal human beings. Racial
integration is the aim, and is reflected in national predominately black
organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, and The Urban League (p. 58).
Moving against the oppressor. This mode is characterized by aggres
sive reactions against the oppressor, as well as avoidance reactions to
the mainstream society, (p. 35)

39
Moving away from the oppressor. In this last major mode of coping
with whites, Pettigrew identified four categories: passivity and with
drawal, social insulation, passing, and extreme escapism.
1. Passivity and withdrawal. In this category, blacks generally
behave in a fashion typically misunderstood by whites who mis
take the passive acquiescence shown by blacks as indifference.
2. Social insulation. Characterized mainly by those blacks who are
of the middle class, this category is demonstrated by those who
can effectively stay away from their poorer brothers and sisters
and the uppity whites through economic means.
3. Extreme escapism. Most of the escape routes exhibited by blacks
are similar to those common to the general society, but to a
higher degree--alcoholism and drug addiction. These drugs can
place a person in another world without the problems and
pressures of racism, unemployment, and the general unhappiness
of the poor.
Almost a decade after Pettigrew's classic, Gibbs (1974), a psychi
atric social worker, utilizing his model, documented similar patterns of
behavior exhibited by black students at Stanford University. In her
study, of forty-one cases, 22 were female and 19 were male. The vari
ables used to analyze her data included socioeconomic status of the
student's family, the extent of the student's exposure to high school
integration, the student's ability to handle academic tasks, and the
student's feelings of self-adequacy. The patterns discussed from the
student's behavior were coping patterns directed toward the resolution of
the conflict generated by ethnic or sociocultural marginality. The first
three modes of behavior found in the student population are basically the

40
same as those Pettigrew (1964) found, and have been called mode of with
drawal, mode of assimilation, and mode of separation. However, Gibbs
(1977) found a fourth behavior, a mode of affirmation, which is found to
a lesser degree in students than other modes, yet appears to be one which
students can move towards, once they are more comfortable with themselves
and their new environment. The four modes are described below:
1. Mode of withdrawal. The mode of withdrawal is characterized by
apathy, depression, feelings of hopelessness, alienation and
depression, culminated in the student's wish to avoid contact
with the conflict-producing situation, i.e., to withdraw.
Withdrawal was the predominant mode, with 21 students (51
percent) exhibiting one or more forms of this syndrome and four
(10 percent) obtaining medical leave due to the severity of
their symptoms. Thus, for this specific sample, the student
from a working-class or lower-class family who attended a
predominately black high school had difficulty in handling
academic tasks.
2. Mode of separation. The mode of separation is characterized
by anger, hostility, conflicts in interpersonal relation
ships which may be expressed as rejection of whites, con
tempt for middle-class white values and behavior patterns,
and active protests against white institutions and customs.
[Among the five students who selected this mode, two were
involved in assaultive behavior, and three were involved in
militant protest activities which caused property damage on

41
the campus.] In this sample, the mode of separation seems
to be the second most likely choice for the non-middle-class
student who did not exhibit the withdrawal syndrome.
3. Mode of assimilation. The mode of assimilation is charac
terized by social anxiety, desire for acceptance and
approval, conformist behavior, compensatory overachievement,
and heightened sensitivity concerning ethnic references and
cues. Those students who avoided all contacts with other
blacks and who made deliberate efforts to conceal their
racial identity were in this category.
4. Mode of affirmation. The mode of affirmation is character
ized by self-acceptance, positive ethnic identity, hyper
activity, high achievement motivation, and autonomous self-
actualization behavior. Nearly one-fourth (ten cases) of
the students developed this pattern of response to a con
flict which, for most of them, was expressed in terms of
their inability to live up to their own ideal expectations
due to conflicting sets of pressures from blacks and whites.
These students attempted to merge those elements of black
and white cultural patterns that were syntonic with their
personalities and goals. In general, they had positive
feelings about their own ethnic identity, yet they were open
to new experiences, new values, and new skills that would
contribute to their successful adaptation to the college
environment.

42
Among the 9 students from professional and 18 from white-
collar families, one-third of each group developed the
affirmative mode. One (1) of the 11 working-class students
(9 percent) was in this category, and one of the 3 students from
the lower-class developed this pattern. Seven of the 21
students who attended integrated high schools and 3 of the
20 from predominately black schools demonstrated the affirm
ative mode.
Gibbs found (as did Pettigrew) that a majority of the population
chose the withdrawal mode for coping. Those choosing this mode also had
predominate feelings of inadequacy. Recognizing such behavioral patterns
in a student population could be critical to understanding them, and to
trying to effect change to enhance their matriculation.
Chester Hunt (1975), a sociologist, also identified three patterns
by which black students adapt to white campuses and constructed a typo
logy based on these patterns. He approached black student group adjust
ments from the perspective of the university and its response to the
student demands, which varied and often seemed extreme. The three cate
gories the separationists, the cultural pluralists, and the integration-
ists. Hunt defined these as follows:
1. Integrationist--those persons wishing to erase any reference
to ethnic identity.
2. Separatist--those persons wishing to remove themselves as far
as possible from any association with other groups.
3. Cultural piuralist--those persons wishing to preserve ethnic
identity and to function to a considerable extent within their

43
ethnic group, at the same time participating in the larger
society (p. 138).
It is interesting to note the similarity between Hunt's (1975) work
and that of Gibbs (1974). His category of Integrationist is analogous to
her Mode of Assimilation. The other similarity is his category of
Separationist and her Mode of Separation.
The category of pluralist is the only one that differs from others
cited heretofore, and is analogous to the Gibbs mode of affirmation.
This mode appears to be one of the most ideal and most effective coping
styles that could be adapted by students. It is comparable to what
Valentine (1971) referred to as a bicultural model of behavior, which
often is not recognized by whites in America. He explained this dual
socialization and its importance for adjustment and coping in the
mainstream culture:
The idea of biculturation helps explain how people learn and
practice both mainstream culture and ethnic cultures at the
same time. Much intra-group socialization is conditioned by
ehtnically distinct experience, ranging from linguistic and
other expressive patterns through exclusive associations
like social clubs and recreational establishments to the
relatively few commercial products and mass media produc
tions designed for ethnic markets. Yet, at the same time,
members of all subgroups are thoroughly enculturated in
dominant culture patterns by mainstream institutions,
including most of the contact of the mass media, most
products and advertising for mass marketing, the entire
experience of public schooling, constant exposure to
national fashions, holidays, heroes, etc...
In any case, biculturation strongly appeals to us as a key
concept for making sense out of ethnicity and related
matters: the collective behavior and social life of the
Black community is bicultural in the sense that each Afro-
American ethnic segment draws upon both a distinctive reper
toire of standardized Afro-American group behavior, and,
simultaneously, patterns derived from the mainstream
cultural system of Euro-American derivation. Socialization
into both systems begins at an early age, continues through
out life, and is generally of equal importance in most

44
individual lives. The obvious ambiguities and ambivalences
of all this are dramatized and sharpened by the fact that
mainstream Euro-American culture includes concepts, values,
and judgements which categorize Blacks as worthy only of
fear, hatred, or contempt because of their supposedly innate
characteristics. This is part of what radical and national
istic Afro-Americans mean when they refer to the "brain
washing" of their people, (p. 143)
The adaptive mode chosen by students are important, because they are
the means by which students function on the predominately white campus.
Recognizing the modes and understanding their relationships to successful
matriculation are critical for university personnel.
Developing Perspectives
Becker, Geer and Hughes (1968) define perspectives as "a coordinated
set of ideas and actions a person uses in dealing with some problematic
situation, to refer to a person's ordinary way of thinking and feeling
about acting in such a situation" (p. 35). These ideas and actions are
generated in a special context. A more detailed description by Becker
and Geer points this out:
Perspectives grow and persist in the course of students'
interaction with one another and with college function
aries. They are not individual responses to the problems
of college life, but collective ones--calculative in the
sense that the understandings contained in the perspective
are held in common and the actions contained in it are
intelligible within that framework of understanding. They
are collective, too, in being embodied in interaction, as
students teach, learn and transmit them in the course of
the routine activities of college life. (p. 36)
As black students enter the new predominately white environment, their
perceptions and expectations, whether clearly defined or inaccurate, are
the basis on which they develop perspectives about their new lives on
campus. Because many new black freshmen are first generation college

45
students, they do not have the experience of other students who have the
advantage of learning from family members of the complexities which
Hattenschwi11er (1969) described.
The perspectives which students develop about their academic and
social lives were of primary importance in this study. Students'
individual perspectives were identified, but their collective, group
perspectives as black freshmen were of greater even interest to the
researcher. Their collective freshmen perspectives are unique--just as
those of sophomores or seniors would be. Becker et al. (1968) expand
on how these perspectives are developed:
The perspectives thus exist as a more or less codified set
of ideas and conventional practices, sometimes being expli
cit, sometimes almost totally implicit. Students may deduce
the proper course of action from its ideas when they are in
the company of the students, or they may adopt practices
suggested to them by others and later find the justification
in their perspectives...Some students, thoughtful analysts
of the circumstances of their own lives, can state student
perspectives in a general and theoretical way. Others, less
thoughtful or less articulate, simply state or act on the
practical conclusions to be drawn from such an analysis, but
their actions and statements imply the more generalized
statement, (p. 37)
Students develop perspectives as their lives evolve on campus, especially
in relation to their peers. Perspectives are composed of three elements,
which are characteristic of those which students adopt: (1) definition
of the situation, (2) activities, and (3) criteria of judgement.
The first element, the situation, is a description of the character
or features of the situation in which some action must be taken. In
defining the situations, students most consider their goals in trying to
solve a problem, the organizational systems or people involved, the
rules--formal and informal--which affect their actions, and the reward
and penalties incurred by taking certain actions. Students, as a rule,

46
are aware of the impact that the various experiences that influence their
lives have on each other, and the way they define situations. That is,
they know that their dorm life, home life, participation in clubs,
friendships, all influence each other. Their academic and social lives
are influenced then by all aspects of their lives at school, not just the
academic and social activities in which they are involved.
The second element of perspectives is activities. Activities are
any actions in which students become involved. Individual or group
actions with formal groups or organizations on or off campus may be
classified as activities. Activities are dictated by the individual
interests of the students, their peers, and even their families.
Criteria of judgement is the last element in analyzing perspectives,
and is defined as the standard against which judgements are made. Peer
standards, those of the faculty, or those established by the administra-,
tors, can all be used by students to make certain judgements about them
selves or others. It is, however, the rewards of the system, such as
grades, which are used as criteria of judgement by students, more than
other standards. A final quote by the team of Becker et al. (1968) from
their book Making the Grade summarizes how students use the elements in
developing perspectives:
The picture one should have then, is of students going about
their daily activities, arriving at joint definitions of
situations and problems, working out solutions in light of
their common understanding of the situation, and engaged in
what seem to them to be appropriate actions, (p. 37)
In this study, the analysis which revealed the perspectives and
problem solving behaviors of these freshmen depended equally on their
historical experiences prior to attending college, and their new college
environment. The perspectives developed by students were primarily

47
situational, that is, to solve a particular problem. Some long range
perspectives were identified, but the nature of these were different from
the ones developed day-to-day.
Institutional Response to Black Students
Just as students' adjustment to the university is affected by the
things, i.e., background, characteristics, which they bring to the campus
environment, what they encounter and meet on the campus also influences
their adjustment. Burns Crookston (1975) described an ideal environment,
a campus milieu for student development, which reflects an area of human
and group interaction which each student faces on entering the
university:
What is our milieu? For our purposes it is more than the
physical environment in which the institution is located; it
includes the intellectual, social, esthetic, creative,
cultural, philosophical, emotional, and moral environments
as a totality; it includes the interactions among the indi
viduals in all such groups. Milieu involves the interface
between and among all those groups that comprise the insti
tution and the interface of these groups with outside groups
and environments. And it involves the impact of outside or
inside forces on the milieu, whether embracing or retard
ing, whether interactive or oppressive, whether collabora
tive or competitive, (p. 46)
The three major groups with whom students interact in this milieu
from the inside are administrators, faculty and their peers (Astin, 1968;
Peterson et al., 1978). A student's perception is influenced by his or
her reaction to those groups and the level of involvement with them
(Feldman and Newcomb, 1969).

48
Administration
As cited earlier, the majority of American institutions of higher
education were ill-prepared to receive black students; they were not
prepared for a student whose academic, social and cultural needs were not
the same as the white, middle-class students who were in the majority
(Ballard, 1973; Harper, 1971; Napper, 1973). As the chief administrator,
the president must set the tone for the university regarding policies
that affect black students. His/her commitment and support, or the lack
thereof, will be reflected in the entire institution. Presidents were
often targets of black student anger and were the main negotiators in
conflicts when demands were made of institutions (Proctor, 1970;
Peterson et al., 1978). In their study of several higher educational
institutions with programs for the disadvantaged student, Astin, Astin,
Bisconti and Frankel (1972) commented on institutional commitment:
Institutional commitment refers not just to the administra
tors' attitude, but to the attitude of the entire academic
community. The benevolent apathy of those outside the pro
gram that characterized so many of the case-study campuses
breeds frustration and resentment in the special students,
who all too frequently interpret indifference as hostility.
However well-intentioned the cause of ignorancethe admini
strative belief that publicizing the program attaches a
stigma to the participants--its results are destructive.
Moreover, the stigma is felt anyway. If understanding is to
be fostered, regular students and faculy members should be
given more information about the special program and the
students enrolled in it. Their active enthusiasms can and
should be enlisted, and their awareness of reciprocal
benefits increased to achieve those goals; provisions should
be made for greater interchange of students and personnel.
(p. 233)
According to Peterson et al. (1978), this commitment from the highest
administrative level of the institutions was not perceived by black

49
students nor other members of the university community when blacks were
first admitted to predominately white campuses.
Student Affairs administrators usually had more interaction and
experience with black students than faculty and other administrative
personnel. This was due primarily to the nature of their responsibili
ties, i.e., the adjustment of students to the non-curricular affairs of
the university (Peterson et al., 1978). Housing personnel, financial
aid officers, orientation staff and other student services personnel were
involved with many aspects of the black student's entrance into the
university. Cross (1975) and others have strongly advocated shifting the
burden from student affairs to the whole system to enhance the student's
chance for survival.
Many student services departments were responsible for hiring the
first black administrators in the predominately white universities. At
some institutions positions were created in order to hire someone to work
with black students; others recruited black staff for regular positions
already established. These black staff, wherever they were employed,
tended to be empathetic and supportive towards black students, who
responded the same to them. The black administrator in student affairs,
at times, was the only trusted resource for black students on the
predominately white campus (Napper, 1973; Ballard, 1973).
Faculty/Classroom Experiences
White faculty were often the least interested in helping black stu
dents adjust to the predominately white campus and offered great resist
ance to any change in curriculum or teaching style to accommodate these

50
new students. Black students can recount numerous incidents of negative
and degrading references to blacks in class, or a total disregard for the
role of blacks in society (Astin, 1978; Peterson et al. 1978). In seek
ing help from professors, blacks were often "treated like welfare clients
by bursars and financial officers" (Ballard, 1973, p. 70). Again, the
onus was on the student to change and measure up to the standards already
set before he was allowed to attend the institution.
Astin (1968) in his study of the college environment stated that
although the student spends less time in the classroom than in other
campus activities, the classroom experience is one of the most influen
tial experiences during the undergraduate years (p. 50). Many black
students then are indeed undergoing difficult experiences in some of
their classes.
Peer Environment
The peer group has been defined as the most powerful and influential
in a student's life on campus (Sanford, 1967; Astin, 1968). Most stu
dents seek acceptance by fellow students and are eager to fit within a
group of their choice. Black students have the same feelings and need to
belong (Harper, 1971), but have the unique distinction of color and
history that separate them from most other groups on campus. Black
students fall into what Trow (1962) labels the non-conformist, sub
culture at institutions, that has its own values, norms, and activities
outside other typical culture groups.
White students, like their administrators and faculty, were dis
appointed when integration did not automatically occur. The newly

51
recruited black student was militant, not grateful for admission, demand
ing, not acquiescent, and unwilling to compromise in the face of defeat--
all of which were unexpected by their white counterparts (Hunt, 1970;
Peterson et al., 1978).
Early in the 1960's many black and white students marched and sat-in
together, demanding changes in administrative policy. Soon, however, the
split was precipitated both by the prevailing Black ideology of
"separatism'1 and by a basic distaste among black students for the whole
lifestyle of the white "radical" (Ballard, 1973). More importantly,
demands of black students were for changes in concrete, mundane issues
regarding financial aid, admission and the curriculum, while white
radical demands were more diffuse and involved forces outside the
university. (Ballard, 1973)
Green (1971) emphasizing the need for administrators to take note of
black students' demands, suggested that meeting the need of black
students did in fact address some general education problems that needed
solving. He cited these ills that needed attention:
1. Neglect of undergraduate teaching
2. Lack of curricular innovation
3. Failure to relate classroom instruction to society's problems
4. High student attrition, and
5. The arbitrariness of certification and credential systems
(p. 31)
Today, the interaction between the two student groups has not
changed significantly. In the May issue of the Chronicle of Higher
Education, Middleton and Sievert (1978) cited these comments from

52
students and faculty (of both races) about the increasing racial tensions
and lack of black-white interaction on campuses were cited:
There are a lot of peopleboth black and white--who would
like to see what it's like on the other side, but never take
that step.
There's a lot of peer-group pressure to stick with your own
kind--a lot of distrust on both sides. The (whites) don't
speak their language and they (blacks) don't speak ours.
They (minority students) won't even talk to you. About the
only time anything gets going between us is during Black
Awareness Week. (p. 11)
Peterson et al. (1978), in their 13-campus study of institutions
with increasing black enrollments, found several patterns of racial
climates on the campuses between black and white student organizations:
Fully integrated. The organizational and activity patterns
of black and white student groups involve mixing of races
and accepting of the other race's interests and concerns.
Racially tense. The organizational and activity patterns of
black and white student groups assure mixing of the races,
but attitudes between the races are positive and accepting.
Racist. The organization and activity patterns of black and
white student groups involve separate racial patterns, and
attitudes between the races are negative and/or antagonistic.
(p. 205)
They found that most campus organizations were moving away from the fully
integrated, pluralistic patterns.
The data indicate that the traditionally white university faculty,
staff and students were not expecting to change to accommodate the new
black student. They were unprepared, "though not necessarily unable to
respond to the campus needs of their student populations" (Green, 1971,
p. 29). This does not mean that the traditionally white institutions
cannot or will not change to meet the needs of black students. What it
means is that there is much more work to be done by the personnel in

53
these institutions, both black and white, in order to create an environ
ment conducive to learning for all students.
Theoretical Framework
This examination of black students' perceptions and adaptive
behaviors embraces three sociological theories and a major anthropologi
cal perspective on culture: Cooley's (1910) theory on the social self,
Mead's (1934) symbolic interaction theory, Homan's (1950) reference group
theory, and Kimball and Burnett's (1973) perspective on the individual's
cultural world view. It was within the framework of these works that the
researcher was able to develop this study, and interpret the data
generated from it.
The Social Self
How students view their relationships with others depends in part on
how they view themselves. Awareness of self, according to Cooley (1910)
is one of the first steps in the socialization process, and is actually
an instructive feeling about self, which develops before relationships to
others are formed:
The social self is simply any idea, or system of ideas,
drawn from the communicative life that the mind cherishes as
its own. Self-feeling has its chief scope within the
general life, not outside of it . it is connected with
the thought of other persons; the self idea is always a
consciousness of the peculiar or differentiated aspects of
one's life, because that is the aspect that has to be
sustained by purpose and endeavor, and its more aggresive
forms tend to attach themselves to whatever one finds to be
at once congenial to one's own tendencies and at variance
with those of others with whom one is in mental contact.
(p. 823)

54
Cooley explained the development of the self in terms of an individual
looking at his expression and appearance in a looking glass. The indivi
dual sees himself and imagines what others see in his expression or
appearance. These imaginations then influence the behavior of the
individual and how he acts towards others. This phenomenon is well
described in Cooley's 1908 article, "The Looking Glass".
A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal
elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other
person; the imagination of his judgement of that appearance,
and some sort of self feeling such as pride or mortifica
tion. The comparison with a looking glass hardly suggests
the second element, the imagined judgements, which is quite
essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not
the mere mechanical reflections of ourselves, but an imputed
sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon
another's mind. (p. 231)
The imputed sentiment comes from the self and is projected on others with
whom the self encounters. This self perception can and often does
influence how one perceives others and is critical to understanding how
students perceive themselves and others they encounter in their campus
environment.
The concept of self was shared by a few other nineteenth century
social scientists, including William James, and James Mark Baldwin, but
was not fully developed in many ways, because of the criticism of its
unscientific, subjective nature (Manis and Meltzer, 1972). However,
George Mead's work on the process of self development revitalized
interest in Cooley's theory, and spawned a new school of thought called
symbolic interactionthe second theory on which this study is based.

55
Symbolic Interaction
Mead's theory of symbolic interaction, as discussed in his book,
Mind, Self and Society (1934), is very important in terms of understand
ing the meaning of the person, or self. Mead's key supposition (like
Cooley's) was that the human being has a self. Mead, however, went
further than Cooley, and related that the self can act towards itself and
toward others. Furthermore, he stated that this (acting towards self and
others) was the central mechanism by which a person deals with his world.
(Mead's works were organized and presented as a theory from his lectures
and notes after his death. Much of his work has been interpreted and
analyzed by colleagues and other professionals as is the case here.)
Mead (1934) felt that the self was a social process involving two
different phases, identified as the "I" and "me". The "I" represents the
spontaneous, impulsive tendencies of an individual; the "me" represents
the organized, incorporated, other, i.e., definitions, expectations, and
meanings. The interplay between the two gives rise to a person's
actions. Meltzer (1972) has described it this way:
The "I" being spontaneous and propulsive, offers the poten
tiality for new creative activity. The "me" being regula
tory, disposes the individual to both goal-directive activ
ity and conformity. In the operation of these aspects of
self, we have the basis for, on the one hand, social con
trol, and on the other, novelty and innovation. We are thus
provided with a basis for understanding the mutuality of the
relationship between the individual and society, (p. 11)
Coombs and Snygg (1959) in their book on Individual Behavior described
the phenomenal self as the aspects of the perceptual fields to which we
normally refer to when we say 'I' or 'me'. In common with Mead's (1934)
idea on self, they felt that maintenance of this phenomenal self was and

56
is the most crucial task of man's existence (p. 43). All behavior and
adjustments then could be seen in this light, i.e., maintenance of the
self, thereby offering clues to why individuals behave as they do.
Blumer (1962), in summarizing Mead's concept of symbolic inter
action, described how people incorporate other individuals and things
into this world:
This mechanism enables the human being to make indication to
himself of things in his surroundings and thus to guide his
actions by what he notes. Anything of which a human being
is conscious is something which he is indicating to himself--
the ticking of a clock, a knock at the door, the appearance
of a friend, the remark made by a companion, a recognition
that he has a task to perform, or the realization that he
has a cold. Conversely, anything of which he is not con
scious is ipso facto, something which he is not indicating
to himself, (p. 146)
This premise of "indication" is also the basis on which an individual
begins to interpret the actions and meanings of things or objects outside
himself. Through this interpretation, he or she can role play or take
the role of others in order to view himself or herself from the perspec
tive of the generalized other, which implies defining one's behavior in
terms of the expectations of others. The interpretation and ensuing
action is defined as symbolic interaction. It is distinct from an indi
vidual reacting to pre-existing objects in an environment Blumer con
tinued in his definition of symbolic interaction:
The term "symbolic interaction" refers, of course, to the
peculiar and destructive character of interaction as it
takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists
in the fact that human beings interpret or "define" each
other's actions instead of merely reacting to each other's
actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of
symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning
of one another's actions, (p. 145)
Thus, the individual acts on interpretation, of objects and other
individuals with whom he must encounter in his world. These deliberate

57
acts are preceded by what Thomas (1931) and Stebbins (1967) referred to
as a stage of examination called the definition of the situation. In
other words, defining the situation helps one determine how he will
behave in the situation. This "defining" also aids in determining how
one behaves towards certain individuals and groups.
The next theory is from the field of anthropology, and describes why
different people define the same situation in different ways.
Cultural World View
How one responds to others, and to his environment, identifies him
or her with a particular school of thought, social group, or culture.
Hill (1977) reports how one's perceptions of things are influenced by
one's environment, genes and culture.
Man's concepts of objects, properties, events and relations
(as symbolized in part by the vocabulary and syntax of his
language and the utterance formulated with it) are the means
by which he decodes signals from his environment and con
structs instructions for how to respond to them. In human
behavior, the symbolically represented and conveyed concept
has in large measure replaced the gene. Man's codes are
cultural, as well as genetic. ... Of course, linguistically
(and otherwise) symbolized concepts are not only mechanism
for decoding, representing, and transforming experienced
reality, and for constructing instructions to others. That
in turn implies some degree of standardization of both
concepts and symbols. Concepts and conceptions encoded in
symbolic media can be decoded only if the transmitter and
receiver operate within a commond code. (p. 4)
Without a common code, concepts cannot be understood, or decoded. Each
group or society defines the code (language as well as actions) for its
members and others interacting with them. When the transmitter and
receiver are not operating within a certain code or culture, then

58
perceptions, relationships, and responses to the environment are
necessarily perplexing.
How one codes and decodes is directly influenced by one's culture.
Kimball and Burnett (1973) described this cultural perspective in their
volume on Learning and Culture:
The cultural world into which each individual is born and
comes to maturity provides him with a conceptual framework
which permits him to organize his experiences in a meaning
ful manner. He learns to identify things, the relationship
between them and him, and specifies his own behavior in the
events in which he participates. ... It makes meaningful
to him the natural phenomena, the rhythms of nature, and
the origins and future of life. This system is thought and
its body of knowledge is called the world view. It gives
to the members of each specific society their distinctive
perspective. . Hence the meaning of items, acts, or
events must be sought within the context of each specific
culture. (Introduction, p. xi)
As the authors implied, the cultural world view of an individual is
critical to perceptions of everything and everyone with whom he or she
interacts. Reality is defined then for most people, the way their
culture has shaped them to see it.
Black students represent one of America's largest sub-cultures,
which within its boundaries has several sub-cultures, each with its own
world view (Valentine, 1971). Students who represent this sub-culture
have many perceptions of themselves and others that are reflections of
their culture, and which differ from those students or groups in the
majority at predominately white universities. On the other hand, they
are also influenced by the majority culture in which they live. In
addition, when they become students, they join yet another "culture,"
i.e., the student culture, where common characteristics and goals
influence their perceptions.

59
Kimball and Burnett's (1973) reference to the world view can be
thought of in terms of a perspective unique to certain groups. Since
group perceptions and perspectives are important in this study a look at
reference groups was necessary.
Reference Groups
In trying to determine who the others are with whom students inter
act when becoming adapted to the university setting, a look at reference
group theory was necessary. It was not until the publishing of Merton's
classic, Social Theory and Social Structure (1957), that social scien
tists began to use the reference group theory as an analytical tool to
understand man's behavior. Since that time the following two types of
reference groups have been identified most often: (1) the normative
type which sets and maintains standards for the individual, and (2) the
comparative type which provides a frame of comparison relative to which
the individual evaluates himself and others (Merton, 1957, p. 283).
Merton (1957) also identified a third type, which Sherif and Sherif
(1964) described in their study of adolescent behavior. This group is
one to which one aspires to gain acceptance to enhance one's own status.
Trying to belong to a certain group, or attempting to identify with their
norms was the way many of the adolescent boys in their study spent their
time. Seeking approval and/or memberships to groups outside one's own is
not unique to adolescents, but is characteristic of human nature. Use of
reference group theory will be utilized in the analysis of how black
students perceive themselves in relationship to other groups on campus.

60
This theoretical framework of the study provides a background which
facilitates the interpretation and analysis of the data. How students
feel about themselves, their world, and those with whom they interact can
be understood more clearly after citing theories which relate to these
respective areas.
Summa ry
In the literature review, the researcher found that most black
collegians in PWIs were urban, first generation college students who
believed they were not adequately prepared for college, academically.
They tended to major in traditional social sciences and educational
areas, although a trend seemed to be developing toward business and
science majors, especially with new black freshmen. Few black students
have realistic expectations of what college life is about, due primarily
to their first generation status, and lack of models who were familiar
with college life. Nevertheless, most black students were confident in
their ability to succeed.
Personnel on the PWI campuses were no better prepared to accept and
assist black students, than the students were prepared for the campus.
White faculty, staff, and students expected black students to fit into
the campus scene with little to no change on their part to accommodate
them. Frustration, alienation, and mutual misunderstandings resulted
from the typical unpreparedness of both groups. Too often, the onus was
placed on the black student to adjust with little hellep from the
institutional personnel.

61
The behavior most typical of the black students in response to the
new environment and personnel was withdrawal. Other modes of behavior
were cited, including one of affirmation in which the student embraced
his own culture while seeking to fit into the mainstream. Coping styles,
perception, and newly developed perspectives all influenced the students'
behavior and hence their ability to matriculate successfully.
Theories which explain the cultural world view, reference grouping,
and interaction of people assisted in the development of new insights
about how the black freshmen adjusted to the campus. Experiences from
their home environments mingled with their new college experiences
certainly made application of theory to finding important in this study.
Chapter III describes the researcher's findings.

CHAPTER III
THE WINTER TERM FRESHMEN
This chapter provides the reader with a history of the university
where the study was conducted and an introduction to the black freshmen
who experienced their first two terms there. The introduction to the
students includes the data collected from their interviews, question
naires, observations of them, and data from the university records at
that time. These data were collected winter and spring terms, or over
a twenty week period and are presented in part as case studies of each
student.
The categories in which data are presented include Family History
and Educational Background; Orientation and Registration; Friends at
Home/Friends at School; If I Study More, My Grade Will Improve; and I
Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students. Summaries follow each case study.
The Orange State University
Originally founded in 1853 as a segregated educational institution
for white men, Orange State University (OSU) now serves a coeducational,
multi-ethnic population of approximately 32,000 undergraduate and gradu
ate students. It is located in an agricultural district of 80,000
people, not including the student population. This land-grant institu
tion is one among three universities in the country offering such a wide
62

63
range of professional fields in a single campus. It is the largest and
oldest university in the state system, has several nationally ranked
departments, and is among the top 50 colleges and universities receiving
the largest amount of federal funds in the United States. It has the
largest number of graduate programs in the state, and employs a distin
guished faculty to uphold its excellence in teaching, research, and
service to the University community. Its school of agriculture, medi
cine, and law are well known in the South, and have been attended by many
educators, politicians, and professionals in the state.
Historically, the University's admissions personnel have offered
access to persons who (1) could afford to attend, (2) demonstrated their
potential for success by scoring well on standardized state or national
examinations, and (3) attained a high grade point average in high school.
The vast majority of students attending OSU come from middle and upper
middle class white families, thereby creating a significant disparity
between students whose family education and income do not equitably
compare.
Things have changed, though, spurred on by the advent of the equal
educational opportunity thrust of the 1960's. By 1970, OSU initiated its
largest experimental programs to enroll freshmen who, because of poor
preparation or some other factor, failed to meet the regular criteria for
admission. The prospective undergraduate students were selected on the
basis that they gave some indication that the normal criteria did not
give a true indication of their ability to succeed in university work.
(SREB, 1971). One hundred and ten of these students were black, and
fifty-seven were white. Admission of these students, and the initiation
of that program began OSU's commitment to provide equal educational

64
opportunity to the low income and high risk populations. Prior to that
time black students had not been admitted to the University at the under
graduate level. Black students were first admitted to graduate study at
OSU in 1969.
Since 1970, the University's commitment to equal educational opportu
nity has grown, and it currently participates in a state-wide admissions
program which allows each state university to admit ten percent of its
entering freshmen class who do not meet the standard admissions require
ments. To date, the majority of the black undergraduate students at the
University have been admitted through this special admissions program. At
the time this study was conducted, black students (graduate and under
graduate) represented less than six percent of the total student popula
tion, yet represented the largest ethnic group on campus.
Students entering under the special admissions program are required
to have a minimum high school average of "C", good references, and a
strong interest in attending college. Most of the students come from low
income families, and often do not have sufficient backgrounds in science
and/or English to compete successfully with regularly admitted students.
Most of these students also do not score well on standardized aptitude
tests, whether state or nationally administered.
In order to meet the needs of the specially admitted students, the
University, with the help of federal monies, established a Special Admis
sion Program. The purpose of the Special Admissions Program was to
enhance the retention rate of students, and to provide services to aid
their academic and social adjustment to the University. Specifically,
students were offered (1) special orientation to the University, (2) a
trouble-free pre-registration their first quarter in school, (3) personal

65
and academic counseling, (4) smaller classes, (5) individual and/or group
tutoring services, and (6) individualized grading on examinations in some
of their courses. All of these services were provided for the students
for one full (three terms) school term. This full year did not include a
six week summer orientation to the University which is attended by the
majority of special admission students in the summer prior to the fall of
their freshmen year.
A limited number of students are accepted for the fall and winter
terms without the benefit of the summer term. Students admitted without
the summer orientation usually have stronger academic backgrounds than
those admitted during the summer. However, most of the students are
encouraged to attend in the summer to take advantage of becoming adjusted
to the campus and the curricula without the pressure and the pace of the
regular school term.
The Special Admission Program is part of the undergraduate univer
sity college program and at the time of the study reported to the Dean of
the University College. A director with a secretary, counselors, and
peer advisors works with faculty and other university administrators to
assist the students admitted under this program. The students' first
introduction to the program, however, comes from an admissions officer
who recruits them to attend the university. The admissions officer who
recruits the majority of the black students who attend OSU is also black,
and plays an important role in introducing them to the university as a
whole.
The next section describes the individual situation of the five new
black students who were the subjects of this study. The case study pres
entations are written to report the findings, without discussion, yet a

66
synthesis of data has been made in order to make such a report. Major
themes and problems are identified in the summaries at the end of each
section.
Butch
Family History and Educational Background
Family history. Butch is the fourth male and the youngest child of
seven born to a black family in the South. His home city is located
approximately 80 miles from OSU. Though his parents were born and raised
in a small town in a neighboring state, they have resided in the home
city for 33 years. Butch was born and raised in the city, which is the
second largest in the state, with over 700,000 people. The family
members include uncles, aunts and cousins from both sides of the family.
They are close relatives, who also reside in various parts of the city,
and visit each other often, on weekends and holidays in particular.
Butch has a medium brown complexion, is approximately 5'6" tall,
wears a medium length Afro hair style, and dresses in a neat casual
fashion. He is friendly, talkative, and is serious about his school
work. His mother was a housewife who died suddenly in June, 1977, from
high blood pressure, the same month he graduated from high school. His
father is a laborer for a warehouse company where he has worked for
several years.
The family's annual income is less than $10,000 and was in the range
to make Butch eligible for financial aid to attend school. Butch is the
only sibling who lives at home with his father; his sisters and brothers
work and reside in other parts of the city.

67
Education. Butch's parents are both high school graduates who never
attended college. However, Butch remembers constant encouragement from
his parents for all of their children to attend college. Of the six
other siblings, two attended junior college, but only one completed the
Associate of Arts degree. Butch knew of only one relative, his father's
youngest brother, who received a degree from a four year institution.
Butch and his siblings are all very proud of this uncle who graduated
from Howard University, a well-known predominately black institution in
Washington, D.C. Butch reported that his sisters and brothers would
always say to him, "Dad's baby brother went to college, so now youour
baby brother--you got to go, too, to keep it in the family."
Butch graduated from a public high school that had a black student
enrollment of 40-50% in a total population of approximately 625 students.
At 19 years of age, he graduated from high school with a 2.95 or "C+"
average, and was ranked 51 in a class of 416 students. He did not parti
cipate in extra-curricular activities, although he had a strong interest
in sports. Butch listed his intended college major as accounting--his
second choice was architecture.
Butch's interest in attending OSU began early in his youth. He
recalled watching scenes of college life at OSU on television, and
dreamed of attending when he graduated from high school:
When I was little, I always used to watch it on TV...and
that's all I could think about--when you graduate, you want
to go to OSU.
Butch was determined to attend OSU. He did not apply for admission to
any other schools. He could not even be persuaded by his peers to
consider attending elsewhere:

68
Several of my friends tried to get me to go to All, saying it
had the best accounting program, which is what I want to go
into. They kept on trying to persuade me, but I saw that
this was where I wanted to go.
(AU is the historically black state institution, which many
of Butch's black friends attended.)
Butch visited the OSU campus at every opportunity. This was accomplished
through attending sports events and concerts held on the campus. He and
his friends would look into the classrooms, visit dormitories, and became
quite familiar with the campus.
In February, seven months before his 19th birthday, Butch applied
for admission for the fall term at OSU. He was scheduled to take the
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in April, and anticipated graduation from
high school in June of the same year. On the OSU application requesting
additional information and the student's reason for applying to college,
Butch made this statement: "Orange State University is the only institu
tion in the state that I feel getting along with people will be easy."
In March, 1977, Butch's application for admission was acknowledged by the
minority admissions officer who also offered his assistance to Butch to
facilitate any aspect of the admission process. Butch corresponded with
the admissions officer on several occasions during the next few months,
about housing, reporting SAT scores, and registration for classes.
Early in August, Butch was notified by the admissions officer that
his SAT scores were too low for consideration for fall entrance with the
regular freshmen class. However, he was offered the opportunity to
compete for admission under a state policy which allowed 10 percent of
the freshmen class to enter the university without all of the entrance
requirements. Butch was accepted for admission under the University

69
Special Admission Program for the winter school term. He and his family
were very happy about his acceptance to State Orange University. Butch
reported that his friends had mixed feelings about his acceptance; some
were excited for him, and others just couldn't understand why he wanted
to go to a "white school".
Despite his lifelong dream of attending OSU, Butch was somewhat
relieved that he did not have to attend until January. When questioned
about his feelings, Butch admitted that he was uncertain about whether he
should be working, or attending school. So he worked from August to
December, as a dishwasher in a restaurant. This experience convinced him
that an education would guarantee him a better job, and reinforced his
interests in attending the university. He spent the Christmas holidays
preceding his attendance with his uncle (the college graduate) and his
family in Washington, D.C. This visit also reinforced his interests in
attending college, and he felt much better about attending school in
January.
And, like I went up to Washington for Christmas. And when I
went up there my uncle, the one that went to school, he just
kept insisting for me to go to school, go to school, go to
school. So, now I'm in. And so far it's been all right.
And I feel like, you know, as of right now, there's nothing
that would keep me from graduating.
Janice
Family history. Janice is the oldest of three children born to a
family that has resided in the southern part of the state for the last
twelve (12) years. She was born and raised in an urban city of 25,000
people only 25 miles from the third largest city in the state. Janice

70
described her family as very close and religious. Both her parents
graduated from high school and have never attended college. Her mother,
a receptionist, and her father, a laborer, have a combined income of over
$20,000. Her father had also worked as a nurse's assistant, and ulti
mately influenced Janice's choice of pre-med as an area of study.
Janice is a guiet, attractive young woman with dark brown skin,
thick shoulder length black hair, and a medium build. She was shy when
interviews first began, but soon warmed up and very often volunteered
information during interviews. Janice did not know much about college
but had a cousin who graduated from Albany State College, a predominately
black institution in another southern state, and an uncle who graduated
from Rutgers University, a predominately white school in the Northeast.
They talked to her of their experience and encouraged her to attend
school. She was expected to attend college and set a model for her
younger sister and brother, even though she knew it would mean a
financial hardship on all members of the family, including herself.
Education. At 18 years of age, Janice graduated from a high school
that had a 20-40% population of black students. The majority of the
other students were white. She was ranked 105 in a graduating class of
540, and had a final grade point average of 3.1 on a 4.0 scale. The high
school counselor's estimate of Janice's ability to succeed at 0SU was
average, yet she described her as an "outstanding minority student".
Other comments from high school teachers gave more of an academic profile
of Janice:
She is a hard worker, but is not strong in math...Janice is
a desirable student...is willing to work and is one of the
better students at the high school. Janice is polite, did
not participate much in class...was considerate of others...
and seemed to understand her coursework.

71
Janice was not very involved in extracurricular activities in high
school, although she belonged to some clubs and enjoyed spectator sports.
In January, Janice applied for admission to OSU. During that time she
also applied to three out-of-state, predominately black institutions.
She was accepted at two of the black institutions, and at OSU. One of
Janice's cousins had graduated from one of the black institutions which
accepted her and encouraged her to attend, yet Janice was torn between
leaving her family and the excitement of the adventures described by her
cousin.
She was accepted at OSU for the summer Special Admit Program because
her SAT scores from the winter testing were not competitive for admission
for the Fall class for which she applied. Janice reported that her
decision to attend OSU was based on its reputation as a good school. It
was close to home, and it cost less to attend than the out-of-state
schools to which she had been accepted. Janice knew she would need
financial aid and believed her decision to attend OSU was a good one.
She requested that the University delay her summer admission because she
had scheduled to take the SAT again in May in an effort to improve her
scores. Janice's first child was also arriving in June, and she needed
more time to make adjustments about her life prior to attending school.
Janice's second SAT scores were higher overall, but not high enough to
qualify her for regular admission. She was accepted under the Special
Admit Program for January, a year after she first applied for admission.
In the meantime, Janice gave birth to a baby boy, and received
permission from OSU to attend a local junior college for the Fall term.
She had made arrangements with her mother and grandmother to care for her
son, while she commuted to college. Her family was very proud of her

72
educational efforts, and also made similar arrangements to care for her
child when she entered the University, which was 300 miles from her home.
Yvette
Family history. Yvette was the third female and the third of four
children born to a black family in the South. Her two older sisters are
twins, who are married, and do not live at home, and her brother is a
junior in high school. Yvette's parents were divorced and Yvette had a
much closer relationship with her mother than with with her father, but
felt she was close to him, too. Yvette was born and raised in the urban
city of over 700,000 that she calls home. Yvette is a petite, light
brown-skinned young woman with long hair which she wore as a large Afro
or in a long braid around her head.
Yvette's mother, a high school graduate, works as a cook in the
child care department in a junior college in the city where she lives.
Her father, also a high school graduate, attended college, but never
graduated. He works for the Navy, but Yvette was uncertain of his
specific job title. Yvette was uncertain of her family's combined income
(father-mother), yet she did qualify to receive financial aid when she
entered college.
Education. Yvette was a very popular student in her high school
which had a population of over 700 students. Over 50-60% of the students
were black. Yvette was an active member of the school's Honor Society
all four years of high school, was a cheerleader for three years, senior
editor of the Yearbook, a member of the Student Council her senior year,
and a member of the Senior Council. Yvette graduated with a 3.27 average

73
and was ranked 49 in a graduating class of 350. The counselor recommend
ing her for college estimated that she could do average work at OSU. She
further commented that Yvette demonstrated leadership qualities and was
active in extracurricular activities while maintaining her Honor Society
status.
Attending college was something that Yvette's parents wanted all
their children to do. Both of Yvette's sisters attended junior college
for a year, but got married before they graduated. Neither had resumed
studies at the time when Yvette was planning to enter college.
Yvette, unlike her younger brother, also had a strong interest in
attending school, and was interested in a pre-medicine curriculum but had
made no final decisions about a major. She was not interested in attend
ing the junior college at home, and finally applied to three schools; a
small predominately black school in another southern state, the largest
private university in the state, and OSU, which was less than 100 miles
from her home. She was interested in the small black school because she
had a friend who attended and who liked the school. He told her about it
and encouraged her to apply. The private school had a good reputation
for its medical facilities, and OSU was where some of her high school
friends were attending. Yvette reported that she had considered applying
at AU, the traditionally black institution in the state, and explained
her failure to apply in this way.
I had a couple of friends who had gone down there and they
told me how much they liked it, but they didn't have what I
wanted. I'm not sure of what I want to go into, but I have
too many friends down there for one thing. And I know I
wouldn't really keep my mind on my work if I go there.
Yvette had applied to OSU in March for entrance in the winter
January term. She had taken the SAT exams in January and asked that her

74
scores be sent to OSU and the black school her friend had attended. By
June she was sure she wanted to attend OSU and in July she was accepted
to enter the winter term. Yvette reported that her friends at OSU,
including her boyfriend (who was also a student at OSU) influenced her
most in her decision to attend the university.
Yvette's family was pleased that she was accepted and very proud of
her. Most of her friends were also in support of her decision. However,
there were some who questioned her about getting along with whites at
OSU. Yvette responded:
Yes, it was a black friend. But I told her I have been
around whites, and I didn't think they were no better than
I was. So it didn't make no difference 'cause when I was
younger I was raised mostly with whites, you know. I went
to white schools, and most of my friends were white.
Yvette was excited about attending the University and had no doubts
about her ability to succeed. She rated her high school preparation for
college as good, and felt she could successfully compete with other
students at the University. From September to December she babysat, and
helped her mother at home to earn money prior to attending school in
January.
Claire
Family history. Claire, who is the youngest of three children, was
born in a small Southern town of 13,000, and had not seriously considered
attending college until her senior year in high school. Claire is a
slim, medium brown-skinned young woman with short black hair. A ready
smile and a friendly easy manner were always part of her carriage. Her

75
older brother and sister were attending the local junior college, but she
wanted to attend school away from home. Her parents were high school
graduates who never attended college, but they had several relatives who
had completed four year degrees. Claire's parents had always encouraged
their chi 1 den to attend college and were pleased when Claire made the
decision to apply for entrance at OSU.
Claire's mother is a cafeteria manager, and her father is a laborer
in a paper company. She listed their combined income between $10,000 and
$20,000 a year. She also worked part-time while attending high school,
and anticipated working in college, too.
Education. Claire graduated from a predominately white high school
that had 10-20% black population of the total 250 students. She was
active in extracurricular activities, including membership on the cheer-
leading squad, the volleyball team, the Student Council, and the Senior
Class Committee. She graduated in the top fifth of her class, ranking
14 in a class of 164.
Since attending college was a recent idea for Claire, she applied
late and could not be considered for Fall admission. She was accepted
for the winter term in January, under the Special Admission Program at
OSU because her SAT scores were too low for consideration as a regular
student. Claire was excited and her family was very pleased with her
decision to attend OSU. She indicated that the main reasons for her
accepting the offer to attend were the University's reputation, and she
had a cousin and some friends already at the school who encouraged her to
attend. She had also applied to AU, the traditional black institution in
the state, but had been discouraged by several people, including her
mother.

76
I though about AU, you know, but a lot of people were say
ing, No, you don't want to go there, you know, I don't know
... I guess, I really don't know. Like I told you once
before, My Mom didn't want me to go to AU. I guess maybe
she thought it was an all black college--things might have
gotten out-of-hand. Start partying, then doing no work, or
something like that.
Claire's friends at home were very supportive of her decision to attend
OSU and were happy for her. She was undecided about a major area of
study, but had considered physical therapy and elementary education.
Claire was interested in starting college right away, and wrote the
admissions officer who recruited her to request information about attend
ing a junior college until she enrolled at the University in the fall.
She was given specifics about the courses she could take, and enrolled in
the Fall term for a speech and math course at the junior college her
sister and brother attended. She commuted from home and earned a C+
average for that term.
Gordon
Family history. Gordon was a 24 year old, Air Force veteran, who
was released early from the service to attend school at the time the
study was conducted. He is the middle child and only male offspring in a
family of three siblings; he grew up in New York with his mother and one
of his sisters. His step-sister lived with his father in another part of
the city. His parents were separated, so he saw his father infrequently,
and did not know him very well. Both his parents were high school
graduates, and his mother was trained as a practical nurse but has no
college education. She is now a receptionist at a rectory, and his
father was a cab driver. (Gordon's father died during his first term at
the University.)

77
Gordon had been interested in attending college since junior high
school. His older, step-sister finished college and his younger sister
has taken a few college courses, but was not interested in a degree
program. Gordon's mother encouraged him to attend college, and had
placed emphasis on his attending because she believed the girls could
learn to type and take shorthand and get a job as a secretary". He had
definite plans to do so, but not right after high school:
Well, see after high school I didn't want to go to college
because I figured that going to college would be easy as far
as going to school and getting good grades, and stuff like
that. And I think today, that would have been true. But I
didn't think that I could fit on campus because I was a
loner. I didn't want to go to school in New York, I wanted
to go in California.
Before joining the service and moving to California, Gordon began working
after high school and completed a computer programming school which he
attended in the evening.
Education. Gordon graduated in the top 10% of his Catholic high
school class. While maintaining a respectable academic record, he parti
cipated in many extracurricular activities, including basketball, bowl
ing, cross-country, chess club, and the Afro-American Club. He was a
member of Student Council and was elected the President of his homeroom
class.
There were 10-15% black students in a total school population of
1,000. Gordon believes he was well-educated and prepared for a college
curriculum, and decided to apply to 0SU during his last year in the Air
Force. He was encouraged to apply by friends and chose 0SU because of
the climate, the reputation of the engineering school, its access to his
home state, and its proximity to NASA, where he eventually wanted to
work. He had been accepted to 0SU under the regular admissions program

78
six months before he was released from the service, yet on his arrival in
August all the necessary paperwork had not been sent to the admissions
office from the Air Force. He had mixed feelings about attending right
away since the papers were missing!
There were quite a few papers missing so I said, "Forget it!
I'll go out and find a job real quick and just work, and sit
out this quarter...I'll wait. And I wasn't really sure I
wanted to start right into school, anyway. I wanted, I
guess I was worried and tense about going to college. I...
there was a fear of failing...of getting in and not doing
well.
After getting settled in his apartment off campus, Gordon found a
part-time job at a convenience store. He would have to work at least
part-time when school started to supplement his savings and the educa
tional benefits from the GI bill.
Summary: Family History and Educational Background
The five freshmen in this study are not unlike the black students
described in Shenkman's study of 1970, or Boyd's study in 1974. The
majority (4 of 5) were natives of the state and they hailed from
supportive families in which both parents had at least a high school
education. The majority resided in urban areas (only one rural resident)
and all needed financial assistance in order to attend the University.
Unlike the students in Shenkmen's (1971) study, the freshmen in this
study had a variety of reasons for attending OSU, not just financial.
Two were influenced to attend by friends who were already students at
OSU; one entered particularly because of the reputation of the engineer
ing school and its proximity to NASA; one had been convinced since child
hood that OSU was the best school in the state and the one where he could

79
learn and get along with others; and one attended because it was close to
home and less expensive than the out-of-state schools to which she had
been accepted. Each of the students had relatives who had entered
college at some time, and three had relatives who had four year degrees.
All students had identified major areas of interest prior to attending,
although they were not certain enough to make a final decision to declare
a major their first year. Though these students and their families were
excited about their attendance at OSU, at least two freshmen had friends
who were puzzled and curious about why they wanted to attend a white
school".
The five freshmen attending OSU determined that OSU was the best
option for them. Four of the five had been accepted by other institu
tions and one only applied to OSU. These freshmen, who all graduated in
the top half of their classes, had attended integrated high schools and
were familiar with going to school with whites. Only two of the five
students had over 50% Black population in their high schools. Three of
the five had successful high school experiences in extracurricular acti
vities and thus were used to participating in the social arena, as well
as the academic.
Four of the students made a contact at the university through the
minority admissions officer; two (Janice and Butch) had visited campus in
anticipation of their arrival; two (Janice and Claire) had corresponded
with the administration and received approval to attend junior college
prior to their entrance, and two (Yvette and Claire) already had friends
attending.
The issue of race which so preoccupied the new students in the 1970
study was not openly expressed as a concern. Each of the students in

80
this study initially felt confident in his/her ability to adjust to
college life at OSU.
Finally, the determination and excitement about attending college
was ultimately expressed by all of the students; and was reflected
strongly in two of the females, Janice and Claire. Each wrote for
permission to earn credits at a local junior college while waiting to
enter OSU in the winter quarter. Janice had decided school was more
important than being with her son his first few years of life. Both
males, on the other hand, openly expressed some reservations about
attending, despite their interest and commitment to attaining a college
education.
The next stage of events which add to the students' perceptions
about college life at OSU was orientation, registration and their intro
duction to their residential areas. Perceptions were building and being
confirmed about OSU and its environment prior to their formal entry. In
the next section a review of orientation and the move to campus adds more
insight to their new student status.
The Special Admission Program
The purpose of the Special Admission Program (SAP) was not clear to
any of the students. The four students admitted under the program were
sent information about special services prior to their entrance, yet none
of them attended the orientation held for them. All of them missed the
opportunity to learn more information about adjusting, registration and
advising. The older student (who was admitted as a regular student)
inadvertently registered himself for the SAP courses by changing the

81
course numbers after he was advised (by a faculty member) to take courses
he thought were too advanced for him. Therefore, because none of them
attended the special admission orientation, the administrators of the SAP
did not shape their understanding of the program as much as the profes
sors who taught the program courses in which they were enrolled and their
peers who were participating in the program.
Butch
Since Butch did not attend the special admit orientation, he was not
fully aware of the purpose of the program or all its services. For his
first term, Butch was registered for a combination of regular and special
admission courses. He vaguely remembered the admissions officer explain
ing the nature of the program to him, but what he remembered most was
what his peers had shared with him about the SAP:
Like I talked to one of the students from the same high
school in my home town. She made a 4.0 average but she was
on special admissions first quarter. And she says she made
the dean's list, but it wasn't considered special, you know,
because she was on Special Admissions. So I decided that,
you know, I'm just gonna stay on in it this quarter. But
next quarter I'm not going to sign up for special courses.
I'm gonna try, you know, to get in with the regular classes.
Sam, Butch's black hallmate also talked to him about the SAP and
suggested that he choose only regular courses, as he (Sam) had done.
Until these encounters Butch reported that he had not thought about the
difference in special courses and regular courses. As he began to notice
the differences, he made these observations: (1) that the majority of
his classmates were black; and that seemed odd at a predominately white
university, (2) that most of the black people he knew at the University

82
were on the special program, (3) that the special admissions program was
for slow students, (4) that the program was designed to give more
individual attention to students, and (5) that the only way to be
recognized as completing regular courses was to get off the program.
Butch obviously had mixed feelings about the program. He realized
that the program was helpful to students like him, but he emphatically
stated that he did not consider himself a slow student. Adding to his
confusion were comments from some of his professors who told him that
there was no real difference between regular and special admissions
classes.
He said, so far there's no difference in it you know--being
in special admissions class and a regular class. So I say
that if I feel I can do the special admissions (work) and he
says there's no difference, then I mean I'm quite sure I
could do it in a regular class.
Towards the end of the first term, Butch began to think a little
differently about the special admissions program. He reported that the
pace was so fast in the classes, that few studens had time to take
advantage of the special grading process. (This process involved the
student re-taking an exam a second or third time on the same material if
the first score was unsatisfactory. A different exam, covering the same
content was administered.) Much of the problem with re-takes, he
explained, was that the student still had to maintain reading assignments
and other homework on new class material, while trying to study for a
re-take.
The other incident that influenced Butch's thinking about the SAP
involved one of his white hallmates. The hallmate asked Butch for
assistance with his homework after learning that Butch was in the same
class at a different time. On assisting his friend, Butch learned that

83
not only was his class six chapters ahead of his hallmate's, but that the
special admissions exams were harder than those given in his hallmate's
class. Nevertheless, Butch was convinced that the only way to make it at
OSU was "off the program". He believed he could do well off the program,
as he had done in the program courses.
It's just a feeling I've had ever since I've been in school.
No matter what the class is, I've always been able to make
the grade...So I feel that if I push myself out there (into
regular classes) and just get into things, maybe I can still
make the same grades. Seems that it would be better if I
were on my own. . I'll feel much better.
Butch remained in the special admissions program for the two terms
the study was conducted.
Janice
Janice reported that she did not know anything about the SAP. She
had registered for regular courses since she entered, and did not utilize
any services of the SAP. She did not recall receiving any material about
the program in the mail, either.
Cl aire
Claire learned about the SAP at the orientation for minority
students, and from her peers. When she registered her first term at
OSU, four of her courses were in the SAP and one was a regular course.
She preferred to take the combination, i.e., some regular and some on the
SAP, and followed this pattern her second term as well. However,
Claire's understanding was not very clear!

84
Well, my understanding is that these (students) who are not
really ready to take, you know, well, how should I say it?
. . (not ready) to take those classes, I mean, you know,
that they think they can't handle.
When asked if the SAP courses and services helped students, Claire was
able to respond more definitely.
Yes, a lot of the professors will tell you if you are taking
the courses on the Program, like Mr. Thomas told us. He
said he's not teaching it any different than he would if it
was off the Program, you know. But a lot of people think
he's to help the people who are maybe slow learners or some
thing like that.
Claire admitted that the Program was a help to her in her adjustment to
OSU and initially felt that courses were no easier, nor more difficult
than her regular courses. From her peers she learned that a student can
take SAP courses the freshmen and sophomore years, and also that the
professors didn't teach courses any differently than in regular courses.
However, after her first term, she was not sure there was no
difference in the SAP courses and regular ones.
I don't know, I really don't know. Cause my social science
teacher, he said he doesn't teach any different on the SAP
than he would off. In one class, I think it was a little
harder than the other classes, and that was off the SAP
this term. I don't think it's really any harder. I like the
idea of being in a smaller class like that. But I don't
think there's really too much difference. Cause you cover
more material, you gotta take exams every week, and you
have to keep up or you're just lost. I heard a couple of
other students say that they thought some of the courses on
the SAP were harder.
Claire decided that she would take some courses on the SAP through the
summer term (her 3rd term) and begin taking all regular courses in the
fall of the next year.

85
Yvette
Yvette was aware that she had been admitted under the SAP. Three of
the five courses she enrolled in her first term were Special Admission
courses. She explained her understanding of the SAP this way:
Well, to me it's just a program where they limit the amount
of students in the classroom so you can get a more one-on-
one relationship with the teacher.
Yvette reported that she tried to register for a combination of the SAP
courses and regular courses her freshman year. She thought that the SAP
courses were no easier, nor more difficult than regular courses. She
indicated that she believed the SAP courses helped her become adjusted to
the University. Although she did not attend the special admission
orientation, she knew of the services and thought overall that the
program was very beneficial to students.
Gordon
In his efforts to change the advanced courses selected for him by
his advisor, Gordon changed his 200 level courses to 100 level and,
unknowingly registered for two courses (math and english) under the SAP.
He did not know about the SAP until he went to class. It was there that
he learned about the extra assistance he could receive with his writing
and his math.
Gordon believed the program to be beneficial to him, and utilized
the services on a regular basis.

86
Summary
The students' understanding of the purpose of the Special Admissions
Program varies from one to another. One of the four admitted under the
Program knew nothing about it and did not participate in it in any way.
Two of the other three admitted under the SAP had mixed and sometimes
negative attitudes about it. Nonetheless, they believed it was helpful,
but somehow felt there was a stigma attached to it by their peers and
others at the University. Only one student had a decidely positive
attitude about Special Admissions, enjoyed the small classes and seemed
to understand more about the program than the others. The older student
was inadvertently enrolled in two Special Admission courses, and accepted
them without attaching a stigma to them. He was grateful to have a
chance to review his math and writing skills since he had not been in a
school setting for some time.
Orientation, Advising, and Registration
At Orange State University (OSU) the orientation to the university
is planned by the University College in conjunction with the Student
Affairs Division. The University College personnel are primarily respon
sible for the students introduction to the academic milieu; faculty
advising registration, peer advising, and other activities related to
attending classes. The student affairs personnel are primarily respon
sible for introducing students to the university as a community which
offers resources for survival. These personnel offer students informa
tion about campus activities and campus resources, such as the counseling

87
center and the study skills clinic which aid in their adjustment outside
the classroom.
The college and the division work cooperatively and their responsi
bilities often overlap in helping the new student become acquainted with
the university. All university students are invited to the major campus
wide orientation, and are expected to register for their classes as a
part of the orientation process. The winter orientation is a signifi
cantly smaller program, since the majority of the students enter in the
fall.
A second orientation is offered by the Special Admissions Program to
introduce the student admitted under the auspices of that program to the
services it provides. Students are contacted by letter by the counselor
in the Program, and given instruction about the services, particularly
the registration process, which is facilitated for them in their first
year.
In addition to the general campus wide orientation and the Special
Admission orientation, the Minority Affairs Office in the Student Affairs
Division conducts a specific orientation and reception for all minority
students regardless of how they were admitted. At this orientation, new
students meet other minority students, including minority student
leaders, minority faculty, administrators, and staff who are employed by
the University. They are given information about University and commu
nity resources to enhance their matriculation, as well as tips on how to
survive as a minority on campus. Usually, a directory of minority staff,
minority organization, and community businesses and churches are made
available at that time.

88
This orientation is held at the Afro-American Cultural Center, a
programming unit of the Student Affairs Division. The Center, which has
a library, an exhibition area, meeting rooms, and kitchen, is charged
with providing educational, cultural and social programs to help minority
students maintain their cultural identities. In addition, it has a goal
to teach and share with the campus community at large the contribution of
ethnic people to the society in general. This orientation was usually
held for two hours. Presumably by attending the orientation the new
minority students learn that there are other minority people on campus,
who may act as resources to help them as they begin their journey at the
University.
A new minority student then, could choose to attend up to three
orientation programs after being admitted to OSU. A student admitted
under the regular admissions program might choose to attend the general
orientation and the one sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office,
whereas, a specially admitted student could choose all three programs.
Four of the students in this study had the option to choose three
programs, and the fifth had options for two. The following sections
describe their participation in orientation to the University, and the
introduction to their living areas.
Butch
Arrival on campus. In January, 1978, Butch traveled alone by bus to
OSU. He had asked his father not to accompany him because he thought he
could become better adjusted if he went alone. His decision to attend
alone was somewhat influenced by his holiday visit to his uncle's home.

89
His cousin (his uncle's son), also a recent high school graduate, had
dropped out of college after his first semester as a freshman in a school
near his home in Washington. Butch reported his reaction to his cousin's
experience.
I listened at how his Dad did him. I said I don't want Dad
to do that for ME, 'cause you know, that makes you seem like
a little baby*. . His Dad took him up there and all; made
sure he got situated. I mean it seems like you adjust
quickly if you're on your own, than if somebody else is
doing everything for you.
Butch had originally requested a double room in one specific housing
area. On his arrival, he learned that he had been reassigned to a triple
room in another area. He decided to accept this reassignment without
challenge mainly because he would be able to save some money by doing so.
He was the first of the roommates to arrive in the room. Soon after
arriving he was joined by a white male student, and his mother. They
introducted themselves, got acquainted, and continued to unpack. Later
that day, they were joined by the third roommate, a native Puerto Rican.
Butch reported that the three of them got along quite well with each
other from their first meeting. The only problem seemed to be the
tension created by the other roommates eating Butch's food without
telling him, or asking him beforehand. Butch was not sure how to handle
this problem, especially since he was not sure which roommate was
actually eating his food.
Since Butch had visited the campus prior to his admission, he was
familiar with many buildings, and did not feel as lost as some other
freshmen. Nevertheless, he did need some help, and found his hallmates
very friendly and helpful. He and his Puerto Rican roommate met Sam, a
black junior, the only other black student on the hall, who befriended

90
them and offered to help them around campus. Butch was most impressed
and excited, though, about Joe, a white, 18 year old junior, who became a
good friend of his.
Well, if it wasn't for Joe, I would still mostly be lost, as
far as this area in general is concerned. He's just a good
friend. And like we go out all the time, about 2 weeks ago
we went horseback riding.
Orientation. Butch attended the campus-wide orientation for all new
students. He went by himself and reported that he found the orientation
very helpful, especially the sessions on how to register for classes. He
did not attend the SAP orientation or the one sponsored by the Minority
Affairs Office at the Afro-American Cultural Center.
Registration. Butch initiated the registration process by attempt
ing to see an advisor. However, after being referred to several differ
ent offices he soon became rather frustrated:
After I got here and they started sending me around. ... I
said I'm not gonna go through all this. . I'm just gonna
deal with Mr. C (the admissions officer).
Butch did visit Mr. C, the admissions officer, who referred him to a
Special Admissions Advisor. The advisor helped him select his courses,
and referred him to the curriculum coordinator to find out which classes
had already been filled and closed. Butch did this, acquired appropriate
signatures for his registration card, and finally registered for four
courses totaling 13 credit hours. The only course he wanted and was
unable to get was a math course. All the math courses had been closed by
the time he registered. He was advised to wait to try and get the course
for the next school term.
The entire registration process took about two hours. Butch was
amazed that he finished in so short a time. It had taken his roommates

91
4 to 5 hours to finish their registrations. It was not until late in the
term that he learned that specially admitted students had certain classes
reserved for them, and that this made their registration easier and
quicker than regular registration.
Butch's course load at OSU his first term was typical for
entering freshmen: an english composition course, a separate writing
laboratory, a social science course, a physical science course, and a
weight lifting and conditioning course. Butch admitted that he did not
like English, but resigned himself to taking it. He was confident,
though, in his ability to perform well in his classes, and stated that
the physical science course was the only one in which he might not be
able to make an "A" or "B.
For the second term, Butch went through the preregistration process
which was easier and quicker for all students.
Janice
Arrival on campus. Janice and both of her parents visited the
University campus in December, a month before she was to attend. They
toured the campus (on their own), checked on her housing arrangements,
and attempted to see the admissions officer who had recruited Janice.
She reported that she and her family were well received, and all of the
people they encountered were very friendly. Their decision for her to
attend was reinforced by their visit.
In January, Janice was again accompanied by both parents to campus.
She received her room assignment, and learned that she had been assigned
two roommates instead of one. Both of her roommates were black

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sophomores who were from the same home town, and who had known each other
prior to attending the University. Janice also found that three of her
old high school friends lived in the same dormitory area she lived in.
According to Janice, one of her roommates was responsible for her getting
adjusted to the campus:
'Cause when I got here, she didn't have any classes til like
11 o'clock. So she took me around. She was just great,
cause I didn't know anything. I didn't even know where the
administration building was. She took me around, and
everything. . showed me everything about the dorms, took
me to the Student Union, and the gymnasium...
This roommate also introduced Janice to the other hallmates, and helped
her register for classes.
Orientation. Janice was scheduled to attend the campus-wide orient
ation for new students the same day she arrived on campus. She was also
scheduled to register for classes that day. She reported that she chose
not to attend the orientation, since she had already been to junior
college and was familiar with the kinds of things that occurred at
orientation. She also relied on her junior college experience regarding
her registration appointment. She was scheduled to register at 2:30
p.m., but advised her parents that she would only "have to stand in line
for a couple of hours, like at the junior college". So they did not
arrive until 4:30 p.m., and found that she had missed her opportunity to
register. She had to register late, the next day, and was very
frustrated by the process which took most of her second day on campus.
Janice did not attend the SAP orientation and did not know of the
services provided for her. She did attend an orientation held by the
Minority Affairs Office, where she met black faculty members, and was
introduced to the history of minority students at the University. She

93
reported that what she remembered most was the discussion of the ratio of
black to white students on campus, and the description of the problems
black students might encounter as minority students on a predominately
white campus.
Registrati on. Since Janice had to register late, and had not
attended the SAP orientation, she was not aware of her option to take
courses offered through the SAP. She registered for all regular classes,
using the catalogue and her roommate as guides. She did not see a
faculty advisor during this first registration.
Her roommate helped with the late registration which is a process of
adding a course, one by one, to make a schedule, instead of registering
for 4 or 5 at one time. She helped her find open classes and even stood
in lines with her to get signed up for them. Janice described her
registration day with her roommate as her "worst day at college":
Okay. Well, she said you better get up pretty early to beat
the lines. I said okay. So we got up about eight...I guess
she wasn't frustrated cause she had already been through it
and she was taking me around. So she couldn't say Oh, you
won't get those classes! So we worked it out pretty well.
They had two lines going ... I was standing in one, and
she was standing in another, and whoever got there first
added the class.
She registered for a typical freshman courseload including an
english course, a social science course, a behavioral studies course, and
a basic concepts course in physical education totaling 13 credit hours.
She had been careful not to repeat courses she had taken at the junior
college until she could have her transcript evaluated. When she received
permission to take courses at a junior college, she was also given a
choice of courses that would count toward the required curriculum in her
first two years of school. As long as she earned at least a grade of C,

94
they could count toward her requirement, but could not be averaged into
her OSU grade point average. At the junior college she registered for
General Chemistry, Fundamentals of Composition, and an intermediate
Algebra course, totaling 9 credit hours. She completed those courses,
and earned more than the minimum C average.
Janice had no regular academic advisor, but did seek help from an
advisor for spring registration. She found him helpful in selecting
her courses, but she did not follow his advice entirely. He suggested
that she register for a third english course, another social science, and
the second course in chemistry, the sequel to the one she had at junior
college. Janice accepted his advice on everything except the chemistry
course. She decided that the chemistry course she took in junior college
was too general, and that she needed the introductory course offered at
the university before attempting a sequel to it. She did experience a
smoother registration for the second term, and was one half hour early
for her appointment. Janice concentrated on taking required courses
because she was not sure what she wanted to major in. She was interested
in medicine but did not know if she wanted to go to medical school.
Claire
Arrival on campus. Claire was accompanied to school by her mother,
an aunt, and two cousins--one of whom was already a student at OSU. She
was greeted by her resident assistant, who gave her her room assignment,
keys, and other information about the dormitory. When she first arrived
she had two roommates, one black and one white, but soon after she moved
in the white roommate moved to a triple room on another floor. The

95
remaining roommate was also a freshman who had entered OSU in the fall.
Claire's summary of their relationship follows:
Well, you know, I was really hoping all the time that I
would get somebody that I could really get along with. And,
you know, everything turned out fine. We get along great.
Claire was surprised and impressed at the friendliness of the students
on the hall. They were very helpful as she was becoming adjusted to the
University:
Well, I just came, you know. I mean, it was just unbeliev
able how these people were. We were walking down the hall,
and you know, a lot of girls would, you know, rarely see
you, and they would tell me. . "Anything I can do to
help you, you just come by".
And this one girl was walking up and down the hall. She
didn't know where to go. My cousin stepped out into the
hall (and we were all sitting in here) and brought the girl
in. Cause the girl was new, too. She was a first quarter
student. And, well, her name's Joan. She lives right down
the hall. And we started talking, and then, you know, we
just decided to go around together. So we can learn every
thing, you know. And we became real close friends, you
know. And the other girls . .we walk up and down the
halls, you know, trying to be friendly, making friends.
I'm close with a lot of the girls on the floor now.
Claire reported that she did not expect people to be so friendly
because of the size of the institution. Between her cousin and new
friends, Claire found it fun and interesting her first days at OSU.
Orientation. Claire attended the campus-wide orientation for new
students and the orientation sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office for
new black students. She did not attend SAP orientation. The most impor
tant things she learned from the campus-wide orientation were instruc
tions for registration and how to use of the campus map. Acquisition of
the map, which she used extensively during her first few weeks at OSU,
was particularly important to her.

96
Registration. Claire expected a rough time at registration. Her
new friends, and her cousin assisted her, but it was still frustrating.
I was so glad when that day was over I didn't know what to
do. ... I mean, I had to go through the computers so many
times it was pitiful. 'Cause most of the classes I chose
were closed, I got rejected (by the computer) 10 times. You
know I was about ready to quit. But everybody was telling
me it's always like that when you're just coming in, you
know.
Claire was finally registered for a typical freshman load including
courses in social science, physical science, English, with a separate
writing lab, and behavioral studies.
At pre-registration for her second term at State, Claire sought help
from an academic advisor who assisted in her selecting the courses she
wanted. She received an early pre-registration date, and reported that
her registration "went very good". She registered for the same type of
courses with the exception of physical education, which she added for the
second quarter.
Yvette
Arrival on campus. Yvette drove to the University with her mother
and a friend, who helped her find the housing area and helped her get
settled. Yvette reported that the resident assistant was very friendly,
gave them the room key, and shared other important information about the
living area. Yvette unpacked and went shopping with her mother and
friend for last minute items that she had forgotten for her room. She
met her roommate, Judy, a white freshman, the day after she arrived.
Judy had entered in the fall term and had just returned from a weekend

97
visit to her parents. Judy was also friendly, introduced Yvette to many
of the girls on the hall, and showed her around the dorm.
She introduced herself to me and I introduced myself to her,
and we started talking. She brought out some of the other
girls that I hadn't met. 'Cause I hadn't met the girl right
across the hall, already, so she brought some of the other
girls and introduced them.
Yvette's boyfriend, Aaron, also helped her become adjusted to the
campus. He had been accepted a year ago but was not enrolled the quarter
Yvette entered. He had stopped out for a term to earn more money to
return to school. He showed her around the campus, introduced her to his
friends, helped her with registration, and became a major resource person
on campus for her.
Orientation. Yvette did not attend the campus-wide orientation for
new students, nor did she attend the SAP orientation. She did attend the
orientation sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office for entering black
students at OSU. She was disappointed that there were not very many
continuing students attending the orientation, but was pleased to meet
the black faculty members present. She considered the orientation very
helpful because she learned where to go to solve certain problems she
might encounter.
Registrati on. Aaron had warned Yvette about how difficult it was to
register the first term in school. She admitted that she had not
believed it would be as difficult as he said it would. She reported that
after two hours of trying to register, she was ready to give up. At that
time she remembered that the admissions officer had told her about the
courses offered on the SAP. It was then that she decided to see an
advisor to help her select courses.

98
And the counselor told me of all the classes I could take...
that I should try to get in. And after he told me the
classes, he sent me to another office for the Special Admit
students. And then three ... of the five classes I'm
taking were under the special program. It was a little
easier, after I knew what I was looking for.
It still took Yvette another day to register because most of the classes
she needed were closed. She finally enrolled in all the courses the
advisor suggested except one, and this is how she made a decision to get
into her last class:
I had to add a Behavioral Studies class and I was told to
take BES 221. I went up to one of the professor's rooms,
he told me that his 221 class was filled. But he had an
opening in his 251 BES class which was mostly a research
class and if I would like to, I could get in that class
because he thought I might be able to handle it 'cause I
didn't have such a heavy load. So I went ahead and took
that 'cause I was tired. By that time I was tired of going
back and forth and dropping the courses. And climbing all
those stairs. So I went on and took his class and it's
working out all right so far.
Yvette's final schedule for the first term included a social science
course, a behavioral studies course, an english composition course, a
writing lab, and a physical education course.
During the term Yvette continued to seek help from the academic
advisor who helped her at her first registrati on. She preregistered for
the second quarter with the help of this advisor, whom she found know
ledgeable and helpful in selecting courses. She normally registered for
10-13 credit hours, usually 4 or 5 courses each quarter. None of her
preregistration efforts were as difficult as her first registration at
the University.

99
Gordon
Arrival on campus. During the summer before he enrolled Gordon
had rented an apartment in the town about three miles from the Univer
sity. He lived alone in an apartment complex where he eventually met a
few of his neighbors who were also students. The combination of his
school and work schedule prevented much socializing where he lived.
Orientation. Gordon was the only student in the study who entered
through the regular admissions program. He did not attend the campus
wide orientation program but attended the one for black students spon
sored by the Minority Affairs Office. He enjoyed meeting the faculty and
staff, and reported that the program was informative and helpful. Gordon
did not attend the campus-wide orientation because it conflicted with his
work schedule, and reported that he did not think he would learn very
much about registration, anyway.
He inquired at the Registrar's Office about getting into classes and
was referred to an academic advisor. Gordon was troubled by his session:
You see when I went to an academic advisor session, (which
was a joke), I told him I hadn't been in school in six years,
I hadn't had to apply myself scholastically, and he put down
a 100 level course chemistry and 200 level course math, and
I said, I can't take those courses. And he said, Oh, you
can do it because you've been in the service and you know
what you can do and and what you can't do, and you have the
maturity and stuff like that. So I said, Okay, and he
signed the card, and I went over to the gym and I immedi
ately where he had a course for 200 level I just erased it
and put a 100, you know. When I got there I didn't know if
that would be okay or not. But it went over okay except the
computer just kept spitting out my card. So now I'm taking
math and algebra and trigonometry courses which I'm not
really prepared for and it's really hard just to stay up.
And there's a writing course which I figured was just
another course before I'm taking English 112.

100
Gordon eventually registered for a social science course and an
engineering course along with his math and english courses. At the time
he registered, Gordon was not aware that he had signed up for the english
and math courses under the Special Admissions Program. When he went to
the gymnasium to finalize his course selection through the computer, he
was confused about the process and did not know where to begin. A staff
member who was making a registration offered to help him:
Well, when I walked in I was one minute late and they told
me to start in the hall; fifteen minutes later I made it
into the hall. And they told me I was in the wrong line
after a five minute wait. I was just about to give up and I
wasn't fighting it. I was standing there saying what am I
supposed to do to myself and she saw the perplexed look on
my face. She said can I offer you some suggestions: I was
supposed to pick up my card. It was lost--the whole section
of cards was lost. They were in the building. They were on
their way from one end of the building to the other. A half
an hour later they hadn't gotten there so I didn't know what
to do. Well she told me. When I got the card the fellow he
just gave me the card. I didn't know what to do with the
card. And I said what am I supposed to do with this card?
She told me to take the card over and get it signed and
stuff like that. Any building that I was supposed to go
into I'd always come right here and she'd always tell me
where everything was.
Thirteen credit hours were the total credits Gordon carried for the
first term. He carried the same course load for the second term for
which he preregistered. He sought the advice of a different academic
advisor for the second term and was more successful in selecting courses
that fit his ability and interest.
Summary
In January the four students assigned to campus housing experienced
positive, friendly receptions from their roommates, hallmates and
.

101
resident assistants. The male student who resided off campus lived
alone, and moved in by himself. The three women students arrived with
parents, other relatives and friends, who helped them move into the
dormitories.
None of the four students who were admitted under the Special
Admission Program (SAP) attended the program's orientation. Three of the
four accepted under the program attended the orientation sponsored by the
Minority Affairs Office, and two of the four attended the campus-wide
orientation. The older student who lived off campus only attended the
orientation for minority students. At the campus-wide orientation and
the one sponsored by SAP, students had the chance to learn how to
register for classes as well as the academic services established to help
them adjust to the University.
The registration process was initially painful for all of the
students. Three of the five students did consult an academic advisor
prior to registering. One of the three originally tried it on his own
and was eventually referred to the advisor by the admissions officer who
recruited him. These students were generally satisfied with the advice
they received.
The older student was upset by his advisor who didn't seem to listen
to him, and who made assumptions about his ability to perform because he
was mature and had been in the military service. Later he was helped
through the computer processing part of registration by a staff member
whom he met at registration.
Of the two students who did not see an academic advisor, one had to
register late because she missed her appointment and was eventually
registered with the assistance of her roommate. The second student who

102
did not see an advisor was escorted through registration by a friend and
her cousin.
All of the students had their patience taxed by the computer which
rejected some of their courses at least 10 times. At the completion of
registration, four of the five students, including the one entering under
the regular admissions program, were registered for a combination of
regular courses and those taught through the Special Admissions Program.
The fifth student, who had not seen an advisor but had accepted under the
SAP registered for a full load of regular courses.
The perceptions about regular versus SAP courses were varied among
the students. Two students were confused about the purpose of the SAP
and were unsure of why they were taking courses in it. Others expressed
satisfaction that it existed and found their participation beneficial.
And one student reported that she knew nothing about the SAP.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
For most young people, the power of peer relationships cannot be
overstated. The peer influence in college life was very strong for the
new freshmen and is described here through two categories: (1) the
Black-White peer relationship, and (2) the Black-Black peer relationship.
Though other relationships are described elsewhere in this study, the
peer relationships will be the main focus in this section. An overview
of each student's social life precedes the description of the specific
peer relationship. Short summaries are found at the end of description
of each student case.

103
Butch
Butch's social life the first term on campus centered around his two
new friends and hallmates, Joe and Sam. He also socialized with other
hallmates, usually by talking and listening to music, or by watching
television with them in the dormitory lounge. He did no single dating,
and socialized most of the time with small groups of his male friends.
He and his new friends attended concerts on campus, and participated in
activities sponsored by the Student Union.
Butch went home several weekends during the first two terms to
visit his family, and to interact socially with his old friends. While
at home he attended musical concerts, basketball games, and disco
parties. Butch's old friends at home were black, and most of his new
friends at school were white. His black friends from home quizzed him
frequently about his relationships with whites at the University, and
sometimes accused him of "acting like whites".
When Butch first arrived at OSU, he was favorable toward interacting
with whites. He reported, "It's no problem with me as far as whites are
concerned. I feel like I could mix in". He did not experience any
discriminatory behavior, though he recalled experiencing racial tension
at some social events on campus. Butch indicated that most of the time
he was not conscious that he was a minority student on campus, although
there were times when he felt "out of place". He found that most of the
black people on campus were friendly, that most whites were indifferent
and did not care whether blacks attended the University or not. He
reported, though, that he had discussed racial issues with his black
friends and his white friends.

104
In the classroom setting, Butch reported that he was not pressured
to be a spokesman for blacks, but added that he thought most professors
felt a responsibility to make references to a minority viewpoint on
issues discussed. He sometimes felt inhibited by other students during
class discussions, and later disclosed that he thought professors pre
ferred to hear white students' views in class.
Butch indicated that he also thought professors resented the fact
that some black students sat together in classes in which they are over
whelmingly outnumbered by whites. On the other hand, he described posi
tive, supportive, individual interaction with professors he consulted
about homework assignments and classwork.
On the dormitory floor where Butch lived, it was difficult not to
notice the ratio of blacks to whites:
I stay right up on the third floor here. And on the whole
floor there's not but two blacks; me and this dude from
Fairfax, you know.
This did not seem to pose any problems for Butch, at least not in the
first term. The two people he socialized with more than others were
Sam, the other black student on the hall, and Joe, a white student whom
Butch particularly admired because of his academic accomplishments. Joe
had taken college courses before graduating from high school, was 18
years old and had already attained junior status. The fact that both of
his new friends were upperclassmen, and majoring in accounting, his
intended area of study, made the attraction even greater for Butch. The
two students were also among the group whose study habits Butch admired.
Since Joe had a car, they were able to attend events on and off campus
with ease. Activities they enjoyed together include riding around in
the car, going out to dinner, and horseback riding.

105
Other group activities with hallmates were limited to socializing in
the lounge where the students would watch favorite programs or discuss
current campus issues. Butch said that he was familiar with most of the
guys on the hall, but couldn't call them all by name. He confided though
that they all knew him by name, and that surprised him.
Near the end of the second term, Butch's attitude about inter
acting with whites had changed. These statements he made reflected this
change:
Well, like when I first came up here, you know, I was sure I
could get along with anybody. When I first got adjusted it
was all right . and now the more I stay around them, the
more I want to get away.
Butch was unable to explain exactly what brought on this change of
attitude, but was aware of the drop in activities he shared with friends
on the hall. He could only recall one social event that he and white
friends on the hall had attended the second term.
And that was about the only time we ever went out this
quarter, as far as me and some other white people . .
all of a sudden it changed.
Butch described parties the hallmates gave, and how he was not interested
in attending any more because they were attended "mostly by whites".
Other incidents that occurred during the term that seemed to have
a great impact on Butch's new attitude included (1) Sam, (the other black
student) moved off campus, and (2) Butch's reaction to hearing one of the
hallmates refer to a black man as "nigger".
And they started talking about him, you know. Somehow or
another one of them say "nigger". And he looked up at me
and he say I'm sorry, Butch. And I say, what you sorry for
now? It don't bother me about you saying thatI don't
classify myself as that, you know.

106
Butch said his response surprised the group, and the topic under discus
sion was dropped immediately. In summarizing his description of this
incident, Butch wondered aloud if the conversation would have been inter
rupted at all, had he not been present.
Despite these incidents, it appeared that Butch's new attitude
towards whites was influenced heavily by his black peers from home, and
his uncles. He spoke at length about being "preached at" by his uncles
to restrict his socialization with whites, especially white co-eds, and
his friends' accusations of his "acting like whites".
An example of his discussion about their influence:
I have two uncles who all through life have been against
whites. ... I mean it's not that they don't communicate
with whites--they work with them all day long. But as far
as their friends and their social life--they are black.
My uncle can't stand whites, and now his son is dating a
white girl-...I don't want to go out to parties because I
got preached at about it when I went to Washington.
Like everytime I go home you know, that seems it's the main
topic around my friends. I remember going to this girl's
house and I sat down and crossed my legs on my lap and she
said, you been around whites so long that you started cross
ing your legs like they do. And I said what do you mean?...
And they ask . what are the whites like down there? Do
they try to act nasty around you? So I said no, some are
nice and some ignore you.
These pressures were very real to Butch and had a definite influence on
his behavior.
Finally, Butch complained about only meeting 5 black people he knew
at OSU after two terms, and stated that he knew maybe a hundred people
at AU, the traditional black institution in the state. Butch's discon
tent also stretched to regretting that he had promised a white friend
that they could be roommates for the summer. He wanted a black roommate,
citing a greater understanding of him and his lifestyle as the main

107
reasons for desiring such a change. Butch planned to visit the AU campus
in the near future, and even considered transferring to AU after complet
ing his Associate of Arts degree at OSU.
Summary. Butch was very optimistic about adjusting to life at the
university when he entered OSU. He prided himself on getting along with
whites, was excited to be at such a prestigious institution, and was
confident in his ability to succeed. Despite pressure from his black
peers at home, about his relationship with whites, he continued to behave
in what Gibbs (1974) described as the mode of affirmation. That is,
maintaining his cultural identity, yet working and socializing with
whites and was open to new experiences in his new milieu. Most of his
new friends on campus were white, his home friends, black. The first
term at OSU was filled with more positive than negative experiences,
and could be called successful.
Things changed second term. Butch's social life in the dormitory
was virtually nonexistent in comparison with the first term. The other
black student in the dorm moved off campus; his good friend Joe didn't
have as much time for him; and he overheard hallmates refer to a "nigger"
in their conversation. Peer pressure from black friends at home and his
uncle's family influenced his behavior toward whites.
By the end of the term, he was confused, felt alienated from whites,
and was entertaining thoughts of transfering to a predominately black
school. His mode of behavior had changed to separation, with symptoms of
the withdrawal mode as well.
Social comfort appeared to be of greater importance than academic
adjustment for this student. His perceptions about his interaction with
his white peers had changed. At this time he believed that whites are

108
different from what I thought they were; I will be more comfortable
around people who are more like me--who understand my lifestyle and who
accept me; my black friends and my uncles were right about whites 'not
accepting blacks'; and I am confused and angry about this change in my
social life.
Janice
Janice's social life revolved around Tina, a black student who
became her best friend, her roomates, her boyfriend, and her family. She
did very little single dating, and usually went out with her female
friends. (During the second term, Janice became engaged to her boyfriend
from home, who was also the father of her child.) Tina introduced her to
social activities on and off campus. Together they attended black
fraternity dances, participated in a racially-integrated Bible study
class, went shopping and out to dinner, attended concerts, and more than
anything else sat around talking in the dormitory. Janice believed that
the biggest social problem she had was not having enough social events on
campus that related to her lifestyle. She did not belong to any student
organizations, but was interested in joining the Gosepl Choir because
Tina was a member. Most of Janice's friends at OSU were black.
In discussing her black/white relations, Janice reported that she
found most whites and blacks very friendly on campus. She was not always
conscious of being a minority student and found the campus atmosphere
very comfortable. Janice stated that she had not experienced any racial
discrimination on campus, but had been involved with at least two inci
dents off campus in which she and Tina felt they had experienced racial

109
discrimination. She commented that "whites are more prejudiced here than
at home".
Janice did report encountering some racial tension in the dormitory
with white hallmates, and seemed perplexed by them:
Like there's one girl from Singer (another dormitory).
She's nice, but she gets snobby sometimes, too. Like she
came last week cause she wanted to know if Tina and I wanted
to ride to see "Saturday Night Fever" in her sister's car
. . And then like one time she made the statement that her,
their parents, are paying for black students to come here
and flunk out. They're paying taxes for us to come! See,
she gets like that, on and off. So I really don't care for
her.
Another incident that recurred often in her friend Tina's room was
described by Janice as another example of racial tension in the
dormitory.
Okay, like there's one girl, she used Tina's phone to call
home. She won't even speak to Tina. But she'll come and
say, "Can I use your phone". Just like that. Then she'll
leave without saying thank you--Just like we weren't even
there.
Janice reported that these incidents continued until Tina decided not to
let the girl use the telephone. Other negative incidents described by
Janice were those Tina related to her. She learned of Tina's negative
experiences, and compared them with hers.
When asked if she initiated any interaction with white students,
this is how Janice responded:
No. They don't seem to want to. Not the ones at my dorm,
at least. I guess everybody is too busy. I don't know.
I never hardly see them anyway.
However, later on in the second term, Janice volunteered examples of
positive interactions with whites that she did not expect:
When I was toting a bag of groceries home, this boy asked,
"Would you like me to carry those home for you?" And I
said, "I think I can manage." He was white and I was
surprised.

no
A second incident occurred when Janice was sick with the flu. She des
cribed how she received additional attention from her roommates and close
friends, and was again caught by surprise when her white hallmates were
concerned:
And then ... I passed two other friends as I was going to
class Wednesday. They said, "Why aren't you in bed?" I
said, "I got a test tomorrow and I got to go to a review."
She said, "Well you get in and get out as quick as possible.
And this was a white girl!".
Janice experienced these isolated interactions with white students,
but did not have on-going friendships with them, depsite her reference to
them as friends.
She claimed that she was not uncomfortable around whites, just more
comfortable around blacks:
I'd just feel better around black people. I'd just hang
around many more friends, I don't know. ... I really don't
have no white friends here. I speak to them in the hallways
of the dorm--that's as far as that goes. As far as getting
together to talk, it doesn't happen.
Summary. Janice's social life both semesters revolved around her
black friend Tina, telephone calls and occasional visits from her boy
friend and family who were in her hometown. Since her roommates were
also black, and she was more comfortable around blacks, there was little
incentive to interact with whites. In addition, her friends at home were
black, and she was not used to relating to whites.
The little interaction she experienced with white peers was casual-
-speaking to floormates in passing, in the dormitory or on the campus.
Some of the racial tension Janice experienced was in a vicarious way,
through her friend Tina. She did, however cite some examples of racial
tension in the dormitory which she experienced firsthand. Janice did not
believe that her white peers really noticed her and was surprised when on

Ill
a couple of occasions, her white peers came to her aid. Her perceptions
about whites were that whites are friendly, sometimes, but cannot be
trusted entirely; whites choose not to interact with blacks as a rule;
whites are generally indifferent to blacks on campus; and whites in the
community around OSU are more prejudiced than whites at home.
Claire
Claire was a gregarious person who enjoyed talking and participating
in group activities. She indicated that she belonged to racially mixed
friendship groups, as well as black groups. She reported that her best
friends were black students whom she met after attending OSU. Her social
life involved mainly group dating, and the greatest social problem she
had was not having enough black males or a variety of black males from
which to choose dating partners. She also complained that there were too
few things to do and enjoy at OSU. She went home on weekends to attend
social activities both terms.
Most of the social activities she attended were sponsored by the
dormitory or by black fraternities and sororities. She learned of"the
social events through posters and signs around campus, and from talking
to friends in the dormitory lounges and lobbies. She did not belong to
any campus organizations, but was interested in joining the Black Student
Union, a black sorority, and the University gospel choir. She did not
feel that her social life at OSU changed very much from what it was prior
to her attending.
Claire stated that she was very conscious of being a minority
student on campus. Even though she found both blacks and whites in her

112
dormitory friendly, she found that people in both groups whom she met
were rather indifferent. She did not believe she had been a victim of
racial discrimination. However, she reported experiencing some racial
tension in the dormitory.
In her classroom, where most of her professors were white males, she
did not feel pressured to be a black spokesperson, and felt comfortable
in discussing her views with others. She has had discussions on racial
issues with black friends and white friends, yet had overheard no nega
tive remarks made about blacks. When she entered OSU she was scared and
somewhat doubtful about being able to succeed at a predominately white
school. Then, after arriving, she found that "in the long run I can do
just as good as they can". Claire explained her feelings further:
I think it's good, but you know, a lot of whites probably
can't get used to the idea of blacks coming to a big-time
University like this one. I think it's good, you know,
though a lot of blacks still feel like outsiders. They
don't feel like they're wanted I think they have something
in one of the newspapers about . they interviewed some
of the blacks and how they were talking about, you know
after they left the University they wouldn't support it at
all because, you know, they still didn't feel like they were
part of it. They felt like outsiders. So, but I think it's
good, you know, it's about time blacks start getting equal
rights.
As mentioned earlier, Claire was surprised at the friendliness of
the women on her hall. It appeared that her individual interaction with
whites was positive, despite her feelings towards them as a group. Over
all, Claire felt that most whites were sorry that blacks were attending
OSU. An example of her interaction with friends on her hall follows.
I still feel the same, you know. No different. We all get
along pretty good. I mean, it's like you know, a lot of the
girls want to come in and sit down and watch TV, you know, a
lot of them don't have a television in their rooms. They'll
come down and sit and watch TV with me. It's like yesterday
I was cooking neck bones and one white girl had never, she
didn't even know what it was. She said what is it from?

113
Chicken neck, or what? I said, "My God!" I let her taste
it. She said it was pretty good. That's how a lot of them
are on this floor. They like to, you know, a lot of them
like to eat with the black girls, cause, you know, how we
cook those home cooked meals.
Claire enjoyed her interactions with hallmates, and stated that she
still had good feelings about OSU at the end of her second term. She was
looking forward to returning for the summer, and reported that she felt
good enough about OSU to encourage friends and her future children to
attend the University.
Summary. Claire had not experienced friendships with whites before
attending the university, even though she attended an integrated high
school and participated in racially mixed organizations. She enjoyed
both black and white friends at OSU, yet was not trusting of the atti
tudes of whites as a group about blacks. She believed that members of
both racial groups were friendly, but also found both somewhat indiffer
ent. Her general perception about whites on entering OSU was that she
would have little involvement with them, so she was pleasantly surprised
to find them easy to relate to. On the other hand, because she knew more
about blacks, she expected more involvement with them, yet found herself
less involved, due in part to what she perceived as limited social
outlets, and too few black males to date.
Yvette
Socializing with friends was one of Yvette's favorite pasttimes.
She described her general activities in college: "I usually just go to
class and come on back. Well, that's all I ever do, and walk up and down
the halls and talk." Yvette's main social outlet was her single dating

114
with Aaron, a black sophomore whom she began dating her senior year in
high school. However, socializing in the dormitory was very important to
her. In describing activities she attended most often, dorm parties and
socials were first on her list. She described her best friends as black
and white, including people she had met before attending college and
those she met since attending. There were several black students living
on Yvette's hall, but the majority of the students were white. She is a
very friendly person and interacted regularly with her hallmates.
Yvette observed that the social life on her hall was divided by the
elevator, that is, most groups and friendships formed among women who
lived on the same side of the elevator. Yvette, however, belonged to
groups on both sides of the elevator. This became evident to her when
she discovered that she was the only person from her side of the elevator
who was invited to a birthday party on the other side. This description
of her interactions with hallmates reflects her typical social behavior
with her peers:
We're all supposed to get together at seven every night and
exercise. . Tonight is the first time the whole floor is
having a potluck dinner with everybody bringing a different
part of the meal. And most of us are eating together...It's
like almost 50 girls on one floor, so about half of us are
gonna have dinner together tonight.
Yvette expressed her feelings about getting to know people on her
hall:
I met most of the girls . .Well, I met like Carley the
first day I got here. I met her, and then later I met the
other girls. Between her and Johnnie-Ruth and Judy, they
introduced me to just about the whole floor. And, you know,
most of them are very friendly and you get to know them
while you're watching TV, cooking in the same kitchen, and
stuff like that.

115
Yvette indicated that she does not feel conscious of her minority
status on campus, and that she was very comfortable at the University.
She described the campus atmosphere as friendly and stated that she had
never experienced any racial discrimination. In fact, she stated that
she had not discussed racial issues with blacks or whites since arriving
on campus.
What Yvette did experience with whites in her living area were
conversations and exchanges about cultural differences and similarities
between blacks and whites. Yvette reported an exchange about hair:
Just...one day we were talking about the different types of
hair, you know. So they were saying, "Well, Yvette, your
hair's different from Louise and Carley (both black like
Yvette). Me and Louise and her rommate were talking about
different types of hair. So Louise said, "just like
whites...just like the white people--we all have different
hair. Like your's might have some body; Vanessa, hers has
natural curl to it; and yours is straight but it has body;
and then there's some that just have stringy hair that
hangs, you know." "Uh huh. I guess it is true that there
are different types of hair." You say, "ya, just like white
people have different types, blacks do,, too".
Here she explained a demonstration of a black hairstyle.
The R.A. said she saw some black girls with their hair
braided. She was talking about it..."I saw it...it was in a
circle going around; one time your hair was like this." Just
a circle, you know because I had it parted down the middle
and braided around. And she said, "Looks just like its
braided around, just coming around in a circle and every
thing be together. And it just be a circle. How did y'all
do that?" They want to know how we did it so I showed 'em...
I was showing 'em I did part of mine and they say, "Yes,
that's what we talking about." I say, well if that's the
case yours can be corn-rowed. And they say, really? And I
told them yeah. So one of them was standing up, she say,
"Well, do mine, do mine!" So I did hers and it was holding
it, you know, and she said, "Aah!".
Yvette was good at sharing information with her white peers as
illustrated in this example:

116
And so I had the make-up. I says, "Let me see how this look
on you." She say, "No! I couldn't wear your make-up. It's
probably too dark for me." And I said, "Naah. You can
really wear any kind of make-up if you put it on right."
She said, "Okay, let's try it." I put it on. She said,
"Oophhh, it just looks like I got a suntan. I can wear your
make-up! Yvette, I'm about the same color you are." and I
said,, "No, you STILL not the same color I am!"
Yvette indicated that she and her white roommate, Judy, got along
very well even though they didn't have much in common. The last thing
they had in common was school. Yvette complained that Judy never went to
classes. She felt uncomfortable with Judy's attitude towards school,
and often expressed her opinion about it to Judy. It was not really a
surprise, then, when she learned that Judy wanted to change roommates
though she was not sure of Judy's reason for leaving. Yvette then asked
Johnnie-Ruth, a black hallmate from her hometown, to be her roommate.
When asked why she chose Johnnie Ruth, she replied:
Well, I, you know, I could say anything to her without
offending her...Something I know I couldn't say to Judy.
I felt she would probably be offended.
Johnnie-Ruth was much like Judy, regarding class attendance and again,
Yvette was disturbed:
Johnnie-Ruth and I are pretty good friends, but this quarter
she didn't go to a lot of her classes either. And I was
telling her next quarter she was gonna have to go to her
classes, and we were gonna have to get some studying done...
So we're both gonna, you know, push each other.
Socializing in her living area was important in Yvette's life in
college, and she participated in it fully with blacks and whites.
Summary. Yvette was a social mixer. She made friends, blacks and
whites, quite easily. She was proud of her blackness, yet was interested
in sharing in experiences of her white peers. Her primary social system
included single dating a black boyfriend, and interracial socializing in

117
her dormitory. It is interesting to note that despite her gregarious
ness, she was rooted strongly in her black social system. She and her
boyfriend attended predominately black social events, and when her white
roommate left, she chose a black roommate with whom whe was more comfort
able.
Yvette's perceptions about her white peers did not change signifi
cantly in two terms. She was quite at ease interacting with whites at
OSU, perhaps because she was used to relating to them prior to her
attendance at OSU.
Gordon
Gordon describes himself as a loner, who claimed early in the team
to have little time to make friends, or to develop a social life. His
time was devoted to his classes, his job (an eight hour night shift three
times a week at a convenience store) and doing his homework. He
described his social life as non-existent and stated that he had not
attended any social events on campus during the first term. He did not
belong to any social group or clubs, although he was interested in
joining some specific ones:
I, like I said before, I want to join Alphas but that's
another thing, you know. I can't you know they won't be
rushing until the spring. And I might or might not be here
next spring. I know when I spoke to Jim, he was telling me
that he's a Mason. I've alsays been interested in the
Masons.
Most of the people Gordon interacted with at OSU and at his job were
white. He was the only black student in all of his classes and did not
make friends at school. However, his friends from the service were black

118
and white, and of other ethnic origins, while most of his friends from
home were black. On the campus he found blacks and whites equally
friendly towards him. Gordon's attitude about whites had changed rather
significantly after he joined the service.
You see, in the military I learned to see people, as people.
. . Before I went in I was going to join the (Black)
Panthers, I was very conscious about being black.
Even though Gordon reported little time for socializing, he enjoyed
talking with people. He eventually met his neighbors (black and white)
in his apartment complex, but interacted more with people at work.
Since my job is near the interstate you get a lot of
people who just want to talk. You know, I'm a junior
counselor I guess. I think my favorite part is the
interaction with people.
Another social outlet for Gordon was the telephone. The first
several weeks he talked to his family, friends from the service, and old
friends from home. One of his closest friends was Laura, whom he met in
the service. She is white and was one of the people who influenced him
to attend school. They corresponded by letter and telephone.
I have called her twice and she has called once. She was
always honest with me, and gave me encouragement. Whenever
I'm depressed I call her for some cheering up.
Gordon's family and black friends from his neighborhood in New York were
also a part of his telephone network.
I called another girl named Shelly. She's in school in
Rochester, New York, where the snow is. She's a girl who
grew up around the corner from me. Everyone thought she was
the perfect mate for me, and that I would marry her. And I
call my older sister, cause we're really close, and I call
one of my friends whose name is Sonny--hes in New York.
Later in the quarter, Gordon decided to reduce his work schedule in order
to develop new relationships.

119
It's a shame I may have to quit. Oh, I may really have to...
OK, I go to work, I go to school, and I go to sleep. And
all work and no play and stuff like that. . It's making
it easier for me to avoid getting into relationships with
people. It's something I've always taken for granted,
having friends, and like I know very few people.
Eventually, Gordon did not reduce his work schedule Out began to make
friends and joined a community Big Brother Program. He was a big brother
to a 13 year old black youngster with whom he developed a strong friend
ship.
Gordon's overall comments about whites as a group indicated that he
believed whites to be indifferent to blacks. He described being comfort
able on campus even though he was still conscious about being black. He
was not aware of any experiences that could be called discriminatory.
Summary. Gordon's biggest worry about college was developing
relationships and fitting in with his new peers. Though he was a loner,
he enjoyed people, both black and white. His good friends at home were
black, and friends from his duty in the military were black and white.
As a result of his military experiences he had developed more liberal
attitudes toward whites, and his perceptions had not changed at the time
in the study.
Gordon's early campus social life seemed to center around friends at
home and in the military whom he reached by telephone. He knew people in
his classes of both races but rarely interacted with them. He had plans
to join a black fraternity, and during the second term developed a strong
relationship with a teenager in the community as part of the Big Brother
Program.

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Black-Black Peer Relationships
All of the students had strong family and friendship ties from their
home communities which continued to influence their lives after entering
OSU. The stronger of these friendships were the black-black peer rela
tionships which were for the majority (Claire, Yvette, Butch) of great
importance in their day to day lives.
Butch
The majority of Butch's classmates were black students whom he met
after coining to OSU. Some of them were from his high school and from his
home town. Butch's interactions with his black classmates were limited
to the classroom for the most part.
Sam, the black junior who lived in his dorm first term was the
only black peer he spent time with during the first weeks on campus. He
did not have a best friend at OSU, and spent much of this time alone or
in group activity with his hallmates.
In his English class his first term in shcool, he did become a
member of a small group whose members became close because of their class
interests and activities. Two of the members were females who are a part
of this study. This led to casual social friendships outside class, but
not close friendships. For example, one of the females in the group
consented to braid his hair when he tired of wearing his old hairstyle,
yet they did not otherwise socialize.
On the other hand, Butch's black friends from home had developed
strong relationships with him, and he went home several weekends each

121
term to attend social events such as basketball games and concerts with
them. Butch did not go on single dates with women even weekends at home.
He would go out with a male buddy or a mixed group of friends. He had
several friends attending the junior college in his home town, as well as
the predominately black institution which many of them wanted him to
attend. These friends were extremely interested in how Butch was getting
along with his white peers, and how much they influenced him. He com
plained that he tired of their questions about how he was treated by
whites, and was surprised at their accusations that he was beginning to
"act white".
Summary. Butch identified more closely with his black peers at home
than those at school. He seemed to want to get to know his white peers
at school, and to test his theory that he was able to get along with
everyone.
His interest in attending OSU continued to bring questions and
challenging comments from his friends about how he related to his white
peers. Butch became frustrated by their queries and their insistence
that he began to act white.
Janice
Tina, a black freshman who had enrolled fall term, was Janice's
best friend on campus, and was the person who introduced her to other
black students on campus. Janice had known her in high school but they
had not been good friends. It was Tina who accompanied Janice to the
dances, and concerts sponsored by black organizations; went shopping with
her; set up a blind date for her; advised her about personal and academic

122
problems; attended church with her, and helped her whenever she needed
it. Tina and Janice shared daily experiences and became closer friends
than they had been when they were in high school. Janice was not very
active socially and usually went out at Tina's suggestion.
I just don't like getting involved socially. Even when I
was home I never went out with anybody. . I've had a
couple of dates but I wasn't interested.
Janice spent much of her time on the telephone with her family and
boyfriend both terms in school. The first few weeks of her first term in
school she called home every night and incurred a large telephone bill.
She and her family are very close and kept in touch often by calling and
writing. Also during her first term, she was visited on separate
occasions by her father, her boyfriend and her son, who was brought by
her mother and sister. It appeared that Janice's closest black friend at
home was her fiancee, whom she had dated several years; and to whom she
became engaged during the second term.
Janice spent more time at OSU with her black peers than her white
peers. Both of her roommates were black, and she spent much of her time
outside of class in the dorm with Tina and one of her roommates. The
campus events she attended were usually sponsored by black organizations.
Though most of her life evolved around her black peers, during one of the
interviews about her social life Janice described her best friends on
campus as black--on the questionnaire she checked both black and white as
best friends. Another mixed message was recorded after Janice spent a
weekend with a black friend who attended the predominately black
institution in the state. After that weekend she experienced interest in
transferring to the black school. She learned that a large number of her

123
black friends from high school were students there, and she wanted to be
with them:
It's just that I want to...It's just like the people I hung
around with in school--like everybody went just about to the
same schools.
When asked if there were any academic reasons for transferring, Janice
responded:
No. It's a black school and that's why I want to transfer
to it. You know, like my friend told me there are
only two whites students that live on that campus.
Janice was uncertain about when she wanted to transfer and had not done
so by the end of the second term.
Summary. Janice was an introvert who was more comfortable with her
black peers at school than her white peers. She had two black roommates,
and was influenced heavily by Tina, a good friend with whom she was
acquainted at high school.
Janice spent most of her social life with her black peers or with a
family member by telephone. Even though she attended several campus
social events, they were usually sponsored by predominately black organ
izations or groups. She was more comfortable around her black peers, and
was cautious about establishing relationships with whites, even though
she reported her best friends as both black and white.
Claire
Most of Claire's best friends were black at OSU. She went on group
dates with other black freshmen, including her roommate. They attended
dances, concerts, and dormitory parties. Her cousin, a male upperclass
man, who had a car, would also take her out to social events on campus.

124
Claire and her cousin, who owned a car, went home on weekends not only to
visit their parents and friends, but also to attend social activities.
Claire called or wrote home every week, and derived much support
from this contact with her family. When she visited home, she noted that
her female relatives were more interested in her social life than her
academic life. She did not engage in single dating very much, mainly
because she did not feel she had enough choice in the black male popula
tion at OSU. She was one of the four students who belonged to a small
group established in her English class. She was good friends with the
other female, Yvette, and had positive relationships with the males who
were also black.
Not all of Claire's interactions with black students were positive.
She described what she thought was surprising and puzzling:
I find that a lot of blacks on this campus will pass by you
and won't speak, you know. Even if they don't know you, I
mean, even if some of them don't know you, some of them
could just turn their heads or something. And I find that a
lot of whites--they don't have to know you to speak.
Claire's social life decreased her second term in school. She
went to fewer parties and activities outside the dormitory, and went home
less often, too. She attributed this to the increase in her study
habits. She also spent less time cooking and watching TV, but reported
that she and her friends still got together to talk in the evenings in
the dormitory. She was not unhappy about the decrease in her social
life, and she thought the time put into her studies paid off.
Summary. Claire's black peers included her cousin, other new black
coeds, as well as her friends back home. Her social life with her black
peers on campus was facilitated by her cousin who was an upperclassman
and the group outings she had wth her black female friends.

125
During the first term, Claire spent several weekends at home visit
ing with friends and family. She discontinued this the second term,
devoting more time to her studies. She was perplexed by the indifferent
attitude of some of her black peers and the unexpected friendliness of
her white peers.
Yvette
Yvette observed that overall she socialized more with blacks than
with whites. Many of her black peers at OSU were friends she knew from
home, including Aaron, her steady boyfriend. She belonged to a couple of
friendship groups formed in her classes and through talking with people
on the set, an area on campus where many black students gathered daily to
talk about events of the day. One such group was formed in her English
lab class her first term. There were three others who were in the
group--two males and one female. They met quite often because of their
classes:
And most of . four of us are in three different classes
together. So the four of us usually communicate with each
other in English class, in the social science class, and the
lab class. We talk and kid around.
Yvette and Claire, the other female in the group, became good
friends. They studied together sometimes, and attended social activities
together in the dormitory or on campus. They also spent a lot of time
socializing together between the classes they had together.
Yvette did not belong to any organized groups on campus but was
interested in joining the Black Student Union and a black sorority. She
reported that she found more than enough interesting things to do, but

126
the events and activities that interested her most occurred off campus or
outside the city. Yvette would go home on some weekends to visit her
family, but also to participate in activities of a social nature, like
musical concerts. Otherwise, her campus socializing with her black peers
included fraternity dances and shows, talking with friends and
participating with them at campus sponsored activities.
Summary. Yvette's social life at OSU was dominated by her boyfriend
and her hallmates, black and white. She believed over all that she
socialized more with black peers at OSU than with whites. She made black
friends in class, in the dormitory, and through her boyfriend, who was
also black.
Her social life focused on black peer relationships at school, more
than at home. She did, however, go home to attend social events such as
musical concerts which were more to her liking than some campus events.
Gordon
Gordon, like Butch, spent much of his time alone. Like the others,
his black peer relations were strong at home. Gordon's contact with
them was by telephone. He would spend up to 2 1/2 to 3 hours talking to
friends long distance. Louis and Bill were close black friends with whom
he communicated regularly. His childhood girlfriend in Rochester was a
female peer he contacted fairly often, yet his local black peers were not
a part of his life except on a casual basis. Some of the students who
lived in his apartment complex were black, and he played basketball with
them and other residents occasionally.

127
His only other direct contact with blacks was his relationship with
his teenaged Little Brother. Because Gordon had made a decision to
establish new relationships,, and to become more involved in social life,
he expressed interest in joining a black fraternity group, working with
the staff at the Afro-American Cultural Center--activities which by their
nature would involve his black peers.
Summary. Gordon's strongest relations were also back home with his
peers. Since he was a loner, his ties with black campus peers were
casual. On occassion he would interact more deliberately with persons he
knew, but he was usually the only black in his classes, and his work
prevented social interaction with anyone outside of classes.
Summary: Black-Black Peer Relations
Make new friends, but keep the old is a cliche which aptly described
the peer relationships of the student in this study. They had strong
ties with black peers at home which influenced their behavior on campus
with the new friends they made, whether with other blacks or whites. As
a group, the students seem to participate more with peer groups in social
events in their home communities, than with peer relationships in their
new environment. Only one student, Janice, actually established strong
black peer relationships after entering OSU.
The male students did not make time for peer relationships with
blacks on the campus, although one had interacted closely with one black
student early in the first term. Toward the end of the second term, he
and one female student were considering transferring to the predominately
black school in the state.

128
Two of the female students, on the other hand, pointed out that
their greatest social interaction was with their black peers, yet they
were proud and comfortable with their white friendships, too. These
white friendships were with females in their living areas. The other
female seemed to prefer the company of her black peers, but described
some of her best friends as white. She was clearly surprised when whites
were courteous and acted toward her as her black friends did. Another
female also expressed this same type of surprise at the friendliness of
some whites, and the indifference of some blacks who refused to speak to
her after she spoke to them.
It is clear that overall the black-white peer relationships are not
as strong the first or second term as the home-based black-black
relationship for the new freshmen.
If I Study More, My Grades Will Improve
The activities which consumed the majority of the average freshman's
time and energy were (1) attending classes, and (2) doing homework.
Their constant concern was about how well they were doing and what grades
they would make in each class. The classroom interactions and other
events resulting from them, i.e., homework, study groups, conferences
with the professors, seemed to be more important than any other aspect of
their life in the freshmen year. Here also, the peer influencethis
time of classmates--was very strong.
Student perceptions about their professors, class activity, study
habits and grades are described in this section.

129
Butch
Overall, Butch felt that most of his courses were relevant and
interesting to him. He preferred the small discussion classes as opposed
to the large lectures or the laboratory classes, but sometimes felt that
other students inhibited him from expressing his views. His attendance
in class was very high, and he thought he performed well on papers and
other written assignments. If he experienced problems with homework
assignments, he was more likely to seek help from other students rather
than from professors. On the other hand, he felt that it was easy to get
help from professors, much easier, in fact, than getting help from
graduate assistant teachers. Butch's experience with a graduate
assistant teacher his first term led to a rather lengthy complaint to
the researcher. Things she did that he did not like included
a. Cancelling a class in order to allow more time for office
appointments with students in the class.
b. Her rigid office hours. She could not arrange flexible hours to
see the undergraduates and, unfortunately, Butch had classes
during her office hours.
c. Her change of behavior when her supervisory teacher came to
observe the class. Specifically, the students were given less
time to complete a quiz, which counted toward their final grade.
When approached about her behavior by many students after class,
she agreed to consider dropping the last two or three questions
on the quiz since the students didn't have the usual time to
complete it.

130
Butch preferred professors to graduate assistant teachers since that
experience.
During his first term, Butch did not interact very much with his
professors--in or out of class. He did state, though, that if he mis
understood something in class, he was more likely to ask for clarifica
tion from the professor right then in class, instead of waiting to
approach the professor after class, or asking a classmate. Of particular
interest were Butch's reactions to a class he enjoyed very much, and one
he found very boring. His favorite class during the first term was
taught by a professor who reminded him of one of his high school history
teachers:
Like you know, this social science in a way is like history.
And during high school, I had just about what most of the
students said was the meanest teacher in the school. Cause
you know he would say, "You can't believe nothing I say".
But if you didn't listen to him, you'd fail the test. I
happened to make an "A" in that class, and I used to jive
with the teacher. And as long as you kept conversing with
him, and participating in the discussions, you could make it.
Butch liked the professor's style and said that he participated more in
this class than any other class his first term. At the same time, Butch
was reluctant to discuss an exam grade with the professor in this class.
He made a "C" on his first exam, although he was certain that he per
formed better. He was equally as sure he had done better work on the
second one--on which he missed an "A" by 1/4 of a point. He didn't
understand why this happened, but did not want to talk to the professor
about it.
I'll just keep on and as long as I make a "B", I'll be
satisfied. I take a test today, and hopefully I can make an
"A" on this one, that may average to a "B". . But you
know, a "B" I could easily improve to an "A".

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Butch continued to perform less well than he thought he was in
social science, and towards the end of the term he decided to visit
the professor. He was surprised to learn that the professor thought he
was doing well in the course, and that he had the highest grade for class
participation than any other student in the course. From this experience
he developed a perspective about interacting with teachers which he used
the remainder of the quarter and throughout the next school term:
I think I could do better than I did . 'cause I don't
think I visited any of my teachers until something like the
sixth week of classes.. .just like my social science class.
At first I seemed as though I was lost, but then I made a
few visits to him, I became, well, it seemed like it was
better, 'cause I understood where I was at.
He then predicted what his future behavior would be in his classes:
I feel that all you have to do is continue to talk. The
grades will come in, you know. But at first I was saying,
"You better be sure you be quiet, so you don't get in no
trouble11. So maybe, next quarter fHTl visit my teachers and
get to know them. I think I can do better.
Butch began to interact more with other professors, and by the end of the
second term even reported good experiences in his English course in
which he had been experiencing some difficulties.
The class so boring to Butch was the physical science course in
which they studied rocks. The professor teaching the class also wrote
the book used in the class. He "double-taught" according to Butch
because the reading assignments were identical to the class lectures.
Butch disliked the class because it was boring to him, difficult to take
notes in, because the professor talked so fast, and because he thought it
was easy.
He made an "A" on the first test, and a "C" on the second one. This
surprised him, but his explanation was that after making an "A" on the

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first test he had said to himself, "Man it ain't nothing to make an "A"
in here!", and stopped studying as much as he had at he beginning of the
course.
Study habits and Grades. Butch classified his high school study
habits as good, although he did not have a regular studying schedule.
When asked to describe his study habits at OSU, he reported that they
were adequate, and that they had improved after the first term. However,
by the end of that term, he felt that his study habits needed improvement
because his grades did not show as much change as he expected.
When estimating the time he studied during the week, Butch was
unsure, but guessed that he studied up to 20 hours during the week and up
to five on the weekends. Again, he had no regular study schedule, but
Usually studied alone in his room between classes, as well as regularly
in the evenings. He indicated that he did not like cram studying, and
that he tried not to let his work build up. He did not like to study in
complete silence, and usually had music playing softly when he studied.
On occasion, Butch would study with some of his friends on the hall,
but more often he would watch them study, in awe of their team effort.
Yeah, I just sit around and watch them. Like all the
accounting majors . They have two days of tests next
week, and this weekend, you know, it has just been fun just
being around them while they study. I noticed them, how
they come around and say, "Hey now, I'm having problems with
this new problem". And Joe, how you doing? How do you
answer this one...And he goes over then explains how you get
it. I think I got it! I think I got it! Then they go back
and try it. Well a little bit later they come back in I
still ain't got it. You know, just in and out you know.
Getting themselves informationed out.
Butch was impressed with this sharing process--so much so that he
envisioned being included with other freshmen studying that way:

133
You know, if I can get in with a few friends that might be
in the same category I'm in--freshmen and al 1 I mean, I'm
quite sure all of us can make it, you know; helping each
other study.
In contrast to his attraction to the study habits of his hallmates,
was his avoidance of his black peers whom he had known from high school.
Many of them were living together in another housing area on campus, and
he felt they would prevent him from studying:
Yesterday when I was coming home in the rain, this girl in
one of my classes said, "Where are you going?" I said, "I'm
going home." She said, "You staying with anyone?" I said,
"Yeah." She said you're secluded from everyong else. I
said it's better to study. She said that's for real . .
when you're right in there with all the rest of the (black)
students, you don't study at all--you know, they party all
the time.
In this same light Butch relayed that he had the freedom to study
without any "dominant friends influencing him". Butch's feelings about
studying are summarized in a statement he made comparing college and high
school work: "In a way it's similar to high school, except rougher.
You're on your own, and you have to dedicate yourself to studying."
Butch was very concerned about doing well in school. He didn't
study as much as he thought he should. He stated that he thought he
could make better grades if he studied more, and if he talked to his
professors more frequently. Butch made a "C+" average in his first term
at OSU; two "B's" and two "C's", and a satisfactory grade in the physical
education course. He decided to study more the second term, when he
planned to take regular courses.
In the second term, however, he continued a combination of regular
and special courses and his grades were worse. He received one "B", one
"C", and two "D's". Butch felt that his performance on the finals made
the difference in the grades he projected and the ones he received. Yet,

134
when asked if he intended to request a look at his final exams, he
answered in the negative. He had no plans to talk to the professors.
Yet Butch was not discouraged, and said he'd try to do better next term.
Claire
Classroom interaction. Claire described most of her classes as
interesting. She was very conscientious about attending classes, and
reported that during the first term she only missed two. In three of
her courses Claire had weekly quizzes and exams. She said that a
student not attending and not studying could easily fall behind in
classes.
She was comfortable expressing her views in class and enjoyed small
discussion classes more then lecture classes. If she misunderstood
information during class, she was more likely to approach the professor
after class, rather than seek clarification in class. She found it easy
to communicate with most professors, and easy to get help from them. She
reported, though, that she often incurred difficulty trying to reach
graduate teaching assistants. Claire was more inclined to seek help with
homework assignments from other students rather than professors, and she
tended to study alone.
Claire liked her social science course, and particularly enjoyed
behavioral studies course because they studied the adjustment of college
students to the University. The course had no texts, but students were
given outside readings and were responsible for information from class
lectures and discussions. Claire found the physical science class boring
and reported her feelings about it.

135
Well, I mean, that is, I hate to say it, but it is a
completely boring class. Maybe if it was taught in a
different way, you know. You know, it's taught by Dr. X.
He's kind of up there in age, you know, I'm not the only one
in the class, I mean, thinks that, cause, I mean, I try to
pay attention to him. The majority of the people in the
class, you know, a lot of them just get up and walk out,
half of them have their heads on their desk. But I never do
that. I always try to listen. I never get up and walk out.
She found the students leaving even more distracting, but reported that
the professor finally asked the students not to leave unless they had
made prior arrangements with him.
Another class that Claire did not like was the english writing lab.
She admitted that after really enjoying english and doing well in it
through high school, she had lost interest in the subject. She
complained of the amount of work required in the lab even though she
considered herself a conscientious and studious freshman.
But I think all the work we have to do in English lab is
just not worth it. For one credit. I mean, we do just as
much work in English lab as we do in English class. I don't
think it's fair. I don't. I mean, every day we have some
thing to do. It never stops. Well, I feel that I'm learn
ing. But still, for one credit.
With the exception of her english lab class, Claire was required to do
her assignments outside class, and was therefore on her own to decide how
much time would be spent studying. In her english course, as in all of
her other courses, she was quizzed weekly, and was required to take a
midterm and final exam.
In contrast to her first term, all but one of her professors in her
second term did not require a midterm or final examination. She con
tinued to have quizzes, and a heavier emphasis was placed on research
papers. Claire felt that her second term courses were harder, therefore
she decided she should study harder, and spend less time socializing.

136
Study habits and grades. According to Claire, her high school study
habits were fair. During her first term at OSU, she described them as
inadequate. She estimated that she studied 11-20 hours a week, and up to
five hours on the weekends. She studied alone most of the time, and
found that she studied best in the dormitory library. She discovered
that there were too many interruptions, such as phone calls and people
dropping by, for her to concentrate well in her room her first term. She
began studying in the dorm library toward the end of the first term, and
spent the majority of her study time there her second term.
Claire often studied with Yvette, a member of a foursome she was a
part of in her English, Social Science and English Lab classes. They
often consulted each other on homework assignments, and studied with the
other group members, as well. She described how the group was estab-
1ished.
Yvette knew Bob. I doubt if they planned their classes or
anything together. But me, the four of us have these three
classes. ... It was just a coincidence. We did not plan
on anything, cause at the time I didn't know any of them.
Sometimes we study together, and (sometimes) we just laugh
and joke and stuff like that.
After the first term, Claire thought her study habits had improved. She
had projected that she would make 2 B's and 2 C's for the first term, but
she learned that she made all C's. She reacted to her grades this way:
Oh, they were OKthey could have been better. I got all
C's. . I know I could have done a lot better, cause a
lot of times I didn't study. I'm kind of proud of myself.
I mean, this is my first quarter. If I make up my mind
before this quarter (next quarter), maybe I'll get a 3.0!
Claire added that she received the grades she deserved, considering that
it was her first term and the time that she studied.

137
When asked what changes she would make for her second term, Claire
replied that she planned to do more stuyding. At the end of her second
term, she was convinced that she had really studied more than she did her'
first term.
Yes. Yes, I go to the library quite often. I usually study
every day and most of the time I go down to the library,
even if I'm in the room by myself, like last night. I was
sitting up here to study, but I couldn't. I just couldn't
study up here. I couldn't concentrate at all like down at
the library cause I sat up here about thirty minutes and I
just couldn't get started. So I went down to the library.
So I feel I'm more relaxed.
Claire projected that she would get more B's her second term and was
very pleased with herself when she learned of her grades. At the end of
the term she had learned that she had earned two B's, one C, and two S's.
Janice
Classroom interaction. Janice felt that most of her classes were
interesting, but was somewhat uncomfortable in some of them. She did not
have a favorite class either term, but did enjoy some more than others.
For example, she reported that though she did not like to write, she
enjoyed her English class during first term and found that she partici
pated in that class more than others that term. When asked why her par
ticipation was high in English, she was not certain, but guessed that it
was because the class was smaller than the others she was enrolled in.
Janice stated that she did not participate in her classes often, but she
felt comfortable whenever she did.
She did not interact often with professors, in or out of class, and
preferred to visit with a professor after class if she misunderstood
something during class. She was also more inclined to seek help from

138
fellow classmates if she was having trouble with a homework assignment.
However, she reported that professors were accessible and easy to get
help from when she sought them, and found it easier still to get help
from the graduate teaching assistants. She did not begin to communicate
with professors regularly until her second term.
Janice did have a complaint about her Behavioral Studies class. It
was confusing and not what she expected:
We have three different teachers and each teach like three
sections apiece. And I thought the course was gonna be one
teacher and one subject. Three teachers, three different
subjects. So as soon as I get adjusted to one, then there's
a new teacher! This week it's psychology. So it's
confusing.
Janice also complained about the kind of teachers in this class:
I liked the first teacher better. He was more into it.
... He was a professor. The other two teachers, they're
like graduate students--nervous, monotone voices, boring.
Janice also had a graduate student teaching her social science course.
She said he was all right, but "still a graduate student".
Early in that term, Janice had mentioned that the students in her
social science classes seemed to be older and more sophisticated. She
preferred to listen more and participate less in that course. She
learned later in the term than most of the students were juniors and
seniors, and that she had registered for an upper level course.
Her attendance in her cources was high. She reported that she would
get to most of her classes about 10 to 15 minutes early in order to
review the homework she had done the night before. Overall, she found
her classes challenging, but was uncertain about her performance in some
of them.

139
Study habits and grades. Janice described her high school study
habits as excellent. She established a study schedule and followed it
regularly. After the first few weeks at OSU, she reported that her study
habits seemed adequate. She estimated that she studied between 21 and 30
hours during the week, and about 11 hours on the weekend. She studied
best alone in the dormitory library, and preferred doing her homework on
a regular basis, instead of cram studying.
Towards the end of the first term, Janice thought her study habits
had improved. She also projected that she would get the following
grades:
English, 8. I don't know about PE and I guess a C, I think
a B in social science, and in BES I'm hoping for a C. I
don't know about PE, though. I could get a D. I might fail
it! I could get a B out of BES if I aced it. But I doubt
that. I don't think I aced it. So with the curve, maybe
I can get a B. But I don't knowI'm shooting for a C,
definitely.
Three of Janice's professors gave students the option to take their
final exams earlier than they were originally scheduled. Janice wanted
to leave early for school vacation between the terms, so she chose to
take her exams the earlier dates. She thought the social science and
behavioral studies exams were difficult, and was surprised that she had a
written exam in physical education.
Janice earned three C's, and failed her behavioral science course.
She described these as terrible grades and was very depressed about her
performance:
I'm taking it over this term. I should have talked to
the teacher, I guess. That's what everybody says. I didn't
talk to any of my teachers. I'm not really that close to
them. I could have got a B out of the class, if I talked
with them.

140
She was so disappointed in her overall performance that she didn't want
to return to school:
I didn't want to come back. I told my mother about my
grades. She says...Well, that's not too bad for your first
term. So, go on, give it another try--Study. All
right? So I have come back. I feel pretty comfortable this
time with my courses.
Janice was enrolled in another English course, a math course, which
she took on an ungraded basis, another physical education course, and the
introductory cChemistry course. Her plans for the second term included
getting more rest, studying more, and communicating with her professors.
When asked about her general feeling after her first term in school,
Janice responded this way:
Not what I expected, at all! It's been a hectic term.
I mean, I hope next term is better. Like, I though
everything was A-OK, no hassles. Registration was the
biggest hassle. And then, my grades.
During the second term, Janice felt that she was studying more.
When asked how she felt about her performance in her classes, she
responded this way:
Better, a lot better. I feel more comfortable, since I
studied more.
For the second term, she predicted that she would earn three B's, and an
S or pass in the ungraded course she enrolled in.
Janice actually earned 2 C's, 1 D, and an S in the ungraded course.
She was disappointed, but was not interested in giving up on school, like
she was after her first term.

141
Yvette
Classroom interaction. Yvette enjoyed most of her classes and felt
they were interesting. Her class attendance was high, and she felt
comfortable expressing her views in class, especially classes she really
liked. If she misunderstood anything in class she was inclined to ask
for clarification right then, with the professor, as opposed to waiting
after class or asking a classmate.
One of Yvette's favorite classes her first term was social science.
She explained why she liked the class:
I like that because I like the teacher. Mr. X...I think
he really explains the basis of the class. He really
explains the work, you know, the different chapters. When
he lectures, you can understand what he's talking about. If
you don't understand, you can ask him any questions about
the material that he lectured on, and he can get it down to
where you can understand it.
Yvette liked teachers who took time to explain things and offered
attention. She explained why she liked her english writing lab and
disliked the english composition:
And the teacher for that class, she's easy to talk to...when
you write out your papers, if there are any mistakes, she
sits right there with you, seeing what you did, and all.
And tells you different things you could have put in the
paper...that you might do to improve it. So you have to
re-write it.
This is how she described the composition class:
In the English 111 class the teacher usually writes, you
know, circles your mistakes, and might write what is the
matter. She doesn't really explain to you on a one-to-one
basis, you know, what is, what was your mistake. So I like
the english lab class better than I like english class.
Generally, Yvette found professor accessible to her and other
students, but that graduate teaching assistants were more accessible.

142
She reported that most times she did not have to consult with professors
outside of the class, because she preferred to clear up misunderstanding
in class where they occurredeither with the professor or a fellow
student. When she did consult with professors, she felt they were some
times more supportive of her than of other non-minority students. She
was also more inclined to get together with other students if she was
having problems with her homework. Overall, she felt comfortable in
class and believed she performed well on papers and other written
assignments.
Study habits and grades. Yvette described her high school study
habits as good--she had no regular studying schedule, but studied a lot.
She felt that her study habits her first term at OSU were adequate, but
needed improvement after her second term. She described them in this
way:
They're really not too good. I should be better at them;
should take more time out but I'm one of the last-minute
people who will wait till the last minute to do anything.
She estimated that she studied 21-30 hours during the week and 6 to 10
hours on weekends. She believed that if she studied more, she'd make
better grades. She did not like to study alone or in silence. The best
place for her to study was in her room with one or two other people, with
music playing low. She normally studied with her boyfriend and one other
friend.
Yvette was satisfied, but not pleased with the grades she made her
first term in school. She was particularly distressed about the C she
made in English.
It seems that most everybody has problems. You go to see
her and she says yes that's going to be a good paper, but
when your paper's back, everybody gets C's and D's. Someone
in the class said she must start grading at C's. I don't

143
think anyone in the class has gotten higher than C's. Seems
unfair that everybody has C's. Couldn't be all our fault,
its partly her fault.
Yvette admitted feeling very strongly about the grading process, but
confided that she would not approach the teacher because "I wouldn't know
how to present it".
She earned an overall 2.8, but thought she should have done better.
Her mother was impressed with her grades and reminded her that its was
her first term, and that she had time to improve her average. Yvette
decided to try to attain a 3.5 average by the end of the second term.
I have all morning classes. So I have, let's see, all
my classes next term from first period to fourth period.
And I finish fourth period every day. So I have from fourth
period to I guess, the evening before dinner time to study.
While they're in class I could be studying.
She also planned to read moresomething she did not enjoy doing.
Classes she pre-registered for the second term included calculus,
english, social science, and physical education. Her boyfriend Aaron
enrolled for the spring term and had the same math course she did, but at
a different time. They made a wager to buy specific gifts for the one
who made the best grade in the math course. Yvette planned to study her
math everynight in order to win the wager. But Yvette did not adhere to
her plan, and lost. For the second term she earned a 2.5 average. When
asked to rate her overall performance academically, including study
habits, Yvette described it as average.
Gordon
Classroom experiences. Gordon preferred the small discussion
courses to the large lecture courses or the labs. His attendance was

144
high, and he only missed classes when he attended his father's funeral in
New York and when he became ill. He feared getting behind in his work,
which added to the anxiety he already felt about performing well in
school. During his absence, he missed important work but refused to
explain his absences to any of his professors. He thought he would be
viewed as rationalizing for not doing his work.
Gordon would only participate in class if he was asked to do so by
the professor. He stated that he went to class to take notes and to
listen, not to participate. When he needed help with homework or class
work, he had no preference between professor or graduate assistants,
since he found both quite accessible. He worried a lot about his
performance and was serious about his work. He was impatient with the
casual attitude displayed by his fellow students. "You see, everybody in
my classes, are second or third term freshmen. A lot of them are just
fooling around, spending their family's money." This attitude or casual
air was described in more detail by Gordon:
They are just going to class because they have to pick up
their averages. ... Dr. X said that Friday would be an
important class. On Friday, half of the class was gone.
On Wednesday, half of the class wasn't there. Several of
the students came in and asked the professor if absences
effected their grades. The professor said "No" and they
then left the class!
Gordon also believed that some professors made it too easy for
students to cut classes, by making missed work too easy to make up.
I mean, in english, if you don't pick it up there, she tells
you the first day to get someone's phone number so you can
call and find out what happened in english class. And she
gave out her phone number, too, you know. And she's in her
office quite a bit. You go and talk it over with her. Most
of the stuff is reading and doing work that she assigned.
You should have no problem.

145
Gordon viewed his first term as a preparatory and review period
for the next quarter he would be in school. He was determined to do well
in English and math. He felt he was lacking some basic writing skills
which he needed to perfect, and he needed to review his math (once his
best subject in high school) to do well in his proposed engineering
major.
In describing two classes he enjoys, Gordon describes the professors
and his relationship with them.
I guess it has to be between that one in social science and
english cause Dr. X (I know her name cause we have to write
it down) is really a good teacher. She said this was her
first year, I think. She's just out of school. She's
really good, but he is too. But they have two different
practices. She has a small class of 15, so she knows every
body's name. I see her almost every day. See I re-write
'em (the papers) and I either speak with her really quickly
or write a note at the end telling her, asking her what I
think is wrong. And then she looks it over and, you know,
she agrees they're wrong. And then I have to figure out
why. When I'm writing the stuff and I sit there and read it
sounds great. Everything seems fine. Then right before I
give it to her I always take it out of the bag and read it
and it's always wrong!
His comments about the social science class:
But he has a small class of thirty. I guess twenty or
thirty, and it's also a small class. He does most of the
talking and we do most of the listening. He doesn't give
you a lot of facts, he just wants you to grasp the idea and
be able to put it into your own words, so you don't have to
take that many notes. I guess that's my favorite class,
social sciences.
Study Habits and Grades. Gordon had described his high school study
habits as good, and admitted that they seemed to be inadequate during his
first quarter at OSU. Studying alone on the floor of his apartment, in
the student union, or in the gymnasium was what Gordon reported in
describing his study habits. He did not like to study with others, and
avoided doing so whenever possible.

146
I have already set my mind the way I want to study. Someone
will say well, let's do it this way. I don't want to do it
unless it sounds better than my way. It might be better than
mine, but not for me. I tried it once in 7th grade with my
best friend. He wanted his way, I wanted mine, so after two
hours of fighting we went our own way. They were studies for
a special test to go into Catholic school. We were both
accepted, I had second best grade, he had third best.
Gordon usually studied around his work schedule, however, for
special projects or exams he would cancel his work shift or exchange it
with one of his colleagues. Sometimes he studied as little as two
consecutive hours or for as long as six hours. Overall he estimated that
he studied 21-30 hours a week and approximately 11 hours on weekends.
Gordon expected to do well in some classes and not in others. He
predicted he would earn one B, two C's and one failing grade. For the
first term he received two C's, one incomplete (I) and one failing grade.
He was discouraged because he was placed on academic probation, yet was
determined to improve, but for only one more term. He also refused to
use his absences due to his own illness and his attendance at his
father's funeral, as excuses for his performance.
See what happens. If I don't get a least all A's and B's,
I'll leave. Cause that's what I'll do. . And I really
don't see the need for satisfactories. Cause just walking
on campus, I hear a lot of people, oh, yeah. I got a B, and
They take it for granted. Or an A; but I'll settle for a B.
You know, it's like accepting it's a C. But I don't like
C's. To me, C's are failing, no good.
His grades from the second term were worse than his grades the first
term. He was determined to succeed, but was discouraged. Gordon des
cribed his academic experiences as poor and was quite depressed about his
performance. After length discussions with his professors, he decided to
stay in school for one more term.

147
Summary
All of the freshmen except the older one were originally very opto-
mistic about performing well in school. The older, fifth student was
determined, but more cautious about predicting success. The majority of
the students studied alone and reported specific conditions under which
they studied. Most of them were also comfortable with their experiences
in class, yet would rarely participate in discussions or class activity
the first term.
After the first term, all of the students believed the following:
(1) that they needed to improve their study habits, (2) that if they
studied harder that they could make better grades, and (3) that increas
ing their interaction with professors would help them make better grades.
The performance of the students the first term definitely influenced
their efforts to perform the second term. As a group, the male students'
performance was not competitive with the females. One male was placed
on academic probation after the first term and both earned lower grades
the second term.
Of the three females, one performed better than average work the
first term, one did exactly average work, and the third missed doing
average performance because she failed one course. The second term, the
student who failed a course improved her grades, the one who did average
work made better grades, and the one performing at above average level
performed about the same. The latter two were the only students of the
five who earned better than an overall 2.0 grade point for the two terms.

148
I Didn't Know We Had A Dean of Students
In this section, students' views of their contact with university
staff is described. Because the majority of the officials at this time
were white, their views reflect to some degree their perceptions about
how whites feel about blacks at OSU. Some impressions are also drawn
from what each student reported about what whites in general think about
the black students on campus. Again, questionnaires and interview data
are combined in presentation of the data.
Overall, students were unfamiliar with who university officials
were, and perceived both faculty and administrators as officials. The
researcher described officials simply as any employee other than teaching
faculty, including dormitory assistants, housing personnel, assistant
deans, program directors, with whom they had some contact while in the
campus community. Each freshmen admitted under the Special Admissions
Program found it easy to identify with the minority admissions recruiter
as a university official, but did not necessarily view other university
administrators in the same way.
The absence of knowledge about university officials associated with
the Special Admissions Program is critical information, simply because
knowledge of any of the officials of this program mighht have made a
profound difference in each students' experience. The importance of
attending orientation would have been emphasized, and information about
adjusting would have been more readily available from sources more
reliable than their peers.

149
Butch
Butch's interaction with University officials was limited to the admis
sions officer, infrequent association with housing personnel, and some
personnel in the accounting office. His most extensive relationship was
with the admissions officer who also acted as a resource person when
Butch had questions or problems.
Since he had established a positive working relationship when they
began corresponding in February of 1977, Butch would always turn to Mr. C
if he had any questions about school. When he was frustrated with regi
stration and needed an advisor, he went to Mr. C; when his registration
was cancelled the first term, he sought Mr. C's help. His disappoint
ment at being sent from office to office to clear his registration for
several weeks was indeed a negative experience with the administration,
but he took it in stride, and went to see Mr. C.
Butch had negative experiences with housing personnel which led him
to inquire about off campus housing after two terms. He had observed his
hallmates' interaction with the resident assistant (R.A.) but had little
direct contact with him. His vicarious experiences appeared to be enough
for him to question the R.A.'s perceptions about race, "Sometimes I begin
to think he's a little prejudiced, but I don't associate with him too
much". When asked about other housing official, Butch said that he did
not speak to the hall advisor because he was "sometimey" about speaking;
that is, sometimes he spoke and other times he ignored you.
Finally, a misunderstanding about a bill with the accounting staff
was a very negative encounter between Butch and university personnel.

150
Eventually, the accounting office was found to be in error, and the
problem was resolved to his satisfaction, but not until several annoying
interviews with accounting office personnel.
Janice
Janice's first interaction with a University official was the
admissions officer who recruited her. She described him as receptive and
friendly, and always willing to help. He resolved a problem for her when
she attempted to find out if her credits had been transferred from the
junior college she attended and how the University had converted them to
the OSU's grading system. She was frustrated in her efforts to get this
information:
Okay, yesterday I went over to Jackson Hall to check all my
credits and see if they transferred from the junior college.
The counselors told me to come back the next day. And then
she didn't have a file on me at all. As far as she was
concerned I didn't exist at this College. I had to go to
the administration building to see Mr. C, the admissions
officer. She said go to see Mr. C--He got it all
straightened out.
Her only other description of her interaction with the administra
tion was when she saw an academic advisor. That experience was positive.
Janice was not familiar with other administrators at OSU. This was evi
denced in her comment after watching a student-produced TV program which
featured the Dean of Students and other university administrators. "I
didn't know we had a Dean of Students."

151
Cl ai re
Claire's direct interaction with university officials occurred her
first term. She interacted with orientation officials, registration
personnel, and housing officials. The majority of her interaction was
positive and brief.
The admissions officer who recruited her was the official whom she
knew best, and the one she said she would visit if she had any problems.
The resident assistant on the hall was friendly, but Claire rarely inter
acted with her after the first two weeks of the first term.
Indirectly, Claire cited two instances in which University
officials' decisions affected her. First, when her financial aid need
was assessed. She thought she was not receiving enough aid to cover her
need, but she had little control over the decisions. Secondly, when the
University raised the housing costs without offering any additional
benefits to students. She thought this was unfair yet did not express
this to officials responsible.
Yvette
Yvette's interaction with University officials was limited to pro
fessors and people who were involved with her initial introduction to
the campus. The University admissions officer was her first contact with
a university employee, but she did not see him for the first two terms
after arriving on campus. The resident assistant in her housing area
became a good friend whom she interacted with on a regular basis in the
dormitory.

152
Other personnel whom she saw regularly were her professors and
graduate instructors. At least once a term she saw her academic advisor.
Otherwise, her contact with University officials outside the classroom
was minimal.
Gordon
Gordon did not have any one administrator as a resource person as
did the other four students. He was close to his English professor, but
had little interaction with other University personnel. More often than
not he could not even remember names or titles or people he met, not even
all his professors.
There were two incidents that Gordon experienced with University
officials which he viewed negatively, and which had substantial effects
on his life at OSU. The first was his first encounter with the academic
advisor (faculty) who assumed that because he was a veteran he could
perform well in advanced courses, and advised him to register for two
upper level courses. Gordon's negative reactions are recorded in the
section on registration in Chapter III.
The second incident was also related to the registration process,
and involved an administrator instead of a faculty member. The incident
occurred with the Veteran's Assistance (VA) counselor prior to registra
tion for the second term. Gordon decided to register for 9 credits
instead of 12. The VA counselor explained that he would only receive 3/4
of his benefits if he was not carrying a full case load of 12 credits.
Gordon was angry because the relationship between course load and

153
benefits had not been explained sufficiently at the beginning of the
school year.
But they say, oh, yeah, you have to take twelve credits.
It says a veteran must have twelve credits. It doesn't say
(a veteran) must have twelve credits for full entitlement,
you see. If I'd known that before, than I would have taken
maybe just two or three courses and adjusted my work
schedule (last term).
Gordon did finally register for 9 credits and increased his hours at work
to make the same income. He reported this incident as negative when
asked about his interaction with University officials.
Summary
The students in the study had limited experiences with administra
tors at OSU. Collectively, they perceived faculty and administrators as
University officials, even though the older freshman was better able to
distinguish administration positions from other staff positions in the
University. Some of the students perceptions were based on vicarious
experiences of their friends, as well as their individual beliefs about
how whites in general felt about blacks attending the University. Two of
them perceived whites as indifferent to blacks attending, and three
believed whties did not want blacks attending. The strongest perceptions
students had about administrators could be classified as mixed.

CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
In this chapter the reader finds the analysis and discussion of the
data. The collective experiences of the students' academic and social
lives are the focus of the chapter. Individual experiences are reported
when they add a different dimension to the analysis. Descriptions of
events and activities which occurred each term are noted to emphasize the
time they occurred, and their importance in relation to the entire study
period.
The literature review, data from the pilot study, observations and
insights of the writer were used in the analysis, which began from the
time the data were collected. The chapter begins with a general descrip
tion of the students' characteristics, then addresses the questions posed
in the first chapter, and finally summarizes the variables and percep
tions of the freshmen along with the perspectives they developed to cope
with problems as they arose.
Student Characteristics
The five black freshmen in this 1978 study were found to have some
similarities with those students described in Boyd's (1974) national
survey (1974) and those Shenkman studied at OSU in 1970. There were also
some very important differences in the 1978 freshmen from black students
154

155
described in the literature review. These similarities and differences
are described below.
Similarities
The 1978 freshmen were in the lower socio-economic status as were
other black students in the literature review; their primary financial
aid came from federal sources--four had the combination package of grant
loan, and work study, and the fifth had his education subsidized by the
G.I. Bill.l They were poor, the majority were urban, and all but one
were the first in their immediate families to attend a four-year institu
tion of higher education (see Table 1). Family support of their college
attendance was strong, and at least one parent of all the students had
completed a high school education. Some parents had taken courses in
college, but none had completed degrees beyond high school.
These freshmen had performed well academically in high school, and
were confident in their abilities to succeed in college. Also like black
students in other studies, the majority of these freshmen rarely sought
assistance from academic sources available to them, even when they knew
of the services and believed they needed assistance. The older freshman
was the exceptionhe actively sought assistance both terms to help
prepare him for his coursework.
1 The practice at OSU was to avoid having first year students work if at
all possible. None of the four resident students had to work their
first two terms.

156
Table 4-1
Comparison of Freshmen Characteristics with
National Black Student Characteristics
National Black Student
Characteristics
Butch
Janice
Cl ai re
Yvette
Gordon
1. Financial aid primary
source of aid
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Noa
2. Must work to
supplement funding
for education
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3. Feel inadequately
prepared for college
No
No
No
No
Yes
4. Confident in ability
to succeed
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Not
certain
5. Poor, urban first
generation college
students
Yes
Yes
Yes
Except
Rural
Yes
No
6. Females differ from
males in family
background and
academic behavior

No
No
No

7. Most never attended
other colleges
Yes
Junior
College
1 Sem.
Junior
Col lege
1 Sem.
Yes
Yes
8. Tend to major in
traditional areas such
as social science,
education
No
Account
ing
Not
Decided
No
Physical
Therapy
No
Zoology
No
Engi
neering
9. Parents are
high school graduates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
10. Parents taken some
college courses
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
11. Relatives have
college degrees
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
a G.I. Bill, savings, work

157
Differences
The major differences in characteristics between the 1978 freshmen
and others cited in this paper occurred in three areas: (1) feelings
about high school preparation for college, (2) the difference in family
background of the females and males, and (3) choosing a major.
Of the five freshmen, the four who were recent graduates
believed they were well prepared for college except for their study
habits. The fifth, older freshman was uncertain about his readiness for
college because he had been out of high school for several years, not
because he felt he was poorly prepared in high school. In fact, he was
quite proud of his record in the Catholic high school which only accepted
students through examination. The other freshmen attended public
schools. Nevertheless, these freshmen generally felt competitive with
other OSU freshmen, even though the majority were accepted under the
Special Admissions Program. In the national study, students reported
feeling unprepared for college.
The second major difference was in the income and educational
level between the parents of females and males, and in the difference in
male and female contact with professors. In the national study the
parents of females earned more income than parents of males, and females
had greater contact with professors than males. In this study there were
no marked differences in the background and income of the parents of the
different sexes, nor did females have more contact with professors than
the male students. In this study, the older freshman male initiated more
contact with professors than females, and the other four rarely initiated
contact until after the first term.

158
The third major difference was in the areas of study chosen by black
students. In the national study black students usually chose majors in
the social sciences and education, often referred to as traditional areas
of study. The 1978 freshmen overall chose non-traditional majors. Only
one of the five was undecided about a major when she entered OSU; the
others had chosen majors in accounting, physical therapy, zoology and
engineering. Their interests had not changed at the end of the study
period, even though some of them began to wonder about how realistic
their choices were after reviewing their grades.
Comparison of 1970 Students and the 1978 Freshmen
Next, the researcher believed it was important to compare the 1971
black students studied at OSU with the freshmen in this study of 1978.
Table 2 reflects the major similarities and differences between the
groups. Both groups were primarily from the state; lived in black neigh
borhoods, agreed that they did not have good study habits in high school,
and believed that a lack of performance in college had more to do with
poor study habits, and less to do with their ability or potential to
succeed. A very important common characteristic shared by the 1970
students and the 1978 freshmen was the fact that most of their high
school peers were attending predominately black institutions. (Later in
this chapter, the discussion about peer influence will reflect the sig
nificance of this characteristic.)
Contrary to the 1970 blacks attending OSU, the 1978 freshmen came
from integrated high schools, did not identify financial aid as the major
factor in considering attendance at OSU, and did not believe themselves

159
Table 4-2
Comparison of Black Students' Characteristics
at OSU in 1970 with the 1978 Freshmen
Shenkmen's 1971 Students | Butch Janice CTaTreYvette Gordon
(1978 Freshmen)
1. Majority from state
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
2. Majority from
black neighborhoods
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3. Majority/Predominately
black high schools
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
4. The major consideration
in attending OSU was
financial aid
No
No
No
No
No
5. Disadvantage in college
due to high school
background
No
No
No
No
No
6. Inadequate high school
study habits
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
7. Mixed priorities/
Studying or helping
black community
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed
8. Lack of performance/Due
more to poor study
habits than inability
to learn
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
9. Blacks date, study and
socialize with other
blacks more than other
students
No
1st term
Yes
2nd term
Yes
both
terms.
"Yes
both
terms
No
No
10. Heavy participation in
extra-curriculum in
high school
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
ll. Black students were:
Most favorable about
professors; Moderate
about students; Least
favorable about admin.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
12. Virtually al 1 black
students expressed
desire for more black
faculty, students and
administration
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed
Yes
Not
ex
pressed
Not
ex
pressed

160
at a disadvantage educationally when compared with white students in
their college classes. These three differences may be due in part to the
progress made in the society in desegregating schools and the increasing
attendance of blacks at predominately white high schools and universities
in the eight year period between the time both studies were completed. A
major difference in attitude, and feeling of blacks about the competition
with whites in the classroom could certainly have been influenced by the
change resulting from attending an integrated school or one which is pre
dominately white. The high school setting for two of the black freshmen
in the current study was predominately white. It appeared that the
novelty, the initial pressure, and unfami1iarity for both blacks and
whites about integration had worn off at some level, even though some
problems still existed. Shenkmen's black students in 1971 were pre
occupied with the race issues since they were some of the first black
undergraduates in residence at OSU. The 1978 freshmen rarely initiated
any discussion about racial issues, especially the first term, because
they were products of a more integrated educational environment, and also
because the majority of whites with whom they interacted were products of
that same integrated experience.
Another way to look at the difference in attitudes of the two groups
necessarily involves the financial aid issue. Despite the fact that the
1978 freshmen did need financial aid as a primary funding source to
attend school, it was not the major factor for attending OSU as it was
with the 1970 students. Two of the five freshmen in this study had
friends attending OSU. Others had comparable and better financial aid
packages at other schools (in state and out), so they could consider
reasons other than aid for attending schools in the state (see Table 3).

161
Table 4-3
I. Reasons for Attending OSU
Stated Reasons
Butch
Janice
Cl aire
Yvette
Gordon
1. Reputation of OSU
X
X
X
X
X
2. Friends/Relatives
attending
X
X
3. Specific Academic
Program
X
4. Climate
X
5. Less expensive than
out-of-state schools
X
X
6. Close to home
X
X
7. Best school where I can
get along with others
X
II. Reasons for Attending Winter Term
Butch
Janice
Cl ai re
Yvette
Gordon
1. Expecting child
X
2. Applied too late
for fal1 quarter
X
3. Military papers delayed
X
4. Uncertain whether to
attend school of to
work full time*
X
5. Wanted to work before
attending school
X
Dilemma precipitated by sudden death of mother after high school
graduation.

162
Two other characteristics now shared between the 1970 and 1978
students were very interesting. Shenkmen (1970) found that the majority
of the black students he studied had trouble determining which had
greater priority for them: studying or helping other black people in the
community. This dilemma was never raised or observed in any way by the
researcher in this current study. The 1978 freshmen also rarely
expressed anything voluntarily about their desire to have more black
students, faculty and administration on campus. One student did state
she was interested in more black students, especially black males.
Virtually all of the students in Shenkmen's study were concerned about
this and expressed their feelings to him. The difference may be due to
the increased numbers of blacks among the faculty, staff and students on
campus. In this study, students were introduced to black faculty, admin
istrators and students at an orientation when they first arrived on
campus. They were not the pioneers, and therefore did not experience the
isolation from other blacks as did the 1970 students. These 1978 fresh
men were more interested in typical freshmen concerns: recovering from
registration, class attendance, doing homework, and settling into their
residential areas. The characteristics described above will also be
reflected in the next section where phenomena which influenced adjustment
is discussed.
What Phenomena Influenced Student Adjustment
The first question in the Statement of the Problem section was:
What phenomena influenced students perceptions of their academic and
social adjustment to the university? Four subquestions were posed about

163
the students' activities, individual and group interactions, feelings
about adjusting, and their perceptions about institutional policy
affecting their adjustment. These questions will be addressed in this
section, in the order cited above.
Many phenomena influenced the adjustment of the 1978 freshmen to
Orange State University, and fall within two general categories:
(1) inherent and external phenomena which were a part of their lives
prior to entrance into the university community, and (2) the experiences
and people they encountered after entering the university. Generally,
the phenomena which most influenced the students' adjustment prior to
their entrance to the university community were their: (1) family back
ground, including interest and support of higher education, (2) friend's
attitudes about their entrance to OSU, (3) high school background--
academic and social--including racial mix in the school and the degree
of experience with whites, (4) social lifestyles, and (5) individual
personality and goals.
The phenomena which affected the students' adjustment after entering
the university community were (1) the initial contact with university
personnel, (2) their peer reception in their residential areas, including
contact with roommates, resident assistants, hallmates, (3) attitude of
their peers--black and white--about academic and social issues,
(4) academic experiences, including classroom interaction, grades, study
habits, homework assignments, and (5) social activities offered by the
university community. Discussion of these phenomena have been collapsed
into four main categories: family support, university reception, peer
relationships, and individual characteristics. The discussion in this

164
section will necessarily include some reference to personal and family
history because their influence was continuous and cannot be fully
separated from the experiences of the students after they entered
college. However, the discussion will be centered primarily on variables
identified in the four aforementioned categories.
Family Support
All of the 1978 freshmen recalled from early childhood the family's
interest and sometimes insistence that they attend college as a means of
obtaining better jobs and an improved lifestyle. Gordon, the only male
offspring was told by his family that a college education was more
important for him than his sisters because they could always find jobs
typing. Janice, as the oldest child was repeatedly informed that she had
to set a model for her younger sisters and brothers. Even the birth of
her first child during the fall she was to attend did not deter her
family's commitment for her education. Her parents provided for her
child while she attended a community college during the fall before
entering OSU in the winter term. Such determination and support is
unusual and significant, particularly because the parents incurred a
greater responsibility for themselves financially and emotionally because
of Janice's child.
Butch's siblings were particularly proud of their uncle (their
father's youngest brother) who had earned a four-year degree, and urged
Butch, their youngest brother, to do the same. Two of his siblings had
attended the local community college, and one completed the Associate of

165
Arts degree. They were all excited, however, about one of their own
family members attending a four-year institution--a first for the
immediate family.
Yvette's mother had taken some college courses, and her twin sisters
had both married before completing degrees at the local community
college. They, too, voiced support of her efforts toward a four-year
degree.
Claire's older siblings had all gone to work after high school, and
she did not decide until the end of her senior year whether to attend a
college or to follow her siblings into the work world. Her parents were
especially delighted that she chose the challenge of OSU over the pre
dominately black school which many of her peers attended.
Family support was interpreted in several ways by the students. The
most common support was in regard to financial needs, moral support for
reinforcement and counseling during depressions, and as a reliable
contact for finding out about events at home. The four freshmen from the
state traveled home several weekends in the first term to visit family
and friends. These visits continued during the second term, but not as
frequently as in the first.
The home contact was also frequent by telephone or through written
correspondence. At the end of the second term, this type of contact was
made weekly by Janice, Claire and Butch, and every two to three weeks by
Gordon and Yvette. Yvette had a steady boyfriend on campus as a social
outlet, and Gordon contacted his peers by telephone ; for him this
contact was greater than his interaction on campus, or with his family
who lived out-of-state.

166
Parents and relatives also gave advice to the freshmen and
influenced their lives in ways which were not always congruent with the
students' wishes. Butch's uncle strongly advised on a regular basis that
he avoid social contact with whites, especially white females. This
advice created a dilemma for Butch in his first term because he was
experiencing such success and pleasure with his new white friends and
hallmates. However, when his social interaction with his white friends
decreased the second term, it was easier to heed his uncle's warning and
to believe that it was in his best interest to do so.
Claire experienced another type of social pressure from her mother
and aunts. Whenever she talked with them, they asked her who she was
dating, or asked when she planned to get serious with a young man.
Claire did not like feeling pressured about her social life even though
she was also interested in finding someone for single dating. It was.
difficult to measure the influence of relatives from her own wishes about
dating. In an interview, as well as on her completed questionnaire, she
reported her biggest social problem as not having enough black males to
choose from for potential dates.
It was the researcher's observation that overall the 1978 freshmen
received strong support from their families about their attendance at
OSU, especially, and about their social lives. On the other hand, there
seemed to be an absence of inquiry from parents and relatives about
academic issues, except after the term when grades were received. Both .
Janice and Yvette received encouragement from their mothers after they
expressed reservations about returning because of their grades. It's not
clear whether this type of support did not occur because students
believed that their parents' unfamiliarity with the school prevented them

167
from helping or whether they assumed that people in the campus environ
ment would be more knowledgeable. A student from the pilot study
observed that black students are at a disadvantage because unlike their
white counterparts who hail from generations who have attended OSU or
other institutions of higher education, blacks cannot call home for
advice about which professor to take a course from or which level course
to take, because their families do not have college experience, and
specifically no experience at OSU. The writer's speculation is that the
black freshmen realized that they were first generation college students,
and assumed that they could learn more from their peers black and
whites, who were college students, than from their families or even from
their professors.
The pride and support of these black families were rooted in both
personal and societal grounds:
1. Family desires for their children an extension of themselves -
to perform well and be successful persons.
2. Societal desire for their families, black families, to prove
that blacks could perform well in a place denied them so long
on the basis of race.
Peer Relationships
The peer relationship in college has been cited by many researchers
as the strongest, most influential relationship in a student's life.
This was the case with the 1978 freshmen. A strong peer influence can be
traced from the time they chose to enter the university, to almost every
aspect of their lives during the period of the study. The freshmen were

168
influenced by their black peers and their white peers in different ways.
They also interacted differently with their new black friends on campus
and their black friends from home. The freshmen viewed their peers
(black and white) as accessible resources, and sought their opinions on
topics ranging from registration of classes to which musical concert to
attend. The freshmen were interested in maintaining relationships with
their reference groups, at home and at school. Therefore the opinions of
their peers was important, and in many instances shaped their behavior.
Unlike most students admitted under the Special Admissions Program,
these winter freshmen were not assigned peer advisors to assist them in
adjusting. Although they used their peers as primary sources of informa
tion, they were not as well informed or familiar with how to get adjusted
as the trained peer counselors of the SAP program.
The black peer group from home appeared to be the more important
reference group with most students for this is the one they used to
judge the success of social relations with other peers, especially
whites. Retaining identification with that home reference group was very
important. The friends at home would be the normative group which Merton
(1957) described as the one setting standards for the individual. Their
attempts to establish friendships with their new white friends, and
efforts to fit into the campus environment, represented the third type of
group described by Merton as a person's attempt to gain acceptance to
enhance one's own status. All the freshmen were interested in fitting in
with their new peers, and in identifying with their new environment and
new status as college students.

169
Peer Relationships and Social Adjustment
The five freshmen experienced unique relationships with their black
peers, who had stronger relationships with them than their white peers.
Three of the five indicated that their best friends were black, and four
reported socializing more with blacks than whites. The older male
reported no real social life on campus with either group. Of the three
reporting best friends as black, the two males indicated that their
friends were established before entering OSU; the female met her best
friends after entering the university.
The two females who reported their best friends as black and white
met their new white friends and some of their new black friends after
arriving on campus. They also had strong black friendships at home.
Yvette, one of these females, continued her relationship with a boyfriend
from home who also attended OSU, and developed strong friendships with
her hallmates and roommates.
Janice, the other female who claimed on her questionnaire her best
friends were black and white, also claimed to have met them before and
after arriving at the university. She was also one of the four who des
cribed most of her socializing with blacks. The researcher's observation
of Janice and data from her interviews did not confirm in any way that
her best friends were white. She was always surprised at the friendli
ness and kindness of whites, yet had experienced some racial tension and
hostility from whites, and even wanted to transfer to a black school by
the end of the second term. In interviews she never referred to white
friends, therefore this data cannot be viewed as reliable. Janice was

170
interested in getting to know her white peers better, and perhaps just
projected her feelings when completing the questionnaire.
Gordon reported that his best friends were black, yet he indicated
that he had no social life and did not belong to any campus group. The
best friends he referred to were those he made prior to attending OSU.
He communicated with them, male and female, by telephone which was his
major social outlet. One of Gordon's friends, a female, was also in
college and a person he shared experiences with about adjusting to OSU.
Another close friend with whom he communicated by telephone was a white
female whom he had met and befriended while he was in the service. He
credited her with providing reinforcement and motivation to continue in
school despite his concerns about his readiness after being out of school
for so long. Gordon also corresponded regularly with two male friends
who were black and lived out-of-state.
Butch, the other male student, also reported that his best friends
were black and that they were friendships established before attending
OSU. However, Butch reported socializing with blacks more than others,
and that he did not belong to any groups on campus. The interview data
corroborated his answers in this questionnaire, and confirmed that his
socializing was done primarily with blacks at home, especially after his
first term in school. During his first term, he had developed friend
ships with two juniors who lived on his floor one black and one white.
They spent a lot of time together the first term, but the friendships
dissolved the second term.
One of the researcher's measures of the freshmen's friendships with
their black and white peers was the extent to which they spent time
together and participated in activities together. Excluding Gordon,

171
whose social life was mainly through the telephone, only two students
indicated they belonged to any type of groups. More importantly for this
discussion, the same two freshmen, Yvette and Claire, indicated member
ship in a black/white group. The researcher believed that it was signi
ficant that the two females reporting membership in black/white groups
also had the most extracurricular involvement in their integrated high
school, were more gregarious than the other students. They also and
appeared to have more direct, ongoing experiences with whites than the
other black students who tended to express periodic or casual relation
ships with their white peers. These females were also involved both
terms with white hallmates and classmates as they were with black peers,
including each other. Janice, unlike these females, interacted primarily
with black peers both terms, and Butch's interaction with his white peers
in the second term decreased significantly from his activities with them
in the first one.
The two women with membership in the black/white groups also
reported belonging to a black study group. Neither of the other freshmen
indicated belonging to a campus group. Two other factors which separated
these two freshmen from the other freshmen were (1) their friendship -
they were two of the students in the study who knew each other, and
developed a friendship, which to some degree explains their similar
experiences, and (2) they were the only students in the study who had at
least one good friend in residence before they arrived at OSU. This last
factor is very important because it implies that these students already
had a model to emulate. It is interesting that their models were males,
(one a cousin and the other a boyfriend) with whom they had close, trust
ing relationships.

172
While these freshmen experienced basically positive relatinships
with their black and white peers both terms, the others did not. Janice,
whose roommates and best friend were black, and whose greatest attendance
was at social events sponsored by black groups, reported experiencing
racial tension in her dormitory and on a couple of occasions off campus.
She cited her greatest social problem as not having enough social events
on campus that related to her lifestyle, and that her social life had
decreased since attending at OSU. Despite these variables, Janice
reported that her social life at OSU was generally satisfactory and that
she found more than enough interesting things to do and enjoy around
campus.
It appeared that her expectations were low for social life on
campus, therefore whatever happened would not be disappointing. Other
factors which inadvertently affected Janice's social life both terms
were: (1) her long distance relationship with her boyfriend to whom she
became engaged during the second term, (2) the heavy influence her best
friend had on her experience at OSU, (her friend had more negative
experiences with whites than Janice and steered her into black social
circles and out of contact wHh whites. Janice never experienced racial
tension or negative racial experiences alone--they were always with her
friend, Tina), and (3) her homesickness. Janice's family ties were
close, and she regularly spoke of missing her family.
Butch, whose roommates were white and hispanic, responded that his
best friends were black. Though his interaction with whites decreased in
his second term, he stated that his social life remained about the same
as it was before attending OSU. The change in Butch's social life from
the first to the second term was influenced by his black peers at home,

173
his black friend moving out of the dorm second term and his uncles.
Since his arrival at OSU, he was teased and harrassed by his black peers
(from home) who could not understand why he chose to attend a white
school. The teasing affected him and he complained of it to the
researcher on several occasions. He was even accused of "acting white"
on one occasion and felt helpless to defend himself in those circum
stances. These teasings made him feel more isolated the second term, a
feeling which was aggravated by the fact that the only other black
student in the dormitory, his friend Sam, moved off campus. He felt more
isolated than ever before, especially since he rarely socialized with
black peers on campus. Finally, his uncle's pressure on him to avoid
whites socially was affecting him as he attempted to understand what had
changed the social milieu in his dormitory after one term.
To summarize, the social adjustment of the five freshmen was very
much influenced by their black peers from home, and their new black and
white peers they met after arriving on campus. The black peer relation
ships from home appeared to be stronger and affected the black freshmen
in positive and negative ways. The influence of their white peers on
campus for the five freshmen was positive for the first term. This posi
tive influence only prevailed for the two female students through the
spring term. It is interesting to note that the two who sustained posi
tive relationships with their white peers, sustained positive relation
ships with their black peers, at home and at school, as well. They also
had the most experiences of all the freshmen with white peers prior to
their attendance, and had friends already in attendance before they
entered the university. It is the opinion and attitude of peers, posi
tive and negative, which influenced the adjustment of students on campus.

174
Peer Relationships and Academic Adjustment
The peer influence on academic adjustment was perhaps more important
than the peer influence on social adjustments. As with social adjust
ment, peers heavily influenced the freshmen's adjustment to academic
college life. Students would rely on information from roommates, class
mates, and friends when seeking information about academic issues.
Checking with a faculty member or an administrator was usually a last
resort, if they were not satisified with reports from their peers on
academic matters. References to "everybody says", "they", or "this
student in my class said", or "this girl I know from home who took this
course", and similar phrases were common when the freshmen spoke of
issues from grades to registration.
The freshmen were more likely to believe peers who were friends or
peers who were known to be knowledgeable about certain topics. However,
they would listen to other students in class, in the dormitory and at
other places on campus, and were prone to use information learned in this
fashion, without ever verifying it with appropriate faculty or admini
strators. This kind of information was occasionally presented to the
researcher, who would urge students to clarify rumors with appropriate
university officials.
The degree to which a freshman was influenced varied with her/his
individual experience. For example, Janice missed her registration
appointment and was ushered through the registration by her roommate, who
advised her about what courses to take. She registered for all regular
courses and was completely unaware of the Special Admissions Program.
She learned later in the term from a student in her class that she was in

175
an advanced course for upperclassmen. Janice never questioned the advice
given by her roommate whom she assumed was knowledgeable because she was
a sophomore who had successfully completed the freshman year.
Another student, Yvette, was formally advised by a faculty member,
and used information from her boyfriend and hallmates as secondary to
that of the professor. On the other hand, she was a member of a study
group formed in one of her classes and they discussed many academic
issues and met frequently. Her study habits were also influenced by her
peers whom she decided to join in this way.
The freshmen were very open to the experiences of their peers about
classes and other academic issues because they were new and unfamiliar
with what was supposed to happen. They observed their peers and often
imitated or planned to imitate what they saw. Butch was fascinated, for
example, by the group study process he witnessed for several evenings in
his dorm, when five upperclass students taking an accounting course,
worked together to practice solving problems for a big exam they had to
take. Butch commented that he too would like to find freshmen to study
with someday in the same way. The individual peer influence on academic
issues could be negative or positive, and that is why some common experi
ences, such as contact with an advisor or other university resource is
important for new students.
A common peer experience missing for the freshmen and one usually
characteristic of the SAP was the assignment of peer advisors. These
upperclass students are trained to help new special admit students adjust
to the program. This void may have contributed to the general confusion
and uncertainty which was common to all the freshmen about the purpose of
the SAP. The fact that none of the four attended the special admissions

176
orientation could certainly account for their lack of knowledge about it,
too. Consequently, what the new freshmen learned about the SAP came from
their peers. Butch, for example, was advised by Sam, the black upper
classman in his dorm, to get out of SAP classes as soon as possible to
avoid the stigma of not being able to handle regular courses. This void
may have been another reason students did not seek help from professors
before their second term in school. Advice to do otherwise is standard
practice for the peer advisors.
Without this structured peer influence, the new freshmen were prob
ably more easily influenced by peers who did not always have accurate
information. Butch also received information from two professors which
described the courses the regular and SAP courses as having the same
content. He was told that the greatest difference was that the SAP
courses were graded differently and designed to address a smaller group..
Butch was confused, and not convinced that SAP courses were really the
same until a white peer asked him to help with a problem in the same
course. The white student was taking the regular course and was several
chapters behind the SAP course. This convinced Butch that the courses
were the same and implied for him that SAP courses may be tougher.
Validation by peers!
The desire to fit and belong also rendered the new freshmen vulner
able to peer influence, especially as new black students. Overall,
though rarely voiced or volunteered by the students, they were aware of
the stereotypes of blacks and were conscious of their minority status
sometimes, though not always. That unspoken desire to be like everyone
else led students to learn and discover from their peers what was the
norm, the expected academic behavior.

177
University Reception of the Students
The University's reception of the freshmen was a very important set
of events which had a great impact on their adjustment. The University's
reception is defined simply by its acceptance of the students through its
personnel and procedures. How the students felt when they encountered
new experiences and people in its environment determined its effective
ness.
The tone was initially set for the freshmen by a very friendly,
reassuring black admissions officer whom the new freshmen respected and
trusted. An equally friendly reception from housing personnel, room
mates, professors, classmates, and administrators played an important
role in determining how the new students adjusted. In Table 4, there is
a list of people who positively influenced the students' adaptation to
the university on their arrival. The initial reception was overwhelm
ingly positive for the four freshmen who lived on campus. The students
encountered no rude, hostile, racially prejudiced people on their first
visits to campus nor when they first arrived to move into housing. Some
of this positiveness was due directly to the freshmen's positive atti
tude, as wel1.
There were some events which had the potential for creating diffi
culties, but were handled sensitively to avoid problems. One of these
events was the change in housing assignment which Butch and Janice
learned about after arriving on campus. Janice had an extra roommate,
as did Butch, who was also assigned to a different dormitory than he
requested. These events were handled quite well by the housing staff,

TABLE 4-4
Individuals Who Positively Influenced
Students'
Adaptation
To The University
On Campus
Student
Student
Student
Student
Student
Indi viduals
(Yvette)
(Cl aire)
(Janice)
(Butch)
(Gordon)
Minority Recruiter
X
X
X
X
-
Resident Assistant
X
X
-
-
-
Roommates
X
X
X
X
-
Hallmates and new UF friends
X
X
X
X
-
Old home-town friends at UF
X
X
X
-
-
English Professor (on arrival)
-
-
-
-
X
Cousin (continuing student)
-
X
-
-
-
Boyfriend (continuing student)
X
-
-
-
-
Off-Campus
Parents/Relatives
X
X
X
X
X
Friends at home
X
X
X
X
X
''J
00

179
and the new students were satisfied with the changes. The students were
expecting positive receptions and were open to positive overtures.
Unlike the four on-campus freshmen, Gordon's first news on his
arrival to the university was that all of the necessary military papers
had not been received by the admissions office to process his applica
tion, even though he had been accepted for entrance in the fall term.
Gordon's plans to enter fall term were deferred, and thus began his first
encounter at the university. Though it appeared that the delay was not
caused by the university, the first experience was negative because of
this news. It was unfortunate for Gordon to have his entrance delayed
because he already questioned his readiness to perform well, and the
delay increased his anxiety and provided a poor beginning to what he
believed was an uncertain journey.
His first term bore out his suspicions about his need for assis
tance, and some remediation in math and writing. Many of his experiences
on campus the first term were negative, beginning with his session with
an academic advisor who counseled him into advanced courses because he
was a veteran, and older than the regular freshmen. His father died
about the middle of the term, he went home for the funeral, and he con
sequently fell behind in his courses, missing many classes, and exams.
The most positive reception from the university for him was the time
and assistance he received from an English professor, and the staff of
the lab in the Special Admissions Program. He did have some favorable
interaction with some of his classmates, and took advantage of activities
and services offered by the institution. For example, his initial recep
tion at the Veteran's Affairs office was positive, as was the reception
at the Student Union where he ate breakfast and studied regularly. The

180
obvious question here was, why was Gordon's reception so different from
the others? Much of the answer lies in his different status an older
veteran who lived off campus. The main answer is that his expectations,
and experiences and perspectives were different, in general, from the
other four freshmen. He had no peers going through a similar ritual, and
he had to count on past experiences and/or other resources to help him
with things whenever his plans for success were altered. By the second
term Gordon had made a few friends at work, was reinforced by his per
formance in some courses, and was coping well with being in college.
Despite what was not a spectacular first term his reception could not be
described as entirely negative, especially since he was responding to
some specific people (English professor and SAP staff) and coping with
other events which occured during the term.
The second term also brought changes for the other freshmen. Butch
and Janice had experienced events which caused them to express and seek
assistance to transfer to a predominately black school; and Yvette and
Claire were even more committed to OSU and were finding reinforcement
though their activities more than the others (see Tables 5 and 6). The
positive and negative experiences will be discussed more in the next
section on activities, and in another section on behavior patterns.
In summary, the initial university reception was critical to the
adjustment of the black freshmen. As important were the experiences and
activities which occurred after orientation when the formal welcome was
over. Key people who influenced their adjustment were those in social
and academic roles, especially their peers and family members.

TABLE 4-5
Activities That Influenced Students' Adaptation to the University
Campus Activities
Yvette
Cl aire
Janice
Butch Gordon
Calling home
X
X
X
X X
Playing basketball
X
Watching TV with hallmates
and friends
X
X
X
Cooking with hallmates & friends
X
X
X
Eating breakfast in Union
X
Single Dating
X
Attending campus-wide events
(carnivals, concerts, etc.)
with groups of friends
X
X
X
Black History week events
X
X
Black Greek dances
X
X
X
Soul talks
X
Talking on the campus
X
X
X
X
Talking to friends via phone
X
X
X
X X
Dormitory-sponsored events
(not campus-wide)
X
X
?
?
Study groups
oo

TABLE 4-5Continued
Off-Campus Activities
Yvette
Cl aire
Janice
Butch
Weekend visits home
X
X
X
X
Home visits for concerts
X
X
X
Church attendance
X
X
Off-campus events in town
(non-campus related, dinner,
shopping, visiting, parties)
X
X ?
X
X
Gordon
X
X
Work off campus
Big Brother activities
X

TABLE 4-6
Interaction with University Personnel
Yvette
Claire
Janice
Butch
Gordon
Admissions Officer
?
X
X
Resident Assistant
X
X
X
Special Admit Staff
X
X
X
College Advisors
(faculty/admin.)
X
X
X
X
X
Administrator in
Undergraduate College
X
Dean for Minority Affairs
X
X
Student Accounting Staff
X
Registrar
X
X
Veterans Advisor
X

184
The students' adjustment was also heavily influenced by the expecta
tions and perspectives they held when they arrived, and at any given time
during the period of study. Added to what they brought were the experi
ences they encountered with personnel and practices inside the university
community.
Individual Characteristics of Students
The personalities and unique characteristics of each student deter
mined how they perceived their adjustment and influenced their total out
look on their lives. Personality was not studied in this research, but
it is safe to assume that the students' personalities were influenced by
their respective families and environments.
Characteristics and personality also influenced the experiences they
each encountered in their lives before and after entering OSU. There
were too little data about the personality of each student to determine
any significant differences in their personalities prior to attending
OSU. For example, it was difficult to determine whether Butch's optimism
about any new venture was akin to the excitement and hope he anticipated
on his entrance to OSU. Equally difficult was an analysis of exactly why
he became so depressed and frustrated when he perceived changes in the
behavior of his peers in the second term. Another study on personality
and the relation to behavior might generate more interesting data on the
topic. This aspect of influence on perceptions must be cited even though
it was not measurable in this study.

185
Activities and Group Interaction
The subquestions under the one on phenomena affecting the freshmen's
adjustment asked what activities they participated in during adjustment
and which groups they interacted with. Tables 5 and 6 present a list of
activities students participated in and the personnel with whom they
interacted. A specific notation also described the individuals or groups
with whom they engaged in the activity. Overall, the four freshmen who
lived on campus reported their social lives to be generally satisfactory.
In addition, three of the four indicated that they were able to find more
than enough interesting things to do on campus, despite a desire for more
activities which related to their lifestyles.
It is clear also from the data that the students who lived on campus
were very involved with their hallmates, other students living in dormi
tories, or on-campus activities. Their primary off-campus socialization
involved their trips home. There was little contact with the community
surrounding the university.
The student who lived off campus described himself as a loner whose
social life was non-existent. His participation in activities were
centered on his school work and his job. On occasion he would play
basketball with neighbors, otherwise his activities were tied to his
class, his daily routine at work and his studying schedule. A brief
review of the individual freshmen will help the reader understand the
pattern of activities during this important year.

186
Butch
For Butch, the first term was the one in which he participated in
many activities. He interacted positively with classmates, hallmates,
roommates and friends from home. He went home several weekends to music
concerts and house parties, watched TV and spent time in group discus
sions with guys on the hall. He went to restaurants with his new hall-
mate, Joe, who also introduced him to horseback riding and just cruising
in his car. He engaged in activities approved by his peers at school and
at home. He enjoyed doing things they enjoyed. Butch attended classes,
ate dinner in the cafeteria and studied alone. He reported that the
social events he attended were primarily dormitory socials or university
wide activities such as basketball games and musical concerts. Butch did
not belong to any student organizations, was not politically involved in
the campus community and avoided interaction with his professors the
first term. Butch also did not socialize as much with his black peers on
campus as much as with his white campus peers.
During the second term, Butch's activities with his hallmates
decreased as did his interaction with his other peers in the dormitory.
A friend from home spent the weekend with him and they participated in
campus activities at the student union. This was also the term that
Butch watched the famous Ali-Frazier boxing match with his hallmates and
overheard one person refer to one of the boxers as a nigger. After that
incident, Butch became more disillusioned about relationships with whites
and began to think about transfering to a predominately black school.

187
Janice
Janice's activities, almost always with a group of females, were
with her black friends in the dormitory or her roommates. With her new
best friend, Tina, she attended dances sponsored by the black fraterni
ties and sororities, religious "soul" talk sessions held in the dormi
tory, and an occasional concert. Janice spent much of her time on the
telephone. She called home once a week, and received calls from her boy
friend sometimes several times a week. This activity was reduced some
what during her second term because the long distance bills were getting
expensive. She spent most of her time in her dormitory, and was not used
to socializing very much on campus or off. Her social life remained
about the same both terms even though she became engaged to be married
during the second term. Her fiance still lived in her home town, and
they planned to marry after her graduation.
Yvette
Yvette's activities centered around single dating her boyfriend, and
socializing with her hallmates, black and white alike, which included
cooking, talking, exercising. She also attended parties and concerts
on occasion, but believed the university lacked many social activities
which related to her lifestyle. She was gregarious and was a popular
student in the dormitory.

188
Claire
Claire also enjoyed activities with her hallmates. She was the
freshman who reported not having enough things to do socially. She often
cooked with her hallmates, watched TV, and attended parties with Yvette.
Claire's cousin had a car and would invite her to go home, or to visit
friends on the other side of campus. She did attend church off campus
twice, but usually confined social activities to campus. She cut down on
socializing in the dorm her second term because she increased her
studying time.
Gordon
Gordon's social life with persons outside his daily routine was
limited. Toward the end of the second term, he decided to reduce his
work hours in order to spend more time with others. He was lonely, and
eventually entered the Big Brother/Big Sister Program and was assigned a
13 year old boy with whom he planned activities on a weekly basis.
The students' group interaction varied as described in Chapter III.
Some belonged to residential groups and study groups in class, others
belonged to no group at all. Overall, the students' peer group from home
and their new friends at school were the people with whom they interacted
most. Hallmates, roommates, peers in study groups were the more popular
groups.

189
Institutional policies/tradition
The third subquestion asked what institutional policies and/or
traditions students perceived as affecting their adjustment to the
university. The freshmen were generally accepting of university policies
and regulations unless they were affected negatively in some way. For
example, each of the students had difficulty with the registration
process, two of them almost gave up on registration, another had what he
believed was a poor advising session, and another was so frustrated by
the long list of closed classes that he sought assistance from the
admissions officer who recruited him. Frustrations with the registration
process was expressed by all of the students.
Claire volunteered her discontent when the notice was publicized
that the housing charges were to be raised for the next academic year.
She thought it to be unfair because no additional services were to be
realized by students for the additional charge. Yet she spoke to none of
the university administrators about her complaint.
Janice's complaint about the administration resulted from three
attempts to attain information about whether her junior college courses
had been transferred and evaluated by the university personnel. After
the first delay in locating her transcripts, she was patient and under
standing. The second and third delays resulted in a complaint that the
university didn't realize she existed and provoked her to contact the
minority admissions office who recruited her for assistance. He promptly
took care of the problem, to her satisfaction, as she expected.
In line with the other complaints was Butch's about the segregation
of classes within the integrated university. He could not understand why

190
there were so many minority students in some classes, if they were in
fact so few enrolled in the university. He did not believe this segrega
tion of classes was right, especially when minorities had fought so hard
against segregation.
The researcher's observation was that as new students, the freshmen
were not aware of many adminsitrative policies and practices. Their
worlds were limited to activities directly related to their classwork and
social lives. Unless they experienced a problem, administrative policy
issues were not known to them, nor were many of the administrators.
Students' Feelings About Adjustment
The students who lived on campus began their first term with
optimism'about their academic and social adjustment to OSU. They were
confident in their ability to succeed, and were generally open to the new
experiences they encountered. The student who lived off campus was
guardedly optimistic the first term about his academic adjustment, and
was driven to compete by his desire to overcome shortcomings in math and
English, as well as the desire to become an engineer. During the first
term, he had experienced very little interest in a social life, claiming
too little time to devote to it as the main reason.
Receipt of the first term's grades had a great impact on all the
students' feelings about their academic adjustment. Two of them con
sidered not returning for a second term because they were disappointed
with the grades they earned. The other three were also somewhat dis
appointed, but were certain they could earn better grades in the second

191
term. All of the students were quite convinced that they could earn
better grades if they studied harder.
Socially, the second term brought disappointment for two students
who believed they would be more comfortable at predominately black
schools. Two others were satisfied that they ahd been accepted socially,
and that they were comfortable on the campus, even though they would have
liked more social events which appealed to their lifestyles. The fifth
student felt isolated after so few social outlets from the first term,
and determined that he needed more contact with others. He began to
socialize more with his neighbors, and joined the town Big Brother
Program, and was matched with a little brother with whom he planned
weekly activities.
After two terms, each student was satisfied enough to continue
another term at OSU. Their collective feelings were positive with
some reservations about their general success in adjusting. Coping might
be the phrase most descriptive of their collective feelings about adjust
ing after two terms.
Was Race a Factor in Their Adjustment to the University?
All of the students in the study were aware that blacks had not been
admitted to OSU until recent years. They knew they would be in the
minority, but this was not a new situation for any of them. All of them
had been in integrated settings prior to attending OSU, therefore they
were more comfortable than Shenkmen's students from predominately black
schools.

192
Generally, the students viewed the issue of race individually,
according to their everyday experiences. Some made observations about
race issues, but even most of these were solicited by the researcher.
When asked by questionnaire what they believed most whites felt about
blacks attending OSU, Claire and Janice indicated they believed whites
regretted blacks attending OSU, the three others believed whites were
indifferent to blacks attending.
In the campus community (outside their residential area) three of
the four freshmen, Yvette, Janice and Butch, reported that they were not
very conscious of being minority students. Claire indicated she was con
scious of being a minority and also found campus blacks and whites some
what indifferent, the opposite of the dormitory friends and hallmates she
knew. The other three found both blacks and whites friendly. While
Claire and Tony (who was interested in transferring) reported mixed feel
ings about how comfortable they were as blacks on campus, (that is, they
felt out of place sometimes, and comfortable at other times), the others
felt rather comfortable as black students on campus most of the time.
In their classrooms, the students said they felt comfortable, and
were not made to feel like black spokesmen or women, and also believed
they were treated as fairly as other students. All but one, Butch,
believed that professors wanted to hear them speak out in class as much
as other students. Butch was only sure that professors wanted to hear
from the white students, not so sure about blacks. The freshmen reported
no racial discrimination in grading or in other aspects of their lives.
When asked about racial tension, however, and whether they discussed
racial issues, a different picture evolved. Janice and Butch reported
experiencing some racial tension, in the dormitory and in some social

193
settings. Everyone except Yvette and Gordon had discussed racial issues
with both black and white peers during the time the study was conducted.
Yvette had not spoken to anyone about these issues and Gordon had held
some discussions with a faculty member. The researcher's review of data
collected on Yvette indicated that she had discussed cultural differences
between blacks and whites with hallmates, yet she did not consider these
racial. Claire, on the other hand, who reported feeling some racial
tension involved herself in similar social discussions. The students
apparently believed these were more cultural examples than discussion
about race.
Race was a factor in adjustment of all the students and appeared to
depend on their past perceptions about racial issues, as much as their
new experiences. All of the students had either positive or neutral
experiences regarding racial issues their first term in school. During
the second term though, for two of them, the racial issue did affect
their social adjustment, so much so that they seriously considered
transferring to join their black high school peers at the state's
predominately black university. For these students social adjustment was
at least as their important as academic adjustment to the university.
It is important to note that whatever individual perceptions
students had about race as a factor in adjustment, the common facts about
race and the university's historical position about accepting blacks were
known to each of them: Blacks were barred from admission because of
race. How each interpreted this also affected their adjustment on
perhaps a more unconscious than conscious level. Examples of how race
affected adjustment can be seen in these observations of the students:

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1. Janice expressed relief on learning that she had two black
roommates on her arrival at OSU,
2. After Yvette's white roommate moved out, Yvette discussed
feeling more comfortable with Louise as a black roommate, just
because she could understand more about her lifestyle than that
of her former roommate,
3. Butch expressed regret at having agreed to live with a white
friend during the summer, because he believed he would be more
comfortable with a black roommate,
4. Claire was surprised at the friendliness of whites on her hall,
for she really had not expected them to be friendly at all,
5. Janice was always surprised when whites expressed personal
concern about her
What Patterns of Behavior Were Developed Adjusting to the University?
A major question of the study was: What patterns of behavior were
exhibited by the students in their adjustment to the university? The
researcher used Gibb's (1974) four modes of adaptation to analyze the
students' behavior, and incorporated Cooley (1908) and Mead's (1934)
theory of self and symbolic interaction to explain some of their actions.
Kimball's and Burnett's (1973) cultural world view, and Valentine's

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(1971) theory of dual socialization have been woven into the analysis to
help provide some perspectives on each students' behavior during their
first two terms at the university.
Butch. Butch's cultural world view was black, and this was the
reference group with which he identified most. However, he aspired to
belong to other groups, and believed as he stated in his admissions
application, "That OSU was the place where he could get along with any
group of people". Evidence of successfully functioning in his dominant
culture and the mainstream was his successful graduation from an inte
grated high school, his abiltiy to communicate effectively in integrated
groups, and his ability to function outside the black community, includ
ing his acceptance to OSU. Butch had longed to go to OSU from childhood
and wanted to identify with people in the mainstream. His choice of OSU,
over AU, the predominately black school, despite its strong reputation in
accounting, his major area of interest, was evidence of his desire to
assimilate into the mainstream.
It was Gibb's (1974) mode of assimilation which Butch adopted his
first term at OSU. This was not difficult with two non-black roommates,
and only one other black student in the whole dormitory He avoided all
social contacts with blacks on campus, and complained about segregated
classes of blacks in the SAP. He was attending an integrated, predomi
nately white university, and identification with the predominant group
was what he desired. He chafed under the teasing and criticism he
endured from his peers back home who could not understand his desire to
"go to school with whites". Though he appeared comfortable with himself,
his reference group (the one back home) and how he interacted with
others, his entrance to college brought on a transition, which confused

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and excited him. As he entered a predominantly white community in which
to live and attend school, his dominant group was threatened and for at
least one term, he aspired to gain acceptance with another reference
group in addition to the one back home. This new group identification
follows the third definition of reference group which Merton (1957)
described as an attempt to seek approval to enhance our own status.
It is very interesting to describe how Butch and the others viewed
themselves and interacted with others in terms of Cooley's (1908) thesis
of self and Mead's (1934) on symbolic interaction. Butch's social self
was used to interacting in a dominant culture with which he was comfort
able. He had no real difficulty interacting with others in his environ
ment prior to attending OSU, and thus the research about the social pro
cessing involving the "I" or spontaneous part of him, and the "me" or
controlling conformist aspect, were in balance, and he was comfortable
with himself. In addition, his symbolic interaction with his family and
peers led to the belief that his interpretation of situations were
accurate and led to smooth and effective communication with others. In
other words, Butch's perception of his world and of himself were satis
factory, and he was able to function in his environment well.
In the beginning at OSU, he was pleased that he seemed to be func
tioning well too. He was making friends, getting involved socially with
hallmates and roommates, enjoying classes and virtually ignored everyone
on campus who represented his former lifestyle. Going out to restaurants
and horseback riding were part of his new college experiences with his
peers. Even contact with Sam, the black upperclassman, was different
since Sam was older and was advising him to get out of the SAP program--
a move he desired anyway to get away from the other black students.

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But everything changed the second term. Sam moved off campus, which
left him the lone black in his dormitory, and his good friend Joe began
to socialize less with Butch and more with his white friends. Butch lost
interest in attending predominately white parties, and became confused.
He could no longer defined the situation well, and could not trust his
interpretation of the situation. Because he was afraid to confront his
new peers, he had no answers for his perceptions of these changes. He
had no experiences or resources to figure out what to do, or to develop a
solution other than assuming a new mode of behavior, separation. He
exhibited most of the characteristics Gibbs (1974) described in this
mode: anger, conflicts in interpersonal relationships, hostility. He
also exhibited some characteristics of the withdrawal mode: depression,
and a wish to avoid contact with the conflict producing situation.
During this time, Butch began to recall what his uncles had warned
him about socializing with whites. His pain was so great he seriously
considered transferring to AU, the predominately black school, claiming
that the isolation he felt could not occur there because he knew so many
people attending. He realized that he missed his black friends, and one
of his solutions was leaving OSU.
It was very difficult for Butch to draw conclusions about the change
in his life the second term. Race was an obvious reason which he initi
ally rejected, but returned to later. He could only interpret his new
friends' actions on who he was, since he could not find other meanings
for their actions. What he was not conscious of, he could not interpret
or indicate to himself. Consequently, he never thought that his status
as a freshmen was not compatible with his new friends who were juniors,
nor did he consider that their original embracing of him was a ritual for

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any new person or a person who enters school in mid-year when most
friendship circles have already been established. He didn't give much
thought to the white friend who still wanted to be his roommate during
the summer, as evidence of his ability to relate to white peers.
He could not analyze what happened the second term and incorporate
his lack of experience with whites on any intimate level. He had had no
interaction in extracurricular activities in his high school with whites,
and no white friendships prior to attendance at OSU. He was unable to
see any of these reasons, and chose the obvious problem of racial preju
dice as the reason for the change in his friends' behavior. Butch's
expectations and desires were incongruent with his experience in his
dominant culture, and the dual socialization in the black mainstream
culture which Valentine (1971) described had not been a major part of his
development.
Janice. Janice also operated like Butch from a strong dominant
black cultural world view. She, too, had few if any close relationships
with whites prior to entering OSU; but unlike Butch, she had black room
mates, and was not as eager or aggressive in her attempt to interact and
trust whites as he was. Her peers and family were very supportive of her
and she was quite comfortable in her interactions and communication in
her dominant culture. Her self perceptions were positive and interpreta
tions of situations in the dominant culture were quite satisfactory.
Janice's dual socialization in the dominant culture and the main
stream society was strong in the former, weaker in the latter. She had
been sheltered from interaction in the mainstream and could not fully
trust her interpretation of situations, such as the new situations with
whites on campus, especially in a one-to-one situation. She was a rather

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reserved and quiet person who was comfortable in her own world, yet she
was very interested in learning to interact with those in the mainstream.
She defined her reference group by her associating with those with
whom she was familiar her black roommates, and especially an old high
school acquaintance who was black and who became her best friend at OSU.
This best friend operated from a rather closed, dominant, black world
view, and had experienced many negative encounters with whites at OSU.
Even on campus in their residential areas, and in most social situations
they participated in, Tina steered them toward black interaction as much
as possible. By allowing Tina to define situations for her, especially
those involving whites, Janice opened herself to be influenced greatly by
Tina and very little by others in her new college experience. Her
personality made it easy for Tina to influence her in the new milieu.
Gibbs (1974) mode of affirmation was what Janice moved toward, for
she was open to new experiences with whites and was genuinely surprised
and pleased when she encountered positive overtures from her white peers.
The characteristic missing with her behavior according to Gibb's was an
autonomous, self-actualizing behavior. She didn't believe enough in
herself in this new setting and therefore was unable to experiment on her
own about her reactions and behavior.
It appeared as though Janice swung between a mode of withdrawal and
one of affirmation. However, a longing to identify more closely with her
peers, and the pressure from her best friend at OSU led her to consider
transferring to the state's predominately black institution at the end of
the second term. She could not fully articulate why she wanted to
transfer except to be with more of her former high school friends, and

200
because she would be in the majority. She exclaimed "there's only one
white person in my friend's dorm!".
Janice could not see that much of her college experience both terms
was lived vicariously through her friends who actually incorporated her
into a basically black experience on a predominately white campus. She
was really operating from a black campus ghetto, and only ventured out to
classes. She was very impressionable, susceptible to acquiece by the
strong will and personality of her friend.
Janice was also still living part of her life "at home". Her new
child was there, her fiance, and a family with whom she was very close.
Keeping up with the events at home and in the black world at OSU, left
almost no room for new experiences. Therefore, her capacity to function
more creatively in a bicultural world could not be realized at OSU, at
least in the first two terms. The "me" in her controlled the would be
adventurous "I" due to her personality, strong peer pressure, and a lack
of experiences with the mainstream culture. She took few risks in her
new environment, and therefore did little to change her perceptions and
world view. Janice was the only student who developed a strong relation
ship with a black peer after attending OSU. All the others had estab
lished their strongest black peer relationships prior to attending.
Yvette. Yvette's self concept was very positive, and she was a
gregarious individual who easily attracted friends. She was open,
friendly, confident and interpreted and defined situations from a
position of strength. Her dominant culture and world view were black.
However, she operated equally as well in the mainstream society. Yvette
had grown up in her early youth in an integrated neighborhood, was active
with whites in activities in high school, and was comfortable in defining

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situations well with them as much as she was with her black peers. Her
strong, assertive personality, her balanced bicultural socialization, and
her interest in learning about others, identified her as operating
solidly in Gibbs' (1974) mode of affirmation.
Yvette's best friends were identified as black and white. Her boy
friend was a stabilizing influence for her and confirmed her roots in the
black community at OSU and at home, as did her black peers. She admitted
being more comfortabe in a living situation with a black roommate who
could understand her lifestyle better than whites, yet on a floor of pre
dominately white residents she was the only person who was accepted by
social groups on both sides of the elevator the social dividing point
which was observed by all the residents.
Her identity with her community was strong and sure, and this made
it much easier to reach out and risk new experiences. Yvette's lifestyle
and adjustment to the university is a good example of Valentine's (1971)
dual socialization theory. Perhaps more than that, Yvette had experi
ences with whites and had already been initiated, more fully than others
in the study, in a predominately white society.
Claire. Claire's lifestyle and dominant culture were definitely
black. Her rural family life did not lend itself to close interactions
with whites until she entered high school, where whites were in the
majority. She was active in extracurricular activities, yet had no white
friends before attending OSU. She had some positive and negative experi
ences with whites in high school, yet had developed effective communica
tion with them, and remained open to new experiences. Her dual socializ
ation was stronger in her dominant culture, and was fair in the main
stream. She did not expect to socialize on the level she did with whites

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or blacks her first term at OSU, and was very pleased to find peers in
her immediate living environment to be friendly. Her expectation of
unfriendly people could have some roots in the impressions people from
small towns have about large cities or places larger than their own
communities.
During her first term, she found new black and white freshmen on her
hall who befriended her. She had two roommates originally, one black,
one white; the white roommate moved shortly after she arrived, with
little explanation to either her or the other roommate. Claire did not
assume the move was racially motivated, but she did not rule it out
either. Though this was a perplexing experience, it was not enough to
prevent Claire from maintaining her relationships with other whites.
Claire admitted sometimes feeling out of place, yet comfortable at other
times as a minority student on campus. It appears that this was due as
much to finding her way in a very large community as it was to the racial
make-up of it. Evidence of this was found in Claire's frequent comments
during the first few weeks about the size of the campus. She was over
whelmed and thought the most important thing she learned at orientation
was how to read the campus map!
Claire reported her best friends as black and white and was comfort
able with both. She identified her primary socialization with blacks,
but also belonged to racially mixed social groups and a black study
group. Claire would have liked to have a larger black student popula
tion, especially an addition of males from which to choose for dating.
The behavior pattern exhibited by Claire was the mode of affirma
tion. As she became more familiar with the new environment, she moved
toward the affirmation mode more and more. She was very cautious at

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first in her new relationships with whites, but grew more confident in
her interpretation of situations in her contact with them. Though
harboring a somewhat cynical attitude about whites' view of blacks at OSU
(she believed whites were sorry blacks were attending OSU) she operated
in this mode in her day to day experiences.
Claire consistently separated her views of people whom she knew,
black and white, in her residential, day to day life, from students out
side her living area. In her questionnaire and in some of her interviews
she indicated that blacks and whites she met out on campus were indiffer
ent as opposed to friendly. This surprised her very much about the
blacks, since such an attitude was was more expected from whites. The
researcher believed that this attitude was again consequent with the
small town attitude described above.
Gordon. Gordon's patterns of behavior were quite different from
those of the other freshmen. His experiences since his graduation from
high school, his age, his personality, were evidence of this. His domi
nant culture and world view were definitely black. He described an
interest in joining the Black Panthers before joining the Air Force, and
was more likely to be operating in a mode of separation then as defined
by Gibbs (1974). His dual socialization led him to reject the mainstream
culture in deference to his own lifestyle in the black community.
After joining the Air Force Gordon's perception about race changed
and he was more tolerant of the mainstream lifestyle. He still identi
fied most with blacks, and also expressed a new identification with white
females and the way they were treated in the service. One of his good
friends with whom he conversed regularly by telephone while at OSU was a
white female whom he met in the service. He made it clear that she was a

204
good friend, not a girlfriend, and that he was disturbed at how women in
the service were treated like blacks.are in the general society.
Gordon's uncertainty about his ability to perform after five years
absence from high school, his age, his style of being a loner and his
living off campus, separated him from the other freshmen in the study, as
well as from his peers at OSU. He was not comfortable with his social
skills and not sure whether his definition of situations he encountered
were accurate. He did not risk friendships, and did not allow himself to
go beyond roles defined for his behavior. That is, he went to class,
refrained from interacting in class unless requested to do so; on his job
he spoke to customers and was cheerful and amiable because the job
required it. He made no friends and complained that he didn't have the
time to do so, yet admitted how lonely he was. The "me" in him played it
safe, and only opened up with old friends on the telephone. The "I" in
him was dominant most of the two terms.
Gordon had no difficulty interacting with whites on the job, in his
apartment complex or in classes. Though he believed most of his younger
classmates to be immature, he could effectively communicate with them
when he wanted to. He was operating in Gibbs' (1974) mode of affirmation
to a limited degree, yet was not seeking new experiences, especially if
they interfered with his classes and his job. Early in the year he
believed he had no time for activities that distracted him from his
academic pursuits. He aggressively sought help in some of his classes,
and established positive relationships with his professors earlier than
the other freshmen. But that, too, was restricted to his role as a
student. The death of his father during the first term, his own illness,
and the frustration of re-entering academia kept his life on the

205
periphery and away from the social interaction of any consequence the
first term.
During the middle of the second term, Gordon noticed that he had
customers who came in to chat with him regularly some even recognized
him on campus, and others expressed an interest in getting to know him
better. This was surprising to him and also reinforced some feelings he
was having about trying to get out to make friends. Gordon's behavior
fit the mode of affirmation in some ways. However, his life on the peri
phery of campus activities and the people in it, by choice seemed to
define another mode. He was not angry, but frustrated, and wanted to be
a part of campus life, yet not fully. He wanted friends and more contact
with people to deal with his loneliness, yet he felt he had no time for
that kind of interaction. The researcher characterized Gordon as operat
ing in isolation, and defined it in his case as an additional mode to the
one of affirmation into which he almost fit. His loneliness eventually
drove him into a more full social life, with people on campus and in the
community around the university. He was evolving from isolation into
affirmation at the end of the study period.
What Perspectives Did Students Develop in
Addressing Problems in Adusting to the University?
The major collective and long-range perspectives developed by the
freshmen influenced the social and academic aspect of their lives. These
affected the development of short-range perspectives or those dealing
with everyday immediate concerns, and were very important in their
adjustment to the university. As described by Becker, Geer and Hughes

206
(1968) earlier, perspectives may be implicit or explicit, demonstrated or
stated. The first major long-range academic perspective was very
explicit and understood by all five freshmen: To succeed in college
I have to make good grades preferably on my own without any help from
others. This perspective was the one by which their activities were
defined. Of particular importance to these black freshmen, was the
chance to perform in an environment which had denied access to blacks
historically. The implication was that blacks could not perform in the
university. Some of the students were determined to perform "on their
own", without utilizing resources on campus, because it was important to
prove their abilities without support from the environment in which it
was believed they could not compete. Others were simply determined to
make the best grades any way they could--most often by studying more.
Students were ever mindful of this perspective to perform by the
nature of their roles as minority students on campus. Their relationship
to the special admissions program and the inquiry of family and friends
from home about making good grades reinforced this perspective. Students
also felt the extra pressure to perform as minority students in an envi
ronment in which most blacks were accepted through a different process
than other students in the university. The confused, ambivalent feeling
which some students had about the special admissions program was tied to
this drive to perform "to prove that I can do regular college work".
Above all, (even making it as a minority student), the most impor
tant thing for these students, as with most students, was to make good
grades which is believed to be the ultimate definition of being success
ful in college.

207
The second major long-range perspective was more implicit, but was
equally accepted among the freshmen, and was demonstrated most notably in
their peer relations: Being successful in college means being accepted
by my peers, especially my white peers. The academic and social environ
ments have major influences on a student's life, often having equal
importance. For the new black freshmen the challenge of making friends
and developing relationships with their black peers, was not as strong as
the challenge to make friends and develop relationships with their white
peers. The challenge and curiosity existed simply because of the histor
ical practices in society which segregated blacks and whites. Segregated
institutions of education were the result of this practice. Therefore,
even after 8 years of accepting undergraduate black students at OSU, the
campus was still predominately white, and the challenge to adjust was at
least perceived to be the responsibility of the new minority student, not
the faculty, staff and white students. Therefore, as in the larger
society, outside the campus, the success of the black person in a pre
dominately white setting was in large measure determined by his/her
ability to get along with whites.
This perspective was never expressed verbally in this way, but was
very apparent in the behavior of the four residential freshmen, in parti
cular. Two of them felt this so strongly that their perceived failure to
establish better relationships with whites, and the apparent ease with
which they could relate to blacks, drove them to seriously consider
transferring to the predominately black insititution where most of their
high school friends attended. One of these two also stated, perhaps out
of a desire to establish friendships, that some of her best friends were
white. In fact, she had only casual acquaintances with whites, and

208
rarely initiated contact with them. On the other hand, the other two
residential freshmen had developed good friendships with white peers,
while they maintained and strengthened relationships with their old and
new black peers. They had plans to remain at OSU. The students' success
or failure to relate to their white peers was inevitably a part of their
academic and social lives because they were in the minority. Persons in
the majority were the only ones with "choice" regarding whether to relate
to the minority population in their lives at college.
Students' attention was drawn to how they perceived and handled
their relationship with their white peers in many ways. For example,
after Claire arrived in her dorm room, her white roommate moved out to
join a white friend. Was her move racially motivated? Butch's white
friends from the first term had little to do with him during the second
term. Was this lack of shared activities racially motivated? The ques
tion always arose. Janice's white acquaintances seemed friendly some
times, very cold and nasty other times. Were their actions racially
motivated? Yvette's roommate moved to another room towards the end of
the first term. She was unsure why the roommate moved. Was it to get
away from her as a black roommate? The black freshmen were never sure if
these incidents were racially motivated, and responded to them as respec
tive world views and experiences dictated.
The older student was not identified with this second perspective as
much as the other four. He already had experiences in the military as a
minority, and as a loner did not express as much about his relationships
with white peers, as his lack of relationships with anyone in his envir
onment. Nevertheless, these two perspectives were the major academic
and social issues from which all other problems and perspectives arose.

209
All of the students were very concerned about their academic perfor
mance, and spent a majority of their time addressing problems which
influenced making the best grades they could obtain. Equally important
to them was their "social fit" with their peers on campus. Most of the
short-range perspectives were developed to solve problems about these two
areas, as the following examples describe.
1. Two students did not perceive themselves adjusting to their pre
dominately white peer environment, and were making plans to
transfer because of these social adjustment problems. It's
important to note that these students were not experiencing
difficulties with their black peers on campus, and that they
were interested in transferring to predominately black institu
tions, primarily to get away from the confusion and distress
caused by their social relations with their white peers.
2. The two females who seemed to be adjusting satisfactory socially
and academically had plans to remain at OSU. Although one of
these females did express an interest in an increased black male
population, this lack did not drive her to consider transferring
or to withdraw from the social scene.
3. The older student was definitely occupied almost exlusively with
improving his academic work, and his job which was necessary to
meet his financial needs. Later in the second term, he became
aware of how isolated he had become socially, and made attempts
to broaden his social base in the community outside the campus.
Thus he was less affected than other students with ideas of
developing relationships with peers, especially his white peers.

210
Since he worked with white colleagues whom he befriended, it
became less of a school-associated issue, as well.
The next section lists the general perceptions and perspectives held and
developed by students as they adjusted to the university.
Freshmen's Perceptions About Adjusting
The following list of individual and group perceptions revealed to
the researcher, the reasons for some of the student's actions, and also
provided the basis for analyzing findings in the study. The titles of
the sections depict the specific topic of the perceptions. Notations in
parentheses indicate whether the perception are individual, held by the
group, or mixedthat is, not a consensus, but varied opinions. Campus
groups succeeding at OSU refers to freshmen residing in university
housing.
Succeeding at OSU
1. Since I was successful in high school, I have a good chance of being
successful in college, (group)
2. Since my friends like it at OSU, I probably will, too. (mixed)
3. OSU is a good school where I can succeed, despite my friends'
reservations about how whites will treat blacks, (campus group)
Special Admissions Program (SAP)
1. There is a stigma attached to the SAP; one which connotes that the
students in its courses are inferior learners, or somehow different
from students not in the program, (mixed)

211
2. SAP is for slow learners, (individual)
3. Special services courses are not as legitimate as regular courses,
(mixed)
4. SAP courses and labs assist in the adjustment of black students to
the university, (group, after 2nd term)
5. The special services program is the main reason most black students
are at OSU. (mixed)
Registration/Orientation
1. Dormitory life was going to be fun; roommates and hall mates were
friendly and helpful, (campus group, 1st term)
2. First registration was a very frustrating experience, (group)
3. The campus-wide orientation and the minority affairs orientation were
both informative and useful events, (group)
Make New Friends But Keep the Old
1. Whites as a group are indifferent to blacks, (mixed)
2. I can get along with both blacks and whites, (mixed)
3. Despite a lack of social activities which are reflective of my
lifestyle, my social life on campus is satisfactory, (group)
4. My black friendships are more comfortable and stronger than my
friendships with whites, (group)
5. It matters very much to me what my black peers from home think of my
activities at school, (group)
6. It's important for me to maintain strong ties with friends at home
who enjoy the same social activities as I do. (group)

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If I Study More My Grades Will Improve
1. If I study and get help from my friends I'll make good grades.
(campus group, 1st term)
2. If I study more and talk to professors more often my grades will
improve, (group, 2nd term)
3. If I improve my study habits, my grades will improve, (group)
4. My friends know more about school than I do, especially those who
arrived in the fall, (campus group)
5. I'll only ask the professor or graduate assistant for help if my
friends can't help me. (campus group)
Perspectives Developed by Freshmen
The collective perspectives developed in the first term were as
fol1ows:
Academics
1. Speaking out in class might get me in trouble, so I'll study hard
and ask my friends for help, (campus group)
2. If I study more, my grades will improve, (group)
3. Asking professors for help will be my last resort so I'll ask my
friends if I have trouble with my courses, (campus group)
4. Since SAP courses are not as hard as regular courses, and carry the
stigma of inferior students; I must work hard to get off the SAP.
(mixed)

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Social Life
1. If I'm friendly with whites they will be friendly, too. (campus
group)
2. To meet the needs of my social and cultural lifestyle, I will attend
social activities sponsored by black campus groups and go home to
attend events with my old friends, (campus group)
3. I can count on my friends when personal problems arise, (group)
Students' perspectives changed the second term:
Academics
1. If I talk with my professors and study more, my grades will improve,
(campus group)
Special Admissions Program (SAP)
1. SAP courses are as difficult as regular courses, so I'll continue to
take them for a while, (campus group)
Social Life
1. Whites friendships are not dependable, so I'll withdraw and only deal
with my black peers, (mixed)
2. My white friendships are important, and have grown stronger in
two terms, (mixed)
After a final analysis of the data, two students seemed to be
adjusting better than the other three, both academically and socially.
They had many characteristics in common with the others, yet had some

214
unique qualities which the others did not possess. First, a description
of these students: They were female, one from a small rural community,
the other from a large urban community; both graduated from integrated
high schools--the rural predominately white, the urban originally pre
dominately white, but by her graduation was over 50 percent black. Each
had better than average high school academic records, and were very
active in extracurricular activities with their black and white peers.
They were confident in their ability to succeed in college, were strongly
supported by families who preferred their attendance at OSU as opposed to
the predominately black school in the state.
Each student also experienced positive receptions from their black
and white hallmates, and belonged to friendship groups of blacks and
whites. Though each was most comfortable with her black peers, each was
also very comfortable in her white relationships. These females also
belonged to study groups and were the only students in the study earning
above average grades at OSU. They were more positive about the Special
Admissions Program than the other students and believed that it was help
ful to black students. The single most distinguishing characteristics
that separated these students from the others was the fact that they had
friends at OSU prior to their attendance. This meant that these students
had one strong peer contacts and one strong administrative contact (the
admissions officer) prior to attending the university. These friends
were students who were adjusted to OSU, and who were very supportive of
them as new freshmen. They were successful role models who were adjust
ing and coping academically and socially in the same environment. These
models helped these students attain a more realistic picture of what to
expect in college--a guide was missing for the others.

215
Finally, although these females reported a belief that whites in
general were indifferent to blacks attending OSU, this had no negative
effect on their identification with the institution. They felt they
belonged to OSU now, too. This feeling of belonging was unique to these
two students.
The characteristics which distinguished these students from the
other three students included: 1) their interactions with white peers in
extracurricular activities in high school, 2) their established friend
ships at OSU prior to attendance, 3) their membership in mixed black/
white friendship groups, 4) their membership in a black study group,
5) their positive attitude about the SAP, and 6) their above average
academic performance during the period of the study.
Characteristics common to the other residential students which also
seemed to help in.adjusting were: 1) friendly, helpful hallmates and
roommates, 2) the admissions officer as a resource, 3) strong black peer
relationships from home, (4) access to faculty and graduate students for
assistance, 5) strong family support, 6) and strong motivation to perform
well and fit into the new university community. The older student shared
the strong family support, the ties with black peers from home, and the
motivation to succeed.
The unique and common characteristics of the black freshmen all
influenced adaptation and had implications for determining the best
circumstances under which minority students adapt best. Though
implications for further study and detailed recommendations will be cited
in Chapter V, the following conditions are cited as essential for the
success of black freshmen on a predominately white campus:

216
1. Better than average academic record in high school and effective
study habits.
2. Experience and interaction with their white peers beyond a
casual level. (Committee work, team participation, and other
activity which force interaction which in turn fosters knowledge
about each others cultures.)
3. Realistic knowledge and information about college life.
4. Friendship with or acquaintance with successful black
upper-class models, who are able to give informed advice about
campus services, prior to their attendance.
5. Receptive university officials who are knowledgeable about
freshmen, especially the adjustment of minorities on majority
populated campuses.
6. Available written information about campus resources and
services.
7. Greater reflections campus-wide of the acceptance and
appreciation of Afro-Americans more faculty, courses about
Afro-Americans, more cultural events reflecting social lifestyle
of students.
8. Required academic advising sessions with faculty at least twice
a term for review of coursework, and for preparation for
registration.

217
CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study was initiated to identify phenomena which influenced the
academic and social adjustment of black freshmen to a predominately white
university in the south. The exploratory nature of the study was
designed to foster development of new themes, ideas or hypotheses which
might guide in further research or programs intended to assist the
students in matriculating, and the university in helping them do so. An
analysis of the perceptions, adaptive behaviors and perspectives which
students developed to solve problems was made so as to better understand
how these freshmen adjusted to the university.
The four major questions posed at the beginning of the study were
used as a guide in discussing conclusions. Recommendations follow the
conclusions.
1. What Phenomena Influenced the Students1 Perception of Their Academic
and Social Adjustment to the University?
Four variables were identified as major influences on student
adjustment: family support, university reception, peer relations, and
individual characteristics and experiences. Peer relations were by far
more influential than the other phenomena. Dependence on their peers'
experience and acceptance of their behavior were guiding forces for the
new freshmen. The academic and social arenas were dominated by norms set

218
by peers; faculty and administration were the last resource to be
consulted about most issues of importance. The students' lives revolved
around "fitting in" with the campus academically and socially. Their
friends and classmates' lives were much the same. Performing well
academically, that is, making good grades, and finding comfortable social
outlets were of almost equal importance to the new black freshmen.
Socially, developing relationships with their white peers on campus
was an essential part of adjusting to the campus, yet the stronger black
peer relations outside the campus were the foundation of the social lives
of all the freshmen. Equally, if not more, important was the seemingly
unconscious desire to succeed academically on their own because they were
minority students who had historically been denied admittance, and who
had the burden of special admission status to overcome.
Family support was viewed as important to all the students. The
ties they had to their homes and communities provided a continuous source
of moral support as they sought new experiences on campus. It was
parents who encouraged them, helped provide some perspective on their
performance as new students, and gave them direction, particularly about
social issues they encountered in their new environment.
The initial university reception for the freshmen was positive, and
they began their academic careers optimistically, with their hopes of
successful adjustment confirmed, at first, by friendly, open roommates,
hallmates, and faculty, who welcomed them to school. The students'
enthusiasm seemed to be matched by those people they encountered during
the first term on campus. The first contacts were reinforcing about
their acceptance by whites and about their chances of developing good
relationships with their white peers.

219
Successful adjustment to the predominately white environment seemed
to depend in part on attendance at an integrated high school, and close
interaction with white peers, such as on committees or sports teams, in
that setting. The students who adjusted best socially and academically
where those who had had more than casual acquaintances with whites at
the high school level.
The students' individual experiences at home and at OSU determined
to some degree how they chose friends and activities to participate in,
and the ways in which they viewed their own adjustment process. Their
experiences relating to peers at the university tended to mirror those
that they had previously in their high schools and home environments.
Family influence and those of their black peers at home, gave direction
to their activities and experiences on campus.
Institutional policies and practices were generally accepted by
students and were not questioned or perceived negatively until an
individual problem was experienced. Even then, students were reluctant
to confront university officials, whether faculty, from whom some
students recieved poor academic advice, or university officials, who
increased the rent, which one freshman thought was unfair. The freshmen
would only consult or address faculty and university officials as a last
resort; the individuals sought in every case were those who had presented
themselves as a resource with whom students were comfortable.

220
2. What Patterns of Behavior were Exhibited by Students in Their
Adjustment to the University?
Initially, all but one of the students was optimistic about their
college experience, and exhibited characteristics found in two of Gibbs'
(1974) mode of behavior; the modes of affirmation and separation. Char
acteristics of the mode of affirmation also exhibited initially by the
students were self-acceptance, positive ethnic identity, and high
achievement motivation. These modes of feeling and behavior were
expressed or observed among all of the four residential students. These
students were anxious, yet open, for new experiences, and operated with
these feelings until other experiences or peers led them to think or act
otherwise. They were interested in fitting into campus life while
maintaining their own cultural identity formed in their home environ
ments. In contrast, the student who lived off campus manifested the same
characteristics of the mode of affirmation, but was less interested in
interacting with the campus community except for those persons who could
assist him academically. He remained an isolate during most of the two
terms.
During the second term two students, a male and a female, experi
enced negative encounters with their white peers--one directly, and the
other vicariously through her best friendand changed from the affirma
tion mode to that of separation. Characteristics of this mode of
behavior included anger, hostility, conflict in interpersonal relations,
and rejection of middle class values and customs. So profound were their
feelings that each seriously considered transferring to a predominately
black school. Their social environments were uncomfortable enough to
cause them to literally consider withdrawal from the university.

221
The other two residential students moved more fully into the mode of
affirmation during the second term and were satisfied with their academic
and social adjustment. These two females were the only students with
strong black peer relationship and strong white peer relationships. They
also had membership in racially mixed social and academic groups, with
admitted preference for their black peers among whom they felt more
comfortable.
The fifth student moved closer toward the full mode of affirmation
by deliberately seeking more social outlets with others in his environ
ment. He began to respond more to customers at his work place, inter
acted more with fellow workers, and sought more contact with people in
the black community surrounding the school.
It is important to emphasize the behavior of these freshmen in rela
tion to their activities and the groups to which they belonged. Most of
their activities focused on academics, or on fitting in socially with
peers in their school environments on campus and in their known social
circles at home. Although three of the students were very active in
extracurricular activities in high school, none of the five belonged to
any formal student organizations, such as student government or the Black
Student Union, nor did they have membership in social groups, such as
fraternities or sororities. This was the case, even though some of their
peers, especially upper class students, belonged to such organizations.
At least for these freshmen, getting adjusted for the first two terms did
not involve joining formally organized groups, although some of them
expressed interest in doing so in the future.

222
3. What Were the Students1 Perceptions About Race as a Factor Affecting
Their Adjustment to the University?
As a group the students were not pre-occupied with thoughts and
feelings about their acceptance as black students on campus because they
had previously experienced being a minority in an integrated setting.
They were all comfortable enough in the environment to function as
students without wondering with every interaction how they would be
perceived. Yet they were aware, seemingly on an unconscious level, that
they were members of a minority group, once denied acceptance to the
university. They could physically see the small numbers. They knew most
blacks were accepted through the special admissions program, and were
very conscious of the lack of social and cultural activities with which
to identify on campus.
Three of the five reported that they were generally not conscious of
their race difference on campus, whereas the other two generally felt
conscious about being minority students. Two of the females, one who was
interested in leaving and one who was well adjusted, reported that they
believed whites regretted that blacks were attending OSU. The other
three believed whites to be indifferent to blacks attending the univer
sity. Despite these general feelings, the freshmen seemed to define
their adjustment about racial issues in terms of their prior experience
with whites, their everyday feedback with people they encountered and
their determination to succeed.
Overt discrimination and expressions of prejudice were not
experienced by any of the students, although for some, racial tensions
arose in the dormitory on occasion. Most of the students were also able

223
to discuss racial issues with their black and white peers, and did not
report racial issues as a problem in adjusting.
4. What Perspectives Did Students Develop to Solve Problems While
Adjusting to the University?
There were two long-range perspectives developed, about their
academic and social success at college, which formed the basis from which
all other short-range perspectives grew. These perspectives were
1. To succeed in college, I have to make good grades--preferably
without any help from others.
2. Being successful in college means getting along with my peers,
especially my white peers.
Both long-range perspectives reflect concerns of freshmen in
general, yet they both have qualifications which are unique to students
who have not traditionally been a part of the campus community of the
mainstream society. Their interests in performing "on their own" and the
importance of adjusting with white peers are the unique features which
are directly related to the students' race. A desire to prove that
blacks could achieve and could relate successfully to white peers was
accepted not only by the students but was also reinforced by parents and
friends in their home communities.
The short-term perspectives developed by students centered around
either their academic or social life. Those who made successful adjust
ments developed positive responses to problems which arose and coped well
in their academic and social spheres. These students were also more
likely to retain the perspectives tney initially developed since they
were more realistic about their new lives on campus. On the other hand,

224
those students who were not the best adjusters had different perspectives
each term, usually developed negative responses to problems which arose,
and were not coping well in their academic or social spheres.
The successful adjustment of black freshmen seemed to be dependent
on certain essential conditions outside and within the campus community.
The six characteristics which described the most successful freshmen
experience gave rise to recommendations for developing the best condi
tions under which adjustment could occur; yet the experiences of the
other three, and the questions raised about their less successful adjust
ment were equally as valuable for determining the model circumstance for
optimum adjustment. The following recommendations are separated into
two categories--those essential prior to entering college, and those
necessary after arrival to the campus. These recommendations include
things the students and university personnel should be prepared to do
A. Prior to entering the university community students should have:
1. Better than average academic record and study habits. Support
from family, teachers and peers can insure this. Personal moti
vation and interest in learning could also help insure this
condition.
2. Experience and/or work with racially integrated groups--enough
to understand and appreciate cultural diversity, especially in a
school setting. Students without this type of background should
have the option to join workshops, seminars or other similar
activities which foster understanding of race relations. This
means that the university should already have such a program

225
available for anyone in the community (black or white) who needs
to sensitize him or herself about interracial interaction.
3. Realistic information and history about college life in general,
and about history of blacks and other minority students1 adjust
ment at the college. This information can be sent by the admis
sions office, transmitted by letter from a continuing student,
or be received through orientation prior to attending school.
Students may also receive this kind of information through
orientation courses at the university.
4. Assignment to a successful black upper class peer advisor who is
able to give informed advice about campus services. These
models are necessary for the new black students who can then
emulate these students. Just knowing that others are succeeding
can be a great motivating factor for new students. These peer
advisors will be one of the greatest influences on new black
students' adjustment to campus, and should be able to represent
the university as a whole, not just special services or minority
issues on campus.
5. Assignment to a faculty advisor whom they must be required to
see at least prior to each registration. New students need
faculty advice and need to get to know personnel within the
university as soon after arrival as possible. These contacts
are particularly necessary as a source of finding the truth
about university regulations, policies and practices, since

226
students tend to believe everything told to them by their peers.
Faculty working with minority students should be sensitized and
educated about the history of minorities in higher education and
on the local campus.
6. Current information about campus services and current resources
is absolutely necessary as back up to whatever information they
hear from their peers or through the campus grapevine. It would
be best to make this information available prior to their
attendance at the university.
B. After entering the university community students should:
1. Be assigned to university housing with residential assistants
knowledgeable about history of minority students adjusting to
campus, and to areas which house black and white students. This
recommendation implies training all housing personnel about
the special problems of any minority student (but in this case,
especially black students) adjusting to campus. Where students
live should be one of the most comfortable places for them on
campus. Residential staff can foster greater understanding and
acceptance by other residents, and can be viewed by minority
students as the resource people they should be for all students.
2. Be required to attend the university-wide orientation and the
special admissions orientation. Separating the two fosters the
idea of a separate university, and the importance of each should
be recognized by all personnel with whom the students come in

Ill
contact. To insure participation in each, the campus-wide
orientation should offer materials and information which
students need in order to effectively participate in the special
admissions orientation. The purpose and history of special
admissions programs should be made available at the orientation,
so students will have clear information about their choices for
selecting courses. Students accepted through regular admission
should be given the option to attend a minority orientation on
campus.
3. Be made aware on a regular basis of the university's efforts to
more fully embrace the Afro-American culture which has historic
ally been denied access to campus, and given current information
on the status of minorities at the university. This means that
the university must inform students of minority faculty,
curriculum, events and activities which currently reflect their
heritage. This also means that students must be aware of any
committees, such as affirmative action committee, facilities,
such as cultural institutes and other programs or events within
the black and white communities which were established to insure
a cultural identity for them, and a truer reflection of the
pluralistic society for the community at large.
This kind of information, which should be sanctioned by the univer
sity president, fosters confidence in the minority students about the
university's commitment to maintain minority enrollment and interests and
encourages greater commitment from them to the university, as well.

228
Events of importance which could be sponsored by the university would be
scholarship drives, establisment of university liaison with the black
community, creation of workshops and seminars addressing topics which
address national and local issues of race to facilitate greater under
standing between the races.
If these recommendations are met, greater retention of black
students may be the result, simply because more students will be adjust
ing earlier in their careers at the university. There are many areas of
research which need further study before more specific information is
available on adjustment of black students as a group. For example, a
longitudinal study or a study of the different academic classes of black
students could provide data to assess the different perceptions and needs
of students as they matriculate at PWI's.
Other areas to explore would be the relationship between academic
success and social adjustment, especially for black males, who are
enrolled in fewer numbers than black females; the myth of the constant
parties and socializing done by black students who live together in large
numbers in the dorm, and the alleged pressure they exert on the more
studious not to perform; an investigation into nature and intensity of
black-white friendship group and how they differ from single race
friendship groups; an investigation into what variables influence a
smooth transition from the special admissions courses to the regular
university curriculum; a look at the type of experiences which occur to
change a students' attitude about racial issues could facilitate greater
communication among black and white students and thus foster greater
understand! ng.

229
And finally, more research must be conducted to identify specific
ways the university could effectively sensitize the white faculty, staff
and students to the unique needs of black and other minority students.
Ideas on this topic have to be implemented from the board of trustees
through the president to insure institutional-wide assistance. The onus
to change should not be borne by black students and middle managers who
direct students services. The responsibility is a mutual one which
should be borne by both the student and by university personnel.

APPENDIX A
SIGNATURE POSTCARD FOR PARTICIPATION IN STUDY
I received your letter about the
project on the adjustment of black students
to OSU. I am still planning to attend
the university, and to help you with
the project.
Signature
230

APPENDIX B
INTERVIEW GUIDE
At the first interview the researcher and each student reviewed
their understanding about working together on the study. The researcher
then explained that she was interested in their social and academic
adjustment to the campus, and that she was interested in their everyday
interactions and activities. She informed them that the interviews would
center around their activities and interactions on campus, i.e., in the
classroom, in the dormitory, at social events, with friends, other
students and university personnel, too.
The first interview was the longest of any of them because three
weeks had elapsed before the initiation of the interviewing process. The
researcher and each student began to establish a comfortable rapport at
the first interview, and most of the questions centered around securing
information about the student:
1. Please describe yourself to me; your family, your relationship
to each member and anything you think would give me a picture of
your life at home.
a. Do all your family members live together? (grandparents,
sisters, etc.)
b. How do the other family members view you?
c. Do you have strong family ties?
2. Describe your neighborhood, friends and the people you associate
with at home.
Other questions of a demographic nature were also asked as the
interviewer progressed.
231

232
The routine questions asked of each student at each interview
included:
1. How are you doing in your courses?
2. Have you had any exams this week?
3. Describe any important events that have occured since the last
time we talked.
4. Are you having any problems in your classes? In the dormitory?
5. How much have you interacted with other students in your classes
this week?
6. How well do you think you're adjusting to the university?
7. Who has been the greatest help to you this week in handling any
problems or difficulties?
8.' When have you heard from your family?
9. What social events have you attended since last week?
10. Which friends have you interacted with this week?

APPENDIX C
FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE
The following questionnaire was designed to collect information
about the academic and social adjustment of black freshmen to the
university. The information will be used to complete a study about black
students' perceptions of their adaptation to the campus. The findings
will be sent to the university administration and will be available for
your information in the Minority Affairs Office in Student Services.
Please fill out the questionnaire completely, answering all
questions. Do not put your name or social security number on any part of
the questionnaire. All information should be given anonymously. Please
do not hesitate to ask about anything which is unclear to you about the
questionnaire; just raise your hand and I will assist you.
Thank you very much for helping, maybe some other new freshman will
benefit from the information you share by completing the questionnaire.
JOYCE E. TAYLOR
233

234
FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE
Please circle the number of the answer which is appropriate for you,
and fill in the blanks as necessary.
SECTION A. DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
1. SEX 2. AGE
3. MARITAL STATUS 4. NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS
l=female
1=16-19
l=single
2=male
2=20-23
2=married
3=23 or older
3=divorced
4=separated
5=other
Do Not Count Yourself
5.SIZE OF YOUR HOME TOWN OR CITY
l=less than 2500
2=2500 to 24,999
3=25,000 to 99,999
4=100,000 to 499,000
5=500,000 or larger
6.MOTHER'S EDUCATION
l=less than high school
2=high school grad, no college
3=trade or business school
4=some college
5=college grad or more
6=don't know
7.FATHER'S EDUCATION 8. MOTHER'S OCCUPATION
l=less than high school
2=high school grad, no college
3=trade or business school
4=some college 9. FATHER'S OCCUPATION
5=college grad or more
6=don't know
10. PARENTS COMBINED INCOME
l=below $10,000
2=10,000 to 19,999
3=20,000 to 29,999
4=30,000 or over
11. Please give the number of sisters or
brothers who have attended college.
12. Please give the number of sisters or
brothers who have graduated college.

235
SECTION B. ENTRANCE AND ORIENTATION TO ORANGE STATE UNIVERSITY
1.Was your interest in going to college:
l=something you or your parents planned for a long time
2=a recent idea
2.What person(s) influenced you most about attending college?
l=parents or relatives
2=friends
3=high school counselor
4=college recruiter
5=self '
3.Why did you choose to attend OSU? (Circle all numbers that apply)
l=reputation of the school
2=attractive financial aid package offered
3=high school counselor recommended university
4=had friends attending
5=other reason (Be specific)
4.What percentage of your high school was attended by black students?
1=5-10%
2=10-20%
3=20-40%
4=40-50%
5=50% or over
5.Were you a participant in extra-curricular activities in high school?
l=yes
2=no
If you answered yes to #5, please list the activities that you were
active in, and indicate any offices you held:

236
6.How would you rate your high school preparation for college?
l=excellent
2=very good
3=good
4=fair
5=poor
7.Which quarter did you enter the university?
l=summer qtr 1977
2=fal1 qtr 1977
3=winter qtr 1978
4=spring qtr 1978
8.Are you in the University College (UC) Special Admissions Program?
l=yes
2=no
9.Do you have an assigned peer counselor?
l=yes
2=no
10.Did you attend freshmen orientation?
l=yes
2=no
If you answered yes to #10, pese circle all the numbers that
indicate where you attended orientation:
l=the student union
2=0range Auditorium with Special Admissions Staff
3=Afro-American Cultural Center (with black faculty)
11.Did you attend another college before attending OSU?
l=yes
2=no
12.Did you enter college:
l=right after high school
2=after an interruption

237
13.What kind of financial aid do you receive from the university?
(Circle all that apply)
l=grant or scholarship
2=loans
3=work study
4=0PS
b=none
14.Do you receive financial help from your parents or guardian?
l=yes
2=no
15.Do you think you receive enough money (from all sources) to meet
your academic needs?
l=yes
2=no
16.Do you work off campus?
If you answered yes to #16, give
number of hours you work per week
l=yes
2=no
17.Who brought you to the OSU campus to start school?
l=parents or relatives
2=friends
3=came alone
4=other (Be specific)
SECTION C. ACADEMIC ADVISEMENT AND REGISTRATION
1. What is your major?
2. What college are you enrolled in?
3. Who helped you register for classes your first quarter at the
university? (Check all that apply)
l=special services staff
2=my peer counselor
3=roommate
4=friends
5=an academic advisor
6=the Asst. Dean for Minority Affairs
7=registered by myself

238
4. Did you get help from an academic advisor for your registration
your second term at OSU?
l=yes
2=no
5. Do you have a regular academic advisor?
l=yes
2=no
6. The academic advisors I have gone to for help have:
l=shown interest in me, were knowledgeable & helpful with my schedule
2=shown interest in me, but were not knowledgeable about scheduling
3=shown no interest in me, were not knowledgeable nor helpful
4=no experience with academic advisors
7.As a result of taking the advice of an academic advisor,
I have taken: (Circle all that apply)
l=the right courses I need
2=courses I don't need
3=courses that were too advanced for me
4=courses that were too easy, and not challenging
8.Each quarter I have carried an average of:
1=6-9 quarter hours
2=10-13 quarter hours
3=14-17 quarter hours
4=18-20 quarter hours
5=20 or more quarter hours
9.The courses I have taken have been:
l=special admission courses only
2=regular courses only
3=special admission and regular courses
10. I believe that Special Admissions courses are:
l=easier than the regular courses
2=more difficult than the regular courses
3=no easier, nor more difficult than the regular courses
11. I believe that Special Admissions courses have:
l=helped me in my academic adjustment to the university
2=inhibited my academic adjustment to the university

239
SECTION 0. CLASSROOM EXPERIENCES
1.Most of the required course work is:
Irrelevant and interesting to me
2=irrelevant and uninteresting to me
2. When there are class discussions I:
l=sometimes feel other students inhibit me from expressing my views
2=feel very comfortable expressing my views most of the time
3. If offered individual help by a professor, I will usually:
l=accept the offer
2=decline the offer
4.The classes I enjoy most are:
l=large lecture classes (100-500)
2=small discussion classes (20-30)
3=1ab classes (5-10)
5.Please list the name of a course you enjoyed taking:
6.Please list the name of a course you did not enjoy taking:
7.My class attendance has been:
l=high, I attend all of my classes 90-100% of the time
2=average, I attend most of my classes 75-80% of the time
3=1ow, I attend most of my classes 50% of the time
8.If I misunderstand something a professor says during class,
I usually: (Check all that apply)
l=speak up right then to get clarification
2=approach the professor after class for clarification
3=ask one of my classmates for clarification
4=try to understand without help from others

240
9.If I am having problems with homework assignments, I usually try to:
(Check all that apply)
l=go to see the professor during his/her office hours
2=work out the problems with other students in the class
3=work out the problems by myself
10.I feel that I:
l=perform well on papers and other written assignments
2=do not perform well on papers and other written assignments
11.My experience has been that:
l=it is easy to get help from professors
2=it is difficult to get help from professors
12.Graduate students teaching classes are:
l=easier to get help from than professors
2=as difficult to get help from as professors
3=more difficult to get help from than professors
13.Sometimes I have not attempted to get help with academic problems
because:
l=some of my peers have pressured me to seek help from professors
2=1 have been uncertain about how the professor would respond to me
3=1 didn't want to appear ignorant about the course work
4=other (List your own reason if #1, 2 or 3 don't apply):
SECTION E. STUDY HABITS
1. My study habits in high school were:
l=excellent, I established a schedule to study by and followed it
regularly
2=good, I had no regular schedule, but I studied a lot
3=fair, I had no schedule but studied enough to get my homework done
4=poor, I studied when I had to, and usually crammed for assignments
2. My first term at the university I found that my study habits were:
l=adequate
2=inadequate

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3. After my first term at the university, my study habits:
l=improved
2=got worse
3=stayed the same
4. Right now I feel that my study habits:
l=are adequate
2=need improving
5. There are 120 hours between Monday and Friday. How many hours a week
do you study during this period?
1=0-10 hours a week
2=11-20 hours a week
3=21-30 hours a week
4=31-40 hours a week
5=46 hours or more
6. There are 48 hours in a week-end. How many hours do you study
on the week-end?
1=0-5 hours
2=6-10 hours
3=11 hours or more
7. I usually study:
l=alone
2=with one other person
3=with a small group
If you answered #7 by circling #2 or #3 are the people you study with
(Check all that apply)
l=friends
2=classmates
3=other (Be specific)
8.I am the kind of student who studies best:
l=under pressure and through cramming
2=by doing homework on a regular basis
9.The best place for me to study is:
l=alone in my room
2=in the dormitory library
3=at one of the campus libraries
4=other (Be specific)

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10.When I take a course on the Special Admissions Program, I know that I
may take the exams in the course three times, if necessary. Because
I know this, I have a tendency to:
l=study less
2=study more
3=not let that influence my study habits
11.I believe that if I studied more:
1=1 could make better grades
2=my grades would be about the same
12.After my first term at the university, my grades were:
l=better than I expected
2=worse than I expected
3=about what I expected
13.After my second term at the university, my grades were:
l=better than I expected
2=worse than I expected
3=about what I expected
14.Did your second term's grades improve over your first term's?
l=yes
2=no
15.I think I study:
l=more than my friends
2=about the same as my friends
3=less than my friends do
16.Overall, my academic experiences here at the university have been:
l=very good
2=good
3=average
4=poor
5=very poor

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SECTION F. PERSONAL-SOCIAL EXPERIENCES
1.I 1 ive:
l=on campus with roommates
2=alone on campus
3=alone off campus
4=off campus with roommates
2.My roommates are:
l=black freshmen
2=white freshmen
3=black and white freshmen
4=other (Be specific)
3.My best friends at the university are:
l=friends I made before coming to the university
2=friends I made after I began school
3=friends I made before and after I came to the university
4.My best friends are:
l=black
2=white
3=black and white
4=other (Be specific)
5.My social life consists mainly of:
l=single dating
2=going out with groups of friends (male and female)
3=going out with the fellows
4=going out with the girls
6.As far as social events and activities on campus are concerned,
I find:
l=more than enough interesting things to do and enjoy
2=very few things to do and enjoy
3=no time to get involved in them

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7.The biggest social problem for me at the university is:
l=not having enough black males to choose from for possible dates
2=not having enough black females to choose from for possible dates
3=that most of the social events and activities that I am interested
in happen outside the campus or outside the university city limits
4=not enough social events on campus that relate to my lifestyle
5=no time to participate in social events
8.My social life has:
l=increased since I came to the university
2=decreased since I came to the university
3=remained about the same as it was before I came to the university
9.Which of these activities do you attend most often?
l=social events presented by the black fraternities and sororities
2=social events planned by the dormitory staff
3=university wide planned concerts and programs
4=programs presented by the Black Culture Center
5=social events outside the campus in the community
6=social events outside the university community
7=none of the above
8=(List activities you attend most often)
10.Where do you usually get together on campus to talk to friends about
classes, the daily happenings, social events, etc.?
l=the set
2=dormitory lounges and lobbies
3=the wall in front of Auditorium B
4=at the Afro-American Cultural Center
11. The people I socialize with most of the time are:
l=black students
2=white students
12. Listed below are several types of groups. Circle all types that
describe groups to which you belong.
l=black friendship groups on campus
2=white friendship groups on campus
3=black & white (mixed) friendship groups
4=black study group
5=white study group
6=black & white study group
7=none of the above
8=(List your own)

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13.I socialize with some of the same people I study with.
l=yes
2=no
14.Please list the campus groups to which you belong. If you don't
belong to any, please give your reason for not belonging:
15.Are you an active member of the Black Student Union?
l=yes
2=no
16.Oo you read the daily student newspaper regularly?
l=yes
2=no
17.How do you find out about most social events you attend on campus?
l=from posters on the set and bulletin boards around campus buildings
2=talking to friends
3=in the student newspaper
4=none of the above
5=(List other ways)
6=don't attend any campus events
18.I am interested in joining: (Check all that apply)
l=a fraternity
2=a sorority
3=one of the little sister groups to one of the fraternities
4=one of the independent black groups on campus
5=the Black Student Union
6=one of the campus honorary clubs
7=none of these
8=(List your own)
19.I communicate with my family back home (by calling or writing):
l=every week
2=every 2 or 3 weeks
3=once or twice a quarter
4=other

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20.I visit my folks at:
l=the regular quarter breaks and holidays
2=regular breaks, and a couple of week-ends a term
3=more than the regular breaks and a couple of week-ends a term
4=less than the regular quarter breaks and holidays
21.When I have personal problems I usually: (Check all that apply)
l=solve them myself
2=discuss them with a friend
3=see my peer counselor
4=cal1 home
5=go to see a faculty or staff member
6=go to the counseling center
7=other (Be specific)
22.How would you describe your family's interest in your college career?
l=very supportive
2=supportive
3=not very supportive
4=indifferent
23.Overall, my personal-social life at the university has been:
l=very satisfactory
2=generally satisfactory
3=not very satisfactory
4=unsatisfactory
SECTION G. BLACK-WHITE RELATIONS
1. On the university campus, I am very conscious of being a minority
student.
l=yes
2=no
2. The campus atmosphere at the university is:
l=very unfriendly, cold and discouraging
2=unfriendly, other students don't seem to care about anyone
but themselves
3=average, most students are pleasant but not concerned about
one another
4=friendly, most students are cooperative & interested in each other
5=very friendly, I have many friends and I like it here very much

1
247
3. As a black student at the university I feel:
l=out of place and alienated from the campus
2=very comfortable and at home on the campus
3=out of place sometimes, and comfortable at other times
4. When there are only a few black students in a class (20-30 students),
I think:
l=the professor resents the fact that blacks sit together
2=the professor does not mind blacks sitting together
5.Most of the black people I meet on campus are:
l=unfriendly
2=friendly
3=indifferent
6.Most of the white people I meet on campus are:
l=unfriendly
2=friendly
3=indifferent
7.In general, I perform less well in my overall course work than
classmates of other races.
l=yes
2=no
8.Professors generally feel it is their responsibility as teachers to
make references to a black or minority point of view on issues
discussed in class.
l=yes
2=no
9.White professors have pressured me to serve as a spokesman for my
entire race in class discussions.
l=yes
2=no

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10.Most of my professors are:
l=black males
2=white males
3=black females
4=white females
11.In most of my classes, the professors:
1=1ike black students to express their group's viewpoint on issues
2=object to black students discussing a black viewpoint on issues
12.I believe that some professors have been:
l=more supportive and helpful when I have consulted them about
academic problems than they have been to students of other races
2=less supportive and helpful when I have consulted them about
academic problems than they have been to students of other races
3=1 am unsure about answers 1 and 2 of this question
13.In some of my classes I believe that I have:
l=unfairly received lower grades than students of other races on exams
2=unfairly received lower grades than students of other races on
written assignments
3=no reason to believe I have been graded unfairly
14.I have experienced racial tension in:
l=some of my classes
2=in the dormitory
3=at some social events
4=none of my experiences on campus
5=at a campus meeting or school related activity
6=other
15.I have had conversations about racial issues with:
(Cirel al 1 that apply)
l=my black friends on campus
2=my white friends on campus
3=some of my white professors
4=some of my black professors
5=no one since I came to campus
6=a faculty or staff member

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16.I have overheard whites make negative remarks about blacks on campus.
l=yes
2=no
17.When I hear negative remakrs by whites about blacks attending the
university:
1=1 feel angry and upset
2=1 feel sorry for the persons making the remarks
3=1 don't feel anything
4=1 feel more determined to succeed in school
5=1 feel (Be specific)
18.Have you felt that you have been discriminated against because of your
race since you attended the university?
l=yes
2=no
If you answered yes to #18, please describe briefly an experience
when you felt this way:
19.I believe that I can do as well in school as any student at the
university regardless of his or her race.
l=yes
2=no
20.I believe that most whites on campus (professors, staff and students):
l=are glad to have black students attending the university
2=are sorry that blacks are attending the university
3=don't care whether blacks attend the university of not

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SECTION H. ADMINISTRATIVE-STUDENT RELATIONS
University administrators are the personnel who make policy decisions on
how the university is run. For example, administrators develop hiring and
firing policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies, housing
policies, as well as some of those policies affecting what courses are
required for certain majors, what student organizations receive office
space, and how much money students spend on certain university programs.
Policies on grading, acceptance into upper division, are also examples of
the type of decisions made by administrators. Most students have had some
contact with them, though sometimes indirectly, like at registration.
Please try to remember any encounters you have had with administrators,
directly or indirectly, as you answer the following questions.
1.Do you think that university administrators are interested in how
well black students adjust to the campus?
l=yes
2=no
2.Oo you think that university administrators, in general, have made an
effort to make black students feel comfortable on campus?
l=yes
2=no
3.Are you aware of any university policies or regulations that seem to
work a hardship against black students more than other students?
l=yes
2=no
If you answered yes to #3, please state briefly, on the back of this
page, the policy or regulation to which you refer.
4.Do you believe that the university administration:
l=had an interest in blacks when they developed special admission
programs to admit blacks to the university
2=were forced to develop special admissions programs for blacks
because the government began to enforce civil rights laws

251
5. Which of the following things seem to be positive steps that the
university administration should take to assist in the adjustment
of black students? Please check all that apply.
l=hire more black faculty
2=hire more black administrators
3=admit more black students
4=conduct human relations workshops to facilitate understanding
between the two races (this would be for students, faculty, staff)
5=offer more financial aids
6=sponsor more events and activities that include the black culture
7=none of the above
8=(Add something you think would help)

APPENDIX D
PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS IN PILOT STUDY
Social Peer Relations
Blacks won't get together and help each other. "Every man for
himself."
Blacks don't trust each other...due to the fact that there are so
few here.
When they (blacks) come here, they hang around with only their white
friends.
It's a concept: Something black people do in general, you know we
get into the black life and we limit ourselves to the black life in
general, instead of moving out...there is a whole 'nother world outside
of black students at the university. We have got to deal with this
entire university of a full spectrum, and in that sense the fraternity
gave me the enthusiasm.
We had fraternities and sororities fighting...not fighting
physically, but fighting by putting each other down.
The rivalry...yeah it causes dissension.
When I first came...I came from a predominately black school and I
wasn't used to being around white people; it was good to be taken along,
you know, to feel close to something, or someone, in an organization
whether it's a fraternity or some other social club the fraternity did
help.
252

253
It also helped you grow and become more confident in yourself
because you are around people who have the same problems and face the
same thing that you do everyday, and they can help you.
The older members of the group can show you the ropes, whereas, if
you are out by yourself--who's gonna show you the ropes except some white
person who might probably lead you astray or who won't understand exactly
what you are talking about or what you are going through.
Now to a social extent it was real good, but you can't walk out of
here with a social degree, and put that on somebody's desk.
We have really separated the black students who are so diversified
on this campus; we're too small a group to be as diversified as we are...
I really felt bad on occasions when I have seen black students and I
can't mingle with this guy or this girl because I'm a member of this
particular organization.
Perceptions: Black students tend to separate themselves socially
from others on campus. Sometimes black students don't help each other -
and turn to white before other blacks. Blacks fraternities and other
(black) organized groups are very helpful in the socialization process
into campus life.
Studying
It's easier to get together and study with somebody white than
somebody black.
I find that the problem with a lot of black kids that I have had
interactions with is the fact that most black people are loners when it
comes to academics. First of all, no one wants to feel that he had to

254
depend on someone else to cope in the classroom, because first of all, we
all come here under the stigma that we are inferior to our white
counterparts.
I don't think, well I didn't, when I was in high school my study
habits were not what they are now...what I am saying is I wasn't
disciplined enough to sit down and study in a group.
Well, my problem is that due to the fact I am black, and we are "a
minority" some of the blacks will take advantage of the ones that study,
also. Because...1'm in this class now and there's like two certain guys
will not come to class yet when the test comes they come to me and say,
"Hey, listen, you're in the class, give me your notes." And see that
also hinders blacks from studying together.
Yes, other blacks try to take advantage of you. There is really
nothing the university can do to make you study because even in setting
up these study skills seminars and study skill centers, you have got to
have the motivation to even go to the study center; you've got to have
the motivation to go to the study seminars.
Perceptions: Black students feel pressure to perform "on their own;
without help (to study) from others. This is believed to be an attempt
to prove that blacks are not inferior and can make it without help. Some
black students take advantage of others who attend class and pressure
them to share classnotes.
Special Admissions
It did not cultivate any competitiveness...You were used to taking a
test 5 or 10 times, eventually you could get an A. But when you got into

255
upper division, you really weren't aware of how you had to go about
things as far as getting to know professors, "cause you were always in
the study center, or taking a test behind some little cubby hole".
...Those people that basically have those ideas came in the early
part of the special admissions. Now, if you look at special admissions,
today, you will see an entirely different thing, like the peer counselors
are motivating the students; they are telling the students to go talk to
that professor; don't wait til the last day to drop a class officially,
or go talk to him about a "D" you may have or a midterm or something.
They always have the option to take the regular courses and stay in
the program. Right, they have the option and some people want good
GPA's, okay. We all stress that GPA's mean a lot, which they do. And
some people try to stay on this program as a crutch and they really don't
get out there arid learn, but we have been breaking away from that, and a
lot of students are becoming angry, but it's for their own benefit that
they are getting out there.
Well, one of the best things about the program is that half the
black kids wouldn't be here without it.
Perceptions: The Special Admissions Program has improved over the
years, and is an important service for black students. Peer counselors
play an important role in the special admissions program, especially in
helping the students break away and begin the more traditional courses
and to use the university resources.

256
Academic Advising
The first academic advisor I had when I first came, (my first
quarter) turned me off from counselors because he didn't have anything
really to offer me; I guess I was just another number, another face, and
he just said "Well, these are the courses you have to take," and that's
it! You know, without looking at my high school transcript, and really
saying what I should take and stuff like that. (I already knew, had in
mind what I wanted to take so I really didn't have a need for a
counselor) but then...the next day, I guess I was lucky I got a black
counselor. A black woman who happened to be in at the time so I went and
talked to her and she was more she listened more to what I had to say and
I think she did give me more advice. I went back the next day, she
wasn't there and there was no other blacks so I still figure it would be
a waste of my time to go to a white counselor I don't think they are
very sensitive to blacks they don't look at their potential.
The university college, the main problem they need to deal with is
to give you an advisor that knows something about the area you are going
into. Dr. L. says what do you want to major in. I said political
science, and I don't like business at all, but if you want to know some
figures on astronomy...I never went through an advisor again. And I
screwed my own self in the process, and at the same time, it was his
fault.
I think the point he made about more students facing the advising
problem is true, sure I think the white student is not like the average
black student, and it hurst us more...See cause they can always go and
call back home and ask their parents. I have a white roommate who said,

257
"Well Pop, what should I do?" And Pop said, "Take Dr. Barthey, 'cause he
was there when I was there." The only thing I can call back on is to
find some relatives who live the town and ask how did they clean floors
back there That's the best we can do.
Okay, I never had an academic advisor, and I'm a SAS, yet my GPS
isn't messed up. I do my best to get to know all my teachers, and I go
to them for help. Yet I found a problem that when I tried to go to a
teacher the blacks label me, well, as the teacher's pet I want to be
with the white folks, that kind of stuff Blacks, you know, that's what
hinders a lot of people from getting academic advising, also.
I didn't go to my teachers the first two quarters I was here for the
same reason. 'Cause all the blacks say, "don't do that", "you know you
go talk to the white teacher begging for points...you just don't do that.
Don't you have more pride?"
Perceptions: Academic advising is in poor shape, and many faculty
are not helpful in this process; in fact many are inequipped to handle
it. Some black students do not visit professor for advice because they
are viewed by their black peers as begging for points, or trying to.
Faculty/Classroom
The attitude of professors to keep you from going to see them.
Like I know a black professor here in biology and she you know she
used to get made with me...because she said the white kids were always
trying to get her brains you know but we would never come. Why?
But see you have to be willing to overlook their nastiness and try
to get their work: I had a class a history class last quarter and the

258
man told me straight out he say listen I had Jewish students last quarter
and they proved to me they could write, now I'm gonna see if you can
write for my test.
I was the only black in there, I mean who was he talking to really?
Because he refused to say well Cubans couldn't write until they proved it
to me last quarter, now I'm gonna get the blacks to prove it to me,
too...I didn't fail the test, but I asked him if he was satisfied, he
said, my, you're very phenomenal aren't you," you know, that kind of
stuff.
I had the personal experience when a class professor said no "A's",
most of my class get "C's" or "B's" so therefore you are in the "E"
bracket...If you can't catch my grad asst, do not come to me, things like
that. I have to ask questions in class, the man said, I'm sorry you
can't ask questions in my class. Yes because I don't have time; and he's
never in his office.
A lot of professors they are just they have this class image they
portray you know as being very nasty and when you go and try to really
talk to them they are really trying to help you, especially sometimes if
you are black.
Now they I have had some to say you know you niggers ain't getting
no more than a "C" no matter what you do. I have had one that told me
when I was a sophomore he said, "Well, I look at it like this. I don't
think there is no blacks that can make an "A" or "B" in this class, so I
don't care how smart he is so you gonna get a "C"; but then again I think
you been dealt a double blow in the past so you see if you come to class
everyday you get a "C".

259
Something that I have found that at times has really been a sort of
nagging situation is the text might cover something relative to black or
cultural or something like this, and a professor will say well do you
find this to be true. Everybody's looking and waiting. What do you do
in those situations?
Perceptions: Some black students have experienced the prejudice of
professors in the classroom. Some black students' comfortableness
depends on the extent of their experience with whites prior to attending
the university. Some black students feel pressured in the classroom to
speak for all black people when black issues are discussed. Some black
students have been told by professors that they can only earn certain
grades.
Adjusting to Black/White Situation
Well like he said he came from a predominately black school right -
so I think most people like I you know a couple of people who went to
mostly white schools since they were in seventh grade. That's what
happens to me, so it wasn't that much of a shcok because I was used to
being the only black in a lot of classes. So I think it probably
affected the people who had been to those predominately black schools a
lot. In high school I would be the only black in a class of two hundred.
I was used to being a regular minority but here I was you know the only
black like in a class of two hundred and he said this isn't all the
class and I went "WOW".
I think something that helped me adjust to a large extent, there it
was no piece of cake but it was ROTC here on campus. It was like I had

260
been accepted by a large institutional, smaller institutional government
and it was just something it might not have been true but I felt like
well if I am hooked up with the government cracks might not hasten be so
ready to put me off campus, and it helped me financially and it helped me
in a lot of other ways as far as speeches and stuff like this in
different courses.
I am also an ROTC major and by the mere fact that you are around so
many white people it helps you more because those are the people you will
have to deal with later on and it's best that you learn this stuff now.
I chose not to got to a black school because I had already been to a
lot of black schools all my life you know and I figured that, since I am
going to be in a white world and be living and working among them, it's
best that I learn their ways and how to get over with them, you know this
type thing.
I would just like to agree with him because like that's the reason
why I came here cause I was supposed to go to a predominately black
school and I felt like I said, well once I graduate and get into my
career you know I'm gonna have to deal with more white people than black
people so why don't I just go to school with them and mingle with them.
Perceptions: Black students with attended integrated high schools
had easier time adjusting than blacks who attended predominately black
high schools.

261
Family Influence
Well the only thing they tell me is that they are giving me the
incentive to continue and get out of here and just going motivation to
say well do this because you want to get out and get a job.
It's important to know that your family is behind you for moral
support and financially too. Most of the parents aren't even high school
grads you know so like there are a lot of things that white students are
used to hearing from their parents or being aided in we can't be aided in
because our parents have no awareness, so all they can do like my mother
you know she is always on my she's not on my back but she is always being
persistent you know in saying that it is very important that you do have
the piece of paper and that's about all they can say you know. As far as
being like giving you practical help like schedules, they can't help you
in that way, which is unfortunate but that's the way it is.
For one thing, I am not the oldest, I am the third oldest and like I
have one brother in prison and one brother who don't know what he wants
to do. He went to a junior college but he didn't get and AA, and so all
of it falls on me as the next oldest in line to set up a pattern for my
brothers and sisters to follow.
I have an opportunity to have well I have a mother and a father who
well I guess the primary motivator in my life is probably my father and I
guess they think I am the oldest, I am setting you know and I get this
lecture you know (Idon't know how many people get it) but it's Lord,
every break I get a lecture and you know on how much I have to prove to
the little ones I can succeed.

262
Well, I'm the third, I'm the baby like my oldest sister she and now
she's married, she has a four bedroom house and she is doing really well
and then the sister my next oldest sister is, she went to the job corp
and she took sales management and then she decided she didn't like that
sales management so now she is doing well so I'm sort of like the one who
can't break the chain.
My background is that I have one of these grandfather and
grandmothers who are very hard on morals and values in school and that
kind of stuff and whenever I go to Alabama they always saying Gwen you
haven't done anything wrong yet you know that kind of stuff and they
always say well a girl should be number one a lady, she should go to
school, get good grades, don't get married, until she finishes college
and like have a career.
Perceptions: The families of many black students are very
supportive of education, in a moral and financial sense. Many students
feel that their parents' limited education (H.S. ed.) prevent them from
providing the support they sometime need while in school. Parents do not
understand what they are experiencing, it's hard to explain, and
therefore students are left on their own or must find support from other
sources.

REFERENCE NOTES
1. Goodrich, A. "A call for new strategies on the use of data in minor
ity enrollment, distribution, retention and graduation rates of
minority students in predominately white colleges". Paper presented
at the First National Think Tank on Blanks in Predominately White
Colleges and Universities, University of Maryland, College Park,
September, 1976.
2. Hazeur, F.B. Symposium on "Dealing with types of test biases when
black students are concerned"The transition from high school to
college: How do we bridge the gap? Paper presented at the American
Personnel and Guidance Association Meeting, February, 1973, San Diego
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. Ed 080918).
3. Taylor, J.E. Black students' perceptions of their academic problems
at the University of Florida. Unpublished study completed in 1976.
Copies available at Office for Student Services, 129 Tigert Hall,
University of Florida, 32611.
263

REFERENCES
Allport, G.W. The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
On September, 1946, Joyce Taylor Gibson was born in Yazoo City,
Mississippi. She received her B.S. from Howard University in 1967, and
her M.A. from George Washington University in 1969. She has worked in
higher education since 1969 and is currently the Dean of Students at
Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
269

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
mm
£
i jnan
Mines L. Wattenbarger, Chai
'rofessor of Educational Administration
and Supervision
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Thomas W. Cole, Sr.
Professor of Educational
and Supervision
Administrati on
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Elizabeth M. Eddy
Professor of Anthropology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department
of Educational Administration and Supervision in the College of Education
and to the Graduate School, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1983
Dean for Graduate Studies and Research



86
Summary
The students' understanding of the purpose of the Special Admissions
Program varies from one to another. One of the four admitted under the
Program knew nothing about it and did not participate in it in any way.
Two of the other three admitted under the SAP had mixed and sometimes
negative attitudes about it. Nonetheless, they believed it was helpful,
but somehow felt there was a stigma attached to it by their peers and
others at the University. Only one student had a decidely positive
attitude about Special Admissions, enjoyed the small classes and seemed
to understand more about the program than the others. The older student
was inadvertently enrolled in two Special Admission courses, and accepted
them without attaching a stigma to them. He was grateful to have a
chance to review his math and writing skills since he had not been in a
school setting for some time.
Orientation, Advising, and Registration
At Orange State University (OSU) the orientation to the university
is planned by the University College in conjunction with the Student
Affairs Division. The University College personnel are primarily respon
sible for the students introduction to the academic milieu; faculty
advising registration, peer advising, and other activities related to
attending classes. The student affairs personnel are primarily respon
sible for introducing students to the university as a community which
offers resources for survival. These personnel offer students informa
tion about campus activities and campus resources, such as the counseling


APPENDICES
A SIGNATURE POSTCARD FOR PARTICIPATION IN STUDY 230
B INTERVIEW GUIDE 231
C FRESHMAN ADAPTATION QUESTIONNAIRE 233
D PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS IN PILOT STUDY 252
REFERENCE NOTES 263
REFERENCES 264
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 24fi
v


Data Analysis
Continuous Phase
In anthropology, data collection is not separate from data analysis.
Kimball and Burnett (1973) express the point of view as follows:
...as always, data collection and analysis, substantive
conclusions, and problem formulation, and expansion of
conceptual tools were all intimately connected, (p. 49)
The data in this study were analyzed as they were collected. A
continuous review of information was conducted as it was collected,
especially from the interviews and the participant observation. These
data were then compared to the data from the questionnaire. As a more
complete picture of each student evolved from week to week, individual
personal experiences were compared and reviewed. The difference in data
collected from each student were reviewed, and special attention was
given to student perceptions, about similar events, and their reactions
to common variables in their environment, i.e., faculty, the registration
process, examinations and the like.
The perceptions and collective perspectives of the students evolved
as the analysis occurred and are reflected in the findings reported in
Chapter II and in the analysis presented in Chapter IV. In this latter
chapter specific student perspectives on peer relationships, academic
performance, and university officials are described in the sections
entitled "Make New Friends, But Keep the Old," "If I Study More, My
Grades Will Improve," and "I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students".
A comparative analysis was also made of the data pertaining to
students' behaviors in small groups and social systems. Data were
collected in which students described their relationships within groups


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Overview
Since the advent of equal educational opportunity in higher educa
tion, research on minorities in this setting has been voluminous. Most
research has been about the black minority student (Bayer, 1972, Nieves,
1977) and has emphasized admissions procedures, compensatory education
programs, and various problems of black and white student interaction.
Although these topics are important, and to some degree influence a
student's perceptions and behavior, the focus here is limited to how
black freshmen adapt to everday life in their new campus environments.
This review was also limited to studies at four year institutions. In
this chapter, the reader will find
(a) A review of current characteristics and problems of black
students who attend predominately white institutions, including
a special study on blacks attending a southern university,
(b) Descriptions of studies that reveal behavior patterns and
adaptive modes exhibited by black students on predominately
white campuses and how students develop perspectives to handle
problems they encounter,
(c) A summary of the historical and current response of predomi
nately white institutional personnel to black students, and
19


161
Table 4-3
I. Reasons for Attending OSU
Stated Reasons
Butch
Janice
Cl aire
Yvette
Gordon
1. Reputation of OSU
X
X
X
X
X
2. Friends/Relatives
attending
X
X
3. Specific Academic
Program
X
4. Climate
X
5. Less expensive than
out-of-state schools
X
X
6. Close to home
X
X
7. Best school where I can
get along with others
X
II. Reasons for Attending Winter Term
Butch
Janice
Cl ai re
Yvette
Gordon
1. Expecting child
X
2. Applied too late
for fal1 quarter
X
3. Military papers delayed
X
4. Uncertain whether to
attend school of to
work full time*
X
5. Wanted to work before
attending school
X
Dilemma precipitated by sudden death of mother after high school
graduation.


137
When asked what changes she would make for her second term, Claire
replied that she planned to do more stuyding. At the end of her second
term, she was convinced that she had really studied more than she did her'
first term.
Yes. Yes, I go to the library quite often. I usually study
every day and most of the time I go down to the library,
even if I'm in the room by myself, like last night. I was
sitting up here to study, but I couldn't. I just couldn't
study up here. I couldn't concentrate at all like down at
the library cause I sat up here about thirty minutes and I
just couldn't get started. So I went down to the library.
So I feel I'm more relaxed.
Claire projected that she would get more B's her second term and was
very pleased with herself when she learned of her grades. At the end of
the term she had learned that she had earned two B's, one C, and two S's.
Janice
Classroom interaction. Janice felt that most of her classes were
interesting, but was somewhat uncomfortable in some of them. She did not
have a favorite class either term, but did enjoy some more than others.
For example, she reported that though she did not like to write, she
enjoyed her English class during first term and found that she partici
pated in that class more than others that term. When asked why her par
ticipation was high in English, she was not certain, but guessed that it
was because the class was smaller than the others she was enrolled in.
Janice stated that she did not participate in her classes often, but she
felt comfortable whenever she did.
She did not interact often with professors, in or out of class, and
preferred to visit with a professor after class if she misunderstood
something during class. She was also more inclined to seek help from


214
unique qualities which the others did not possess. First, a description
of these students: They were female, one from a small rural community,
the other from a large urban community; both graduated from integrated
high schools--the rural predominately white, the urban originally pre
dominately white, but by her graduation was over 50 percent black. Each
had better than average high school academic records, and were very
active in extracurricular activities with their black and white peers.
They were confident in their ability to succeed in college, were strongly
supported by families who preferred their attendance at OSU as opposed to
the predominately black school in the state.
Each student also experienced positive receptions from their black
and white hallmates, and belonged to friendship groups of blacks and
whites. Though each was most comfortable with her black peers, each was
also very comfortable in her white relationships. These females also
belonged to study groups and were the only students in the study earning
above average grades at OSU. They were more positive about the Special
Admissions Program than the other students and believed that it was help
ful to black students. The single most distinguishing characteristics
that separated these students from the others was the fact that they had
friends at OSU prior to their attendance. This meant that these students
had one strong peer contacts and one strong administrative contact (the
admissions officer) prior to attending the university. These friends
were students who were adjusted to OSU, and who were very supportive of
them as new freshmen. They were successful role models who were adjust
ing and coping academically and socially in the same environment. These
models helped these students attain a more realistic picture of what to
expect in college--a guide was missing for the others.


173
his black friend moving out of the dorm second term and his uncles.
Since his arrival at OSU, he was teased and harrassed by his black peers
(from home) who could not understand why he chose to attend a white
school. The teasing affected him and he complained of it to the
researcher on several occasions. He was even accused of "acting white"
on one occasion and felt helpless to defend himself in those circum
stances. These teasings made him feel more isolated the second term, a
feeling which was aggravated by the fact that the only other black
student in the dormitory, his friend Sam, moved off campus. He felt more
isolated than ever before, especially since he rarely socialized with
black peers on campus. Finally, his uncle's pressure on him to avoid
whites socially was affecting him as he attempted to understand what had
changed the social milieu in his dormitory after one term.
To summarize, the social adjustment of the five freshmen was very
much influenced by their black peers from home, and their new black and
white peers they met after arriving on campus. The black peer relation
ships from home appeared to be stronger and affected the black freshmen
in positive and negative ways. The influence of their white peers on
campus for the five freshmen was positive for the first term. This posi
tive influence only prevailed for the two female students through the
spring term. It is interesting to note that the two who sustained posi
tive relationships with their white peers, sustained positive relation
ships with their black peers, at home and at school, as well. They also
had the most experiences of all the freshmen with white peers prior to
their attendance, and had friends already in attendance before they
entered the university. It is the opinion and attitude of peers, posi
tive and negative, which influenced the adjustment of students on campus.


184
The students' adjustment was also heavily influenced by the expecta
tions and perspectives they held when they arrived, and at any given time
during the period of study. Added to what they brought were the experi
ences they encountered with personnel and practices inside the university
community.
Individual Characteristics of Students
The personalities and unique characteristics of each student deter
mined how they perceived their adjustment and influenced their total out
look on their lives. Personality was not studied in this research, but
it is safe to assume that the students' personalities were influenced by
their respective families and environments.
Characteristics and personality also influenced the experiences they
each encountered in their lives before and after entering OSU. There
were too little data about the personality of each student to determine
any significant differences in their personalities prior to attending
OSU. For example, it was difficult to determine whether Butch's optimism
about any new venture was akin to the excitement and hope he anticipated
on his entrance to OSU. Equally difficult was an analysis of exactly why
he became so depressed and frustrated when he perceived changes in the
behavior of his peers in the second term. Another study on personality
and the relation to behavior might generate more interesting data on the
topic. This aspect of influence on perceptions must be cited even though
it was not measurable in this study.


139
Study habits and grades. Janice described her high school study
habits as excellent. She established a study schedule and followed it
regularly. After the first few weeks at OSU, she reported that her study
habits seemed adequate. She estimated that she studied between 21 and 30
hours during the week, and about 11 hours on the weekend. She studied
best alone in the dormitory library, and preferred doing her homework on
a regular basis, instead of cram studying.
Towards the end of the first term, Janice thought her study habits
had improved. She also projected that she would get the following
grades:
English, 8. I don't know about PE and I guess a C, I think
a B in social science, and in BES I'm hoping for a C. I
don't know about PE, though. I could get a D. I might fail
it! I could get a B out of BES if I aced it. But I doubt
that. I don't think I aced it. So with the curve, maybe
I can get a B. But I don't knowI'm shooting for a C,
definitely.
Three of Janice's professors gave students the option to take their
final exams earlier than they were originally scheduled. Janice wanted
to leave early for school vacation between the terms, so she chose to
take her exams the earlier dates. She thought the social science and
behavioral studies exams were difficult, and was surprised that she had a
written exam in physical education.
Janice earned three C's, and failed her behavioral science course.
She described these as terrible grades and was very depressed about her
performance:
I'm taking it over this term. I should have talked to
the teacher, I guess. That's what everybody says. I didn't
talk to any of my teachers. I'm not really that close to
them. I could have got a B out of the class, if I talked
with them.


27
with faculty than do males. Yet the females report the contact as pri
marily negative and discriminatory. Of those males who were in contact
with faculty, 37 percent as contrasted with 46 percent of the females
described faculty contact as negative (p. 18).
Strader, Brooks and Sedlesack (1974) also confirmed a higher percent
age of black females as having interaction with faculty than did males.
Host of the students have never attended any other college. Sixty-
nine percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study had never attended
other colleges. Of those students who had attended other institutions,
over half were enrolled in public community colleges. Sixty-eight percent
had considered attending black colleges, which to date have been suffering
declining enrollment due in part to the increase in blacks in tradition
ally white institutions.
Black students still tend to major in traditional areas such as
social sciences. Despite a national trend in job opportunities away from
the social sciences and education, and towards the business and technical
fields, the majority of black students major in the social sciences or
education. Twenty-eight percent of the students in Boyd's (1974) study
were majoring in the social sciences, 15 percent in education, and 15
percent in business (p. 9).
Drifting towards fields other than education seemed to be character
istic of all students, according to Bayer's 1972 freshmen study. Black
students were more likely to major in business, the social sciences,
education, and the health fields, while non-black students tended to
major in the physical sciences, engineering, and the biological sciences.


155
described in the literature review. These similarities and differences
are described below.
Similarities
The 1978 freshmen were in the lower socio-economic status as were
other black students in the literature review; their primary financial
aid came from federal sources--four had the combination package of grant
loan, and work study, and the fifth had his education subsidized by the
G.I. Bill.l They were poor, the majority were urban, and all but one
were the first in their immediate families to attend a four-year institu
tion of higher education (see Table 1). Family support of their college
attendance was strong, and at least one parent of all the students had
completed a high school education. Some parents had taken courses in
college, but none had completed degrees beyond high school.
These freshmen had performed well academically in high school, and
were confident in their abilities to succeed in college. Also like black
students in other studies, the majority of these freshmen rarely sought
assistance from academic sources available to them, even when they knew
of the services and believed they needed assistance. The older freshman
was the exceptionhe actively sought assistance both terms to help
prepare him for his coursework.
1 The practice at OSU was to avoid having first year students work if at
all possible. None of the four resident students had to work their
first two terms.


136
Study habits and grades. According to Claire, her high school study
habits were fair. During her first term at OSU, she described them as
inadequate. She estimated that she studied 11-20 hours a week, and up to
five hours on the weekends. She studied alone most of the time, and
found that she studied best in the dormitory library. She discovered
that there were too many interruptions, such as phone calls and people
dropping by, for her to concentrate well in her room her first term. She
began studying in the dorm library toward the end of the first term, and
spent the majority of her study time there her second term.
Claire often studied with Yvette, a member of a foursome she was a
part of in her English, Social Science and English Lab classes. They
often consulted each other on homework assignments, and studied with the
other group members, as well. She described how the group was estab-
1ished.
Yvette knew Bob. I doubt if they planned their classes or
anything together. But me, the four of us have these three
classes. ... It was just a coincidence. We did not plan
on anything, cause at the time I didn't know any of them.
Sometimes we study together, and (sometimes) we just laugh
and joke and stuff like that.
After the first term, Claire thought her study habits had improved. She
had projected that she would make 2 B's and 2 C's for the first term, but
she learned that she made all C's. She reacted to her grades this way:
Oh, they were OKthey could have been better. I got all
C's. . I know I could have done a lot better, cause a
lot of times I didn't study. I'm kind of proud of myself.
I mean, this is my first quarter. If I make up my mind
before this quarter (next quarter), maybe I'll get a 3.0!
Claire added that she received the grades she deserved, considering that
it was her first term and the time that she studied.


42
Among the 9 students from professional and 18 from white-
collar families, one-third of each group developed the
affirmative mode. One (1) of the 11 working-class students
(9 percent) was in this category, and one of the 3 students from
the lower-class developed this pattern. Seven of the 21
students who attended integrated high schools and 3 of the
20 from predominately black schools demonstrated the affirm
ative mode.
Gibbs found (as did Pettigrew) that a majority of the population
chose the withdrawal mode for coping. Those choosing this mode also had
predominate feelings of inadequacy. Recognizing such behavioral patterns
in a student population could be critical to understanding them, and to
trying to effect change to enhance their matriculation.
Chester Hunt (1975), a sociologist, also identified three patterns
by which black students adapt to white campuses and constructed a typo
logy based on these patterns. He approached black student group adjust
ments from the perspective of the university and its response to the
student demands, which varied and often seemed extreme. The three cate
gories the separationists, the cultural pluralists, and the integration-
ists. Hunt defined these as follows:
1. Integrationist--those persons wishing to erase any reference
to ethnic identity.
2. Separatist--those persons wishing to remove themselves as far
as possible from any association with other groups.
3. Cultural piuralist--those persons wishing to preserve ethnic
identity and to function to a considerable extent within their


177
University Reception of the Students
The University's reception of the freshmen was a very important set
of events which had a great impact on their adjustment. The University's
reception is defined simply by its acceptance of the students through its
personnel and procedures. How the students felt when they encountered
new experiences and people in its environment determined its effective
ness.
The tone was initially set for the freshmen by a very friendly,
reassuring black admissions officer whom the new freshmen respected and
trusted. An equally friendly reception from housing personnel, room
mates, professors, classmates, and administrators played an important
role in determining how the new students adjusted. In Table 4, there is
a list of people who positively influenced the students' adaptation to
the university on their arrival. The initial reception was overwhelm
ingly positive for the four freshmen who lived on campus. The students
encountered no rude, hostile, racially prejudiced people on their first
visits to campus nor when they first arrived to move into housing. Some
of this positiveness was due directly to the freshmen's positive atti
tude, as wel1.
There were some events which had the potential for creating diffi
culties, but were handled sensitively to avoid problems. One of these
events was the change in housing assignment which Butch and Janice
learned about after arriving on campus. Janice had an extra roommate,
as did Butch, who was also assigned to a different dormitory than he
requested. These events were handled quite well by the housing staff,


201
situations well with them as much as she was with her black peers. Her
strong, assertive personality, her balanced bicultural socialization, and
her interest in learning about others, identified her as operating
solidly in Gibbs' (1974) mode of affirmation.
Yvette's best friends were identified as black and white. Her boy
friend was a stabilizing influence for her and confirmed her roots in the
black community at OSU and at home, as did her black peers. She admitted
being more comfortabe in a living situation with a black roommate who
could understand her lifestyle better than whites, yet on a floor of pre
dominately white residents she was the only person who was accepted by
social groups on both sides of the elevator the social dividing point
which was observed by all the residents.
Her identity with her community was strong and sure, and this made
it much easier to reach out and risk new experiences. Yvette's lifestyle
and adjustment to the university is a good example of Valentine's (1971)
dual socialization theory. Perhaps more than that, Yvette had experi
ences with whites and had already been initiated, more fully than others
in the study, in a predominately white society.
Claire. Claire's lifestyle and dominant culture were definitely
black. Her rural family life did not lend itself to close interactions
with whites until she entered high school, where whites were in the
majority. She was active in extracurricular activities, yet had no white
friends before attending OSU. She had some positive and negative experi
ences with whites in high school, yet had developed effective communica
tion with them, and remained open to new experiences. Her dual socializ
ation was stronger in her dominant culture, and was fair in the main
stream. She did not expect to socialize on the level she did with whites


69
Special Admission Program for the winter school term. He and his family
were very happy about his acceptance to State Orange University. Butch
reported that his friends had mixed feelings about his acceptance; some
were excited for him, and others just couldn't understand why he wanted
to go to a "white school".
Despite his lifelong dream of attending OSU, Butch was somewhat
relieved that he did not have to attend until January. When questioned
about his feelings, Butch admitted that he was uncertain about whether he
should be working, or attending school. So he worked from August to
December, as a dishwasher in a restaurant. This experience convinced him
that an education would guarantee him a better job, and reinforced his
interests in attending the university. He spent the Christmas holidays
preceding his attendance with his uncle (the college graduate) and his
family in Washington, D.C. This visit also reinforced his interests in
attending college, and he felt much better about attending school in
January.
And, like I went up to Washington for Christmas. And when I
went up there my uncle, the one that went to school, he just
kept insisting for me to go to school, go to school, go to
school. So, now I'm in. And so far it's been all right.
And I feel like, you know, as of right now, there's nothing
that would keep me from graduating.
Janice
Family history. Janice is the oldest of three children born to a
family that has resided in the southern part of the state for the last
twelve (12) years. She was born and raised in an urban city of 25,000
people only 25 miles from the third largest city in the state. Janice


82
were on the special program, (3) that the special admissions program was
for slow students, (4) that the program was designed to give more
individual attention to students, and (5) that the only way to be
recognized as completing regular courses was to get off the program.
Butch obviously had mixed feelings about the program. He realized
that the program was helpful to students like him, but he emphatically
stated that he did not consider himself a slow student. Adding to his
confusion were comments from some of his professors who told him that
there was no real difference between regular and special admissions
classes.
He said, so far there's no difference in it you know--being
in special admissions class and a regular class. So I say
that if I feel I can do the special admissions (work) and he
says there's no difference, then I mean I'm quite sure I
could do it in a regular class.
Towards the end of the first term, Butch began to think a little
differently about the special admissions program. He reported that the
pace was so fast in the classes, that few studens had time to take
advantage of the special grading process. (This process involved the
student re-taking an exam a second or third time on the same material if
the first score was unsatisfactory. A different exam, covering the same
content was administered.) Much of the problem with re-takes, he
explained, was that the student still had to maintain reading assignments
and other homework on new class material, while trying to study for a
re-take.
The other incident that influenced Butch's thinking about the SAP
involved one of his white hallmates. The hallmate asked Butch for
assistance with his homework after learning that Butch was in the same
class at a different time. On assisting his friend, Butch learned that


122
problems; attended church with her, and helped her whenever she needed
it. Tina and Janice shared daily experiences and became closer friends
than they had been when they were in high school. Janice was not very
active socially and usually went out at Tina's suggestion.
I just don't like getting involved socially. Even when I
was home I never went out with anybody. . I've had a
couple of dates but I wasn't interested.
Janice spent much of her time on the telephone with her family and
boyfriend both terms in school. The first few weeks of her first term in
school she called home every night and incurred a large telephone bill.
She and her family are very close and kept in touch often by calling and
writing. Also during her first term, she was visited on separate
occasions by her father, her boyfriend and her son, who was brought by
her mother and sister. It appeared that Janice's closest black friend at
home was her fiancee, whom she had dated several years; and to whom she
became engaged during the second term.
Janice spent more time at OSU with her black peers than her white
peers. Both of her roommates were black, and she spent much of her time
outside of class in the dorm with Tina and one of her roommates. The
campus events she attended were usually sponsored by black organizations.
Though most of her life evolved around her black peers, during one of the
interviews about her social life Janice described her best friends on
campus as black--on the questionnaire she checked both black and white as
best friends. Another mixed message was recorded after Janice spent a
weekend with a black friend who attended the predominately black
institution in the state. After that weekend she experienced interest in
transferring to the black school. She learned that a large number of her


187
Janice
Janice's activities, almost always with a group of females, were
with her black friends in the dormitory or her roommates. With her new
best friend, Tina, she attended dances sponsored by the black fraterni
ties and sororities, religious "soul" talk sessions held in the dormi
tory, and an occasional concert. Janice spent much of her time on the
telephone. She called home once a week, and received calls from her boy
friend sometimes several times a week. This activity was reduced some
what during her second term because the long distance bills were getting
expensive. She spent most of her time in her dormitory, and was not used
to socializing very much on campus or off. Her social life remained
about the same both terms even though she became engaged to be married
during the second term. Her fiance still lived in her home town, and
they planned to marry after her graduation.
Yvette
Yvette's activities centered around single dating her boyfriend, and
socializing with her hallmates, black and white alike, which included
cooking, talking, exercising. She also attended parties and concerts
on occasion, but believed the university lacked many social activities
which related to her lifestyle. She was gregarious and was a popular
student in the dormitory.


no
A second incident occurred when Janice was sick with the flu. She des
cribed how she received additional attention from her roommates and close
friends, and was again caught by surprise when her white hallmates were
concerned:
And then ... I passed two other friends as I was going to
class Wednesday. They said, "Why aren't you in bed?" I
said, "I got a test tomorrow and I got to go to a review."
She said, "Well you get in and get out as quick as possible.
And this was a white girl!".
Janice experienced these isolated interactions with white students,
but did not have on-going friendships with them, depsite her reference to
them as friends.
She claimed that she was not uncomfortable around whites, just more
comfortable around blacks:
I'd just feel better around black people. I'd just hang
around many more friends, I don't know. ... I really don't
have no white friends here. I speak to them in the hallways
of the dorm--that's as far as that goes. As far as getting
together to talk, it doesn't happen.
Summary. Janice's social life both semesters revolved around her
black friend Tina, telephone calls and occasional visits from her boy
friend and family who were in her hometown. Since her roommates were
also black, and she was more comfortable around blacks, there was little
incentive to interact with whites. In addition, her friends at home were
black, and she was not used to relating to whites.
The little interaction she experienced with white peers was casual-
-speaking to floormates in passing, in the dormitory or on the campus.
Some of the racial tension Janice experienced was in a vicarious way,
through her friend Tina. She did, however cite some examples of racial
tension in the dormitory which she experienced firsthand. Janice did not
believe that her white peers really noticed her and was surprised when on


124
Claire and her cousin, who owned a car, went home on weekends not only to
visit their parents and friends, but also to attend social activities.
Claire called or wrote home every week, and derived much support
from this contact with her family. When she visited home, she noted that
her female relatives were more interested in her social life than her
academic life. She did not engage in single dating very much, mainly
because she did not feel she had enough choice in the black male popula
tion at OSU. She was one of the four students who belonged to a small
group established in her English class. She was good friends with the
other female, Yvette, and had positive relationships with the males who
were also black.
Not all of Claire's interactions with black students were positive.
She described what she thought was surprising and puzzling:
I find that a lot of blacks on this campus will pass by you
and won't speak, you know. Even if they don't know you, I
mean, even if some of them don't know you, some of them
could just turn their heads or something. And I find that a
lot of whites--they don't have to know you to speak.
Claire's social life decreased her second term in school. She
went to fewer parties and activities outside the dormitory, and went home
less often, too. She attributed this to the increase in her study
habits. She also spent less time cooking and watching TV, but reported
that she and her friends still got together to talk in the evenings in
the dormitory. She was not unhappy about the decrease in her social
life, and she thought the time put into her studies paid off.
Summary. Claire's black peers included her cousin, other new black
coeds, as well as her friends back home. Her social life with her black
peers on campus was facilitated by her cousin who was an upperclassman
and the group outings she had wth her black female friends.


172
While these freshmen experienced basically positive relatinships
with their black and white peers both terms, the others did not. Janice,
whose roommates and best friend were black, and whose greatest attendance
was at social events sponsored by black groups, reported experiencing
racial tension in her dormitory and on a couple of occasions off campus.
She cited her greatest social problem as not having enough social events
on campus that related to her lifestyle, and that her social life had
decreased since attending at OSU. Despite these variables, Janice
reported that her social life at OSU was generally satisfactory and that
she found more than enough interesting things to do and enjoy around
campus.
It appeared that her expectations were low for social life on
campus, therefore whatever happened would not be disappointing. Other
factors which inadvertently affected Janice's social life both terms
were: (1) her long distance relationship with her boyfriend to whom she
became engaged during the second term, (2) the heavy influence her best
friend had on her experience at OSU, (her friend had more negative
experiences with whites than Janice and steered her into black social
circles and out of contact wHh whites. Janice never experienced racial
tension or negative racial experiences alone--they were always with her
friend, Tina), and (3) her homesickness. Janice's family ties were
close, and she regularly spoke of missing her family.
Butch, whose roommates were white and hispanic, responded that his
best friends were black. Though his interaction with whites decreased in
his second term, he stated that his social life remained about the same
as it was before attending OSU. The change in Butch's social life from
the first to the second term was influenced by his black peers at home,


127
His only other direct contact with blacks was his relationship with
his teenaged Little Brother. Because Gordon had made a decision to
establish new relationships,, and to become more involved in social life,
he expressed interest in joining a black fraternity group, working with
the staff at the Afro-American Cultural Center--activities which by their
nature would involve his black peers.
Summary. Gordon's strongest relations were also back home with his
peers. Since he was a loner, his ties with black campus peers were
casual. On occassion he would interact more deliberately with persons he
knew, but he was usually the only black in his classes, and his work
prevented social interaction with anyone outside of classes.
Summary: Black-Black Peer Relations
Make new friends, but keep the old is a cliche which aptly described
the peer relationships of the student in this study. They had strong
ties with black peers at home which influenced their behavior on campus
with the new friends they made, whether with other blacks or whites. As
a group, the students seem to participate more with peer groups in social
events in their home communities, than with peer relationships in their
new environment. Only one student, Janice, actually established strong
black peer relationships after entering OSU.
The male students did not make time for peer relationships with
blacks on the campus, although one had interacted closely with one black
student early in the first term. Toward the end of the second term, he
and one female student were considering transferring to the predominately
black school in the state.


179
and the new students were satisfied with the changes. The students were
expecting positive receptions and were open to positive overtures.
Unlike the four on-campus freshmen, Gordon's first news on his
arrival to the university was that all of the necessary military papers
had not been received by the admissions office to process his applica
tion, even though he had been accepted for entrance in the fall term.
Gordon's plans to enter fall term were deferred, and thus began his first
encounter at the university. Though it appeared that the delay was not
caused by the university, the first experience was negative because of
this news. It was unfortunate for Gordon to have his entrance delayed
because he already questioned his readiness to perform well, and the
delay increased his anxiety and provided a poor beginning to what he
believed was an uncertain journey.
His first term bore out his suspicions about his need for assis
tance, and some remediation in math and writing. Many of his experiences
on campus the first term were negative, beginning with his session with
an academic advisor who counseled him into advanced courses because he
was a veteran, and older than the regular freshmen. His father died
about the middle of the term, he went home for the funeral, and he con
sequently fell behind in his courses, missing many classes, and exams.
The most positive reception from the university for him was the time
and assistance he received from an English professor, and the staff of
the lab in the Special Admissions Program. He did have some favorable
interaction with some of his classmates, and took advantage of activities
and services offered by the institution. For example, his initial recep
tion at the Veteran's Affairs office was positive, as was the reception
at the Student Union where he ate breakfast and studied regularly. The


212
If I Study More My Grades Will Improve
1. If I study and get help from my friends I'll make good grades.
(campus group, 1st term)
2. If I study more and talk to professors more often my grades will
improve, (group, 2nd term)
3. If I improve my study habits, my grades will improve, (group)
4. My friends know more about school than I do, especially those who
arrived in the fall, (campus group)
5. I'll only ask the professor or graduate assistant for help if my
friends can't help me. (campus group)
Perspectives Developed by Freshmen
The collective perspectives developed in the first term were as
fol1ows:
Academics
1. Speaking out in class might get me in trouble, so I'll study hard
and ask my friends for help, (campus group)
2. If I study more, my grades will improve, (group)
3. Asking professors for help will be my last resort so I'll ask my
friends if I have trouble with my courses, (campus group)
4. Since SAP courses are not as hard as regular courses, and carry the
stigma of inferior students; I must work hard to get off the SAP.
(mixed)


197
But everything changed the second term. Sam moved off campus, which
left him the lone black in his dormitory, and his good friend Joe began
to socialize less with Butch and more with his white friends. Butch lost
interest in attending predominately white parties, and became confused.
He could no longer defined the situation well, and could not trust his
interpretation of the situation. Because he was afraid to confront his
new peers, he had no answers for his perceptions of these changes. He
had no experiences or resources to figure out what to do, or to develop a
solution other than assuming a new mode of behavior, separation. He
exhibited most of the characteristics Gibbs (1974) described in this
mode: anger, conflicts in interpersonal relationships, hostility. He
also exhibited some characteristics of the withdrawal mode: depression,
and a wish to avoid contact with the conflict producing situation.
During this time, Butch began to recall what his uncles had warned
him about socializing with whites. His pain was so great he seriously
considered transferring to AU, the predominately black school, claiming
that the isolation he felt could not occur there because he knew so many
people attending. He realized that he missed his black friends, and one
of his solutions was leaving OSU.
It was very difficult for Butch to draw conclusions about the change
in his life the second term. Race was an obvious reason which he initi
ally rejected, but returned to later. He could only interpret his new
friends' actions on who he was, since he could not find other meanings
for their actions. What he was not conscious of, he could not interpret
or indicate to himself. Consequently, he never thought that his status
as a freshmen was not compatible with his new friends who were juniors,
nor did he consider that their original embracing of him was a ritual for


76
I though about AU, you know, but a lot of people were say
ing, No, you don't want to go there, you know, I don't know
... I guess, I really don't know. Like I told you once
before, My Mom didn't want me to go to AU. I guess maybe
she thought it was an all black college--things might have
gotten out-of-hand. Start partying, then doing no work, or
something like that.
Claire's friends at home were very supportive of her decision to attend
OSU and were happy for her. She was undecided about a major area of
study, but had considered physical therapy and elementary education.
Claire was interested in starting college right away, and wrote the
admissions officer who recruited her to request information about attend
ing a junior college until she enrolled at the University in the fall.
She was given specifics about the courses she could take, and enrolled in
the Fall term for a speech and math course at the junior college her
sister and brother attended. She commuted from home and earned a C+
average for that term.
Gordon
Family history. Gordon was a 24 year old, Air Force veteran, who
was released early from the service to attend school at the time the
study was conducted. He is the middle child and only male offspring in a
family of three siblings; he grew up in New York with his mother and one
of his sisters. His step-sister lived with his father in another part of
the city. His parents were separated, so he saw his father infrequently,
and did not know him very well. Both his parents were high school
graduates, and his mother was trained as a practical nurse but has no
college education. She is now a receptionist at a rectory, and his
father was a cab driver. (Gordon's father died during his first term at
the University.)


259
Something that I have found that at times has really been a sort of
nagging situation is the text might cover something relative to black or
cultural or something like this, and a professor will say well do you
find this to be true. Everybody's looking and waiting. What do you do
in those situations?
Perceptions: Some black students have experienced the prejudice of
professors in the classroom. Some black students' comfortableness
depends on the extent of their experience with whites prior to attending
the university. Some black students feel pressured in the classroom to
speak for all black people when black issues are discussed. Some black
students have been told by professors that they can only earn certain
grades.
Adjusting to Black/White Situation
Well like he said he came from a predominately black school right -
so I think most people like I you know a couple of people who went to
mostly white schools since they were in seventh grade. That's what
happens to me, so it wasn't that much of a shcok because I was used to
being the only black in a lot of classes. So I think it probably
affected the people who had been to those predominately black schools a
lot. In high school I would be the only black in a class of two hundred.
I was used to being a regular minority but here I was you know the only
black like in a class of two hundred and he said this isn't all the
class and I went "WOW".
I think something that helped me adjust to a large extent, there it
was no piece of cake but it was ROTC here on campus. It was like I had


141
Yvette
Classroom interaction. Yvette enjoyed most of her classes and felt
they were interesting. Her class attendance was high, and she felt
comfortable expressing her views in class, especially classes she really
liked. If she misunderstood anything in class she was inclined to ask
for clarification right then, with the professor, as opposed to waiting
after class or asking a classmate.
One of Yvette's favorite classes her first term was social science.
She explained why she liked the class:
I like that because I like the teacher. Mr. X...I think
he really explains the basis of the class. He really
explains the work, you know, the different chapters. When
he lectures, you can understand what he's talking about. If
you don't understand, you can ask him any questions about
the material that he lectured on, and he can get it down to
where you can understand it.
Yvette liked teachers who took time to explain things and offered
attention. She explained why she liked her english writing lab and
disliked the english composition:
And the teacher for that class, she's easy to talk to...when
you write out your papers, if there are any mistakes, she
sits right there with you, seeing what you did, and all.
And tells you different things you could have put in the
paper...that you might do to improve it. So you have to
re-write it.
This is how she described the composition class:
In the English 111 class the teacher usually writes, you
know, circles your mistakes, and might write what is the
matter. She doesn't really explain to you on a one-to-one
basis, you know, what is, what was your mistake. So I like
the english lab class better than I like english class.
Generally, Yvette found professor accessible to her and other
students, but that graduate teaching assistants were more accessible.


APPENDIX A
SIGNATURE POSTCARD FOR PARTICIPATION IN STUDY
I received your letter about the
project on the adjustment of black students
to OSU. I am still planning to attend
the university, and to help you with
the project.
Signature
230


160
at a disadvantage educationally when compared with white students in
their college classes. These three differences may be due in part to the
progress made in the society in desegregating schools and the increasing
attendance of blacks at predominately white high schools and universities
in the eight year period between the time both studies were completed. A
major difference in attitude, and feeling of blacks about the competition
with whites in the classroom could certainly have been influenced by the
change resulting from attending an integrated school or one which is pre
dominately white. The high school setting for two of the black freshmen
in the current study was predominately white. It appeared that the
novelty, the initial pressure, and unfami1iarity for both blacks and
whites about integration had worn off at some level, even though some
problems still existed. Shenkmen's black students in 1971 were pre
occupied with the race issues since they were some of the first black
undergraduates in residence at OSU. The 1978 freshmen rarely initiated
any discussion about racial issues, especially the first term, because
they were products of a more integrated educational environment, and also
because the majority of whites with whom they interacted were products of
that same integrated experience.
Another way to look at the difference in attitudes of the two groups
necessarily involves the financial aid issue. Despite the fact that the
1978 freshmen did need financial aid as a primary funding source to
attend school, it was not the major factor for attending OSU as it was
with the 1970 students. Two of the five freshmen in this study had
friends attending OSU. Others had comparable and better financial aid
packages at other schools (in state and out), so they could consider
reasons other than aid for attending schools in the state (see Table 3).


261
Family Influence
Well the only thing they tell me is that they are giving me the
incentive to continue and get out of here and just going motivation to
say well do this because you want to get out and get a job.
It's important to know that your family is behind you for moral
support and financially too. Most of the parents aren't even high school
grads you know so like there are a lot of things that white students are
used to hearing from their parents or being aided in we can't be aided in
because our parents have no awareness, so all they can do like my mother
you know she is always on my she's not on my back but she is always being
persistent you know in saying that it is very important that you do have
the piece of paper and that's about all they can say you know. As far as
being like giving you practical help like schedules, they can't help you
in that way, which is unfortunate but that's the way it is.
For one thing, I am not the oldest, I am the third oldest and like I
have one brother in prison and one brother who don't know what he wants
to do. He went to a junior college but he didn't get and AA, and so all
of it falls on me as the next oldest in line to set up a pattern for my
brothers and sisters to follow.
I have an opportunity to have well I have a mother and a father who
well I guess the primary motivator in my life is probably my father and I
guess they think I am the oldest, I am setting you know and I get this
lecture you know (Idon't know how many people get it) but it's Lord,
every break I get a lecture and you know on how much I have to prove to
the little ones I can succeed.


44
individual lives. The obvious ambiguities and ambivalences
of all this are dramatized and sharpened by the fact that
mainstream Euro-American culture includes concepts, values,
and judgements which categorize Blacks as worthy only of
fear, hatred, or contempt because of their supposedly innate
characteristics. This is part of what radical and national
istic Afro-Americans mean when they refer to the "brain
washing" of their people, (p. 143)
The adaptive mode chosen by students are important, because they are
the means by which students function on the predominately white campus.
Recognizing the modes and understanding their relationships to successful
matriculation are critical for university personnel.
Developing Perspectives
Becker, Geer and Hughes (1968) define perspectives as "a coordinated
set of ideas and actions a person uses in dealing with some problematic
situation, to refer to a person's ordinary way of thinking and feeling
about acting in such a situation" (p. 35). These ideas and actions are
generated in a special context. A more detailed description by Becker
and Geer points this out:
Perspectives grow and persist in the course of students'
interaction with one another and with college function
aries. They are not individual responses to the problems
of college life, but collective ones--calculative in the
sense that the understandings contained in the perspective
are held in common and the actions contained in it are
intelligible within that framework of understanding. They
are collective, too, in being embodied in interaction, as
students teach, learn and transmit them in the course of
the routine activities of college life. (p. 36)
As black students enter the new predominately white environment, their
perceptions and expectations, whether clearly defined or inaccurate, are
the basis on which they develop perspectives about their new lives on
campus. Because many new black freshmen are first generation college


43
ethnic group, at the same time participating in the larger
society (p. 138).
It is interesting to note the similarity between Hunt's (1975) work
and that of Gibbs (1974). His category of Integrationist is analogous to
her Mode of Assimilation. The other similarity is his category of
Separationist and her Mode of Separation.
The category of pluralist is the only one that differs from others
cited heretofore, and is analogous to the Gibbs mode of affirmation.
This mode appears to be one of the most ideal and most effective coping
styles that could be adapted by students. It is comparable to what
Valentine (1971) referred to as a bicultural model of behavior, which
often is not recognized by whites in America. He explained this dual
socialization and its importance for adjustment and coping in the
mainstream culture:
The idea of biculturation helps explain how people learn and
practice both mainstream culture and ethnic cultures at the
same time. Much intra-group socialization is conditioned by
ehtnically distinct experience, ranging from linguistic and
other expressive patterns through exclusive associations
like social clubs and recreational establishments to the
relatively few commercial products and mass media produc
tions designed for ethnic markets. Yet, at the same time,
members of all subgroups are thoroughly enculturated in
dominant culture patterns by mainstream institutions,
including most of the contact of the mass media, most
products and advertising for mass marketing, the entire
experience of public schooling, constant exposure to
national fashions, holidays, heroes, etc...
In any case, biculturation strongly appeals to us as a key
concept for making sense out of ethnicity and related
matters: the collective behavior and social life of the
Black community is bicultural in the sense that each Afro-
American ethnic segment draws upon both a distinctive reper
toire of standardized Afro-American group behavior, and,
simultaneously, patterns derived from the mainstream
cultural system of Euro-American derivation. Socialization
into both systems begins at an early age, continues through
out life, and is generally of equal importance in most


176
orientation could certainly account for their lack of knowledge about it,
too. Consequently, what the new freshmen learned about the SAP came from
their peers. Butch, for example, was advised by Sam, the black upper
classman in his dorm, to get out of SAP classes as soon as possible to
avoid the stigma of not being able to handle regular courses. This void
may have been another reason students did not seek help from professors
before their second term in school. Advice to do otherwise is standard
practice for the peer advisors.
Without this structured peer influence, the new freshmen were prob
ably more easily influenced by peers who did not always have accurate
information. Butch also received information from two professors which
described the courses the regular and SAP courses as having the same
content. He was told that the greatest difference was that the SAP
courses were graded differently and designed to address a smaller group..
Butch was confused, and not convinced that SAP courses were really the
same until a white peer asked him to help with a problem in the same
course. The white student was taking the regular course and was several
chapters behind the SAP course. This convinced Butch that the courses
were the same and implied for him that SAP courses may be tougher.
Validation by peers!
The desire to fit and belong also rendered the new freshmen vulner
able to peer influence, especially as new black students. Overall,
though rarely voiced or volunteered by the students, they were aware of
the stereotypes of blacks and were conscious of their minority status
sometimes, though not always. That unspoken desire to be like everyone
else led students to learn and discover from their peers what was the
norm, the expected academic behavior.


132
first test he had said to himself, "Man it ain't nothing to make an "A"
in here!", and stopped studying as much as he had at he beginning of the
course.
Study habits and Grades. Butch classified his high school study
habits as good, although he did not have a regular studying schedule.
When asked to describe his study habits at OSU, he reported that they
were adequate, and that they had improved after the first term. However,
by the end of that term, he felt that his study habits needed improvement
because his grades did not show as much change as he expected.
When estimating the time he studied during the week, Butch was
unsure, but guessed that he studied up to 20 hours during the week and up
to five on the weekends. Again, he had no regular study schedule, but
Usually studied alone in his room between classes, as well as regularly
in the evenings. He indicated that he did not like cram studying, and
that he tried not to let his work build up. He did not like to study in
complete silence, and usually had music playing softly when he studied.
On occasion, Butch would study with some of his friends on the hall,
but more often he would watch them study, in awe of their team effort.
Yeah, I just sit around and watch them. Like all the
accounting majors . They have two days of tests next
week, and this weekend, you know, it has just been fun just
being around them while they study. I noticed them, how
they come around and say, "Hey now, I'm having problems with
this new problem". And Joe, how you doing? How do you
answer this one...And he goes over then explains how you get
it. I think I got it! I think I got it! Then they go back
and try it. Well a little bit later they come back in I
still ain't got it. You know, just in and out you know.
Getting themselves informationed out.
Butch was impressed with this sharing process--so much so that he
envisioned being included with other freshmen studying that way:


145
Gordon viewed his first term as a preparatory and review period
for the next quarter he would be in school. He was determined to do well
in English and math. He felt he was lacking some basic writing skills
which he needed to perfect, and he needed to review his math (once his
best subject in high school) to do well in his proposed engineering
major.
In describing two classes he enjoys, Gordon describes the professors
and his relationship with them.
I guess it has to be between that one in social science and
english cause Dr. X (I know her name cause we have to write
it down) is really a good teacher. She said this was her
first year, I think. She's just out of school. She's
really good, but he is too. But they have two different
practices. She has a small class of 15, so she knows every
body's name. I see her almost every day. See I re-write
'em (the papers) and I either speak with her really quickly
or write a note at the end telling her, asking her what I
think is wrong. And then she looks it over and, you know,
she agrees they're wrong. And then I have to figure out
why. When I'm writing the stuff and I sit there and read it
sounds great. Everything seems fine. Then right before I
give it to her I always take it out of the bag and read it
and it's always wrong!
His comments about the social science class:
But he has a small class of thirty. I guess twenty or
thirty, and it's also a small class. He does most of the
talking and we do most of the listening. He doesn't give
you a lot of facts, he just wants you to grasp the idea and
be able to put it into your own words, so you don't have to
take that many notes. I guess that's my favorite class,
social sciences.
Study Habits and Grades. Gordon had described his high school study
habits as good, and admitted that they seemed to be inadequate during his
first quarter at OSU. Studying alone on the floor of his apartment, in
the student union, or in the gymnasium was what Gordon reported in
describing his study habits. He did not like to study with others, and
avoided doing so whenever possible.


162
Two other characteristics now shared between the 1970 and 1978
students were very interesting. Shenkmen (1970) found that the majority
of the black students he studied had trouble determining which had
greater priority for them: studying or helping other black people in the
community. This dilemma was never raised or observed in any way by the
researcher in this current study. The 1978 freshmen also rarely
expressed anything voluntarily about their desire to have more black
students, faculty and administration on campus. One student did state
she was interested in more black students, especially black males.
Virtually all of the students in Shenkmen's study were concerned about
this and expressed their feelings to him. The difference may be due to
the increased numbers of blacks among the faculty, staff and students on
campus. In this study, students were introduced to black faculty, admin
istrators and students at an orientation when they first arrived on
campus. They were not the pioneers, and therefore did not experience the
isolation from other blacks as did the 1970 students. These 1978 fresh
men were more interested in typical freshmen concerns: recovering from
registration, class attendance, doing homework, and settling into their
residential areas. The characteristics described above will also be
reflected in the next section where phenomena which influenced adjustment
is discussed.
What Phenomena Influenced Student Adjustment
The first question in the Statement of the Problem section was:
What phenomena influenced students perceptions of their academic and
social adjustment to the university? Four subquestions were posed about


128
Two of the female students, on the other hand, pointed out that
their greatest social interaction was with their black peers, yet they
were proud and comfortable with their white friendships, too. These
white friendships were with females in their living areas. The other
female seemed to prefer the company of her black peers, but described
some of her best friends as white. She was clearly surprised when whites
were courteous and acted toward her as her black friends did. Another
female also expressed this same type of surprise at the friendliness of
some whites, and the indifference of some blacks who refused to speak to
her after she spoke to them.
It is clear that overall the black-white peer relationships are not
as strong the first or second term as the home-based black-black
relationship for the new freshmen.
If I Study More, My Grades Will Improve
The activities which consumed the majority of the average freshman's
time and energy were (1) attending classes, and (2) doing homework.
Their constant concern was about how well they were doing and what grades
they would make in each class. The classroom interactions and other
events resulting from them, i.e., homework, study groups, conferences
with the professors, seemed to be more important than any other aspect of
their life in the freshmen year. Here also, the peer influencethis
time of classmates--was very strong.
Student perceptions about their professors, class activity, study
habits and grades are described in this section.


102
did not see an advisor was escorted through registration by a friend and
her cousin.
All of the students had their patience taxed by the computer which
rejected some of their courses at least 10 times. At the completion of
registration, four of the five students, including the one entering under
the regular admissions program, were registered for a combination of
regular courses and those taught through the Special Admissions Program.
The fifth student, who had not seen an advisor but had accepted under the
SAP registered for a full load of regular courses.
The perceptions about regular versus SAP courses were varied among
the students. Two students were confused about the purpose of the SAP
and were unsure of why they were taking courses in it. Others expressed
satisfaction that it existed and found their participation beneficial.
And one student reported that she knew nothing about the SAP.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
For most young people, the power of peer relationships cannot be
overstated. The peer influence in college life was very strong for the
new freshmen and is described here through two categories: (1) the
Black-White peer relationship, and (2) the Black-Black peer relationship.
Though other relationships are described elsewhere in this study, the
peer relationships will be the main focus in this section. An overview
of each student's social life precedes the description of the specific
peer relationship. Short summaries are found at the end of description
of each student case.


75
older brother and sister were attending the local junior college, but she
wanted to attend school away from home. Her parents were high school
graduates who never attended college, but they had several relatives who
had completed four year degrees. Claire's parents had always encouraged
their chi 1 den to attend college and were pleased when Claire made the
decision to apply for entrance at OSU.
Claire's mother is a cafeteria manager, and her father is a laborer
in a paper company. She listed their combined income between $10,000 and
$20,000 a year. She also worked part-time while attending high school,
and anticipated working in college, too.
Education. Claire graduated from a predominately white high school
that had 10-20% black population of the total 250 students. She was
active in extracurricular activities, including membership on the cheer-
leading squad, the volleyball team, the Student Council, and the Senior
Class Committee. She graduated in the top fifth of her class, ranking
14 in a class of 164.
Since attending college was a recent idea for Claire, she applied
late and could not be considered for Fall admission. She was accepted
for the winter term in January, under the Special Admission Program at
OSU because her SAT scores were too low for consideration as a regular
student. Claire was excited and her family was very pleased with her
decision to attend OSU. She indicated that the main reasons for her
accepting the offer to attend were the University's reputation, and she
had a cousin and some friends already at the school who encouraged her to
attend. She had also applied to AU, the traditional black institution in
the state, but had been discouraged by several people, including her
mother.


3
environment and is part of the socialization process. One purpose for
conducting this study was to discover how black freshmen adapt to their
white college environments. One aspect of this purpose was to examine
how students adjust to problems they encounter in their new environment.
Adjusting necessarily involves learning about new and different ways of
handling problems that are unique to campus life. How students face the
new problems on campus is determined to some degree from their past and
in part from their abilty to generate new ideas. This process is called
developing a perspective. Students can develop individual and group
perspectives in learning to cope and handle problem situations. Their
home lives appear to have as much influence in developing perspective as
their new campus life. (See literature review for more details on
perspectives.)
Many black college freshmen who attend predominately white colleges
are particularly vulnerable to uncertainties and frustrations during
their first year of school, primarily because they are unlike the major
ity of their white counterparts in three major ways: (1) they are
usually first generation college students, i.e., the first person in
their families to attend college; (2) they have generally been academic
ally handicapped to some degree by their inaccessibility or delayed
accessibility to quality secondary schools; and (3) they must try to
adapt to a college environment which reflects very little of their own
history or culture (Harper, 1971; Ballard, 1973; and Boyd, 1974). The
problems they face are real and must be addressed by other members of the
university community.
When black students began to attend predominately white universities
in large numbers in the early 1960s, few of these institutions were


33
Fear of performance evaluation. Arriving on campus with a
long record or poor performance on nationally normed tests,
school grades, and other measures, minority students fear
failure and adopt avoidance behaviors rather than the
achievement-oriented actions that are essential to success
on the college campus.
Alienation from the dominant culture and style. Minority
students do not hve the benefit of the lifelong expectations
that accept the demands of college as the next, natural step
in personal development. They do not know what to expect.
Indeed, for most minority students, college environments
contain unfamiliar manifestations of racism.
Attribution of control to external rather than internal
sources. Minority students feel that they have little
control over events in their lives but must simply respond
to outside forces. Some students have described themselves
as "unsuccessful salmons swimming upstream", (pp. 2-3)
These attitudes and feelings are basic to the average minority
student attending college on predominately white campuses. This list is
by no means exhaustive, nor does it imply that these are feelings
experienced by every minority student attending predominately white
schools. Ballard (1973), Brown and Stent (1977), and Harper (1971)
report similar problems and feelings of black students on predominately
white campuses.
Expectations and perceptions of minority students about their new
campus experience were sometimes indistinguishable. The pilot study of
black students from different academic classifications revealed that
they had retained perceptions brought from home, and gained new ones
after entering college. Although there were no freshmen in the pilot
study, some of the perceptions were similar to those of the freshmen.
The following is a summary of the perceptions of the students in the
pilot study. The exact quotes from which the summaries were made are
presented in Appendix 0.


80
this study initially felt confident in his/her ability to adjust to
college life at OSU.
Finally, the determination and excitement about attending college
was ultimately expressed by all of the students; and was reflected
strongly in two of the females, Janice and Claire. Each wrote for
permission to earn credits at a local junior college while waiting to
enter OSU in the winter quarter. Janice had decided school was more
important than being with her son his first few years of life. Both
males, on the other hand, openly expressed some reservations about
attending, despite their interest and commitment to attaining a college
education.
The next stage of events which add to the students' perceptions
about college life at OSU was orientation, registration and their intro
duction to their residential areas. Perceptions were building and being
confirmed about OSU and its environment prior to their formal entry. In
the next section a review of orientation and the move to campus adds more
insight to their new student status.
The Special Admission Program
The purpose of the Special Admission Program (SAP) was not clear to
any of the students. The four students admitted under the program were
sent information about special services prior to their entrance, yet none
of them attended the orientation held for them. All of them missed the
opportunity to learn more information about adjusting, registration and
advising. The older student (who was admitted as a regular student)
inadvertently registered himself for the SAP courses by changing the


112
dormitory friendly, she found that people in both groups whom she met
were rather indifferent. She did not believe she had been a victim of
racial discrimination. However, she reported experiencing some racial
tension in the dormitory.
In her classroom, where most of her professors were white males, she
did not feel pressured to be a black spokesperson, and felt comfortable
in discussing her views with others. She has had discussions on racial
issues with black friends and white friends, yet had overheard no nega
tive remarks made about blacks. When she entered OSU she was scared and
somewhat doubtful about being able to succeed at a predominately white
school. Then, after arriving, she found that "in the long run I can do
just as good as they can". Claire explained her feelings further:
I think it's good, but you know, a lot of whites probably
can't get used to the idea of blacks coming to a big-time
University like this one. I think it's good, you know,
though a lot of blacks still feel like outsiders. They
don't feel like they're wanted I think they have something
in one of the newspapers about . they interviewed some
of the blacks and how they were talking about, you know
after they left the University they wouldn't support it at
all because, you know, they still didn't feel like they were
part of it. They felt like outsiders. So, but I think it's
good, you know, it's about time blacks start getting equal
rights.
As mentioned earlier, Claire was surprised at the friendliness of
the women on her hall. It appeared that her individual interaction with
whites was positive, despite her feelings towards them as a group. Over
all, Claire felt that most whites were sorry that blacks were attending
OSU. An example of her interaction with friends on her hall follows.
I still feel the same, you know. No different. We all get
along pretty good. I mean, it's like you know, a lot of the
girls want to come in and sit down and watch TV, you know, a
lot of them don't have a television in their rooms. They'll
come down and sit and watch TV with me. It's like yesterday
I was cooking neck bones and one white girl had never, she
didn't even know what it was. She said what is it from?


52
students and faculty (of both races) about the increasing racial tensions
and lack of black-white interaction on campuses were cited:
There are a lot of peopleboth black and white--who would
like to see what it's like on the other side, but never take
that step.
There's a lot of peer-group pressure to stick with your own
kind--a lot of distrust on both sides. The (whites) don't
speak their language and they (blacks) don't speak ours.
They (minority students) won't even talk to you. About the
only time anything gets going between us is during Black
Awareness Week. (p. 11)
Peterson et al. (1978), in their 13-campus study of institutions
with increasing black enrollments, found several patterns of racial
climates on the campuses between black and white student organizations:
Fully integrated. The organizational and activity patterns
of black and white student groups involve mixing of races
and accepting of the other race's interests and concerns.
Racially tense. The organizational and activity patterns of
black and white student groups assure mixing of the races,
but attitudes between the races are positive and accepting.
Racist. The organization and activity patterns of black and
white student groups involve separate racial patterns, and
attitudes between the races are negative and/or antagonistic.
(p. 205)
They found that most campus organizations were moving away from the fully
integrated, pluralistic patterns.
The data indicate that the traditionally white university faculty,
staff and students were not expecting to change to accommodate the new
black student. They were unprepared, "though not necessarily unable to
respond to the campus needs of their student populations" (Green, 1971,
p. 29). This does not mean that the traditionally white institutions
cannot or will not change to meet the needs of black students. What it
means is that there is much more work to be done by the personnel in


74
scores be sent to OSU and the black school her friend had attended. By
June she was sure she wanted to attend OSU and in July she was accepted
to enter the winter term. Yvette reported that her friends at OSU,
including her boyfriend (who was also a student at OSU) influenced her
most in her decision to attend the university.
Yvette's family was pleased that she was accepted and very proud of
her. Most of her friends were also in support of her decision. However,
there were some who questioned her about getting along with whites at
OSU. Yvette responded:
Yes, it was a black friend. But I told her I have been
around whites, and I didn't think they were no better than
I was. So it didn't make no difference 'cause when I was
younger I was raised mostly with whites, you know. I went
to white schools, and most of my friends were white.
Yvette was excited about attending the University and had no doubts
about her ability to succeed. She rated her high school preparation for
college as good, and felt she could successfully compete with other
students at the University. From September to December she babysat, and
helped her mother at home to earn money prior to attending school in
January.
Claire
Family history. Claire, who is the youngest of three children, was
born in a small Southern town of 13,000, and had not seriously considered
attending college until her senior year in high school. Claire is a
slim, medium brown-skinned young woman with short black hair. A ready
smile and a friendly easy manner were always part of her carriage. Her


REFERENCES
Allport, G.W. The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-
Wesley Publishers, 1954.
Arensberg, C.M. and Kimball, S.T. Community study: Retrospect and
prospect. American Journal of Sociology, 1968, 7£(6), 691-705.
Arensberg, C.M. and Kimball, S.T. Culture and community. Gloucester:
Harcourt, Brace Javanovich, 1972.
Astin, A.W. The college environment. Washington, D.C.: The American
Council on Education, 1968.
Astin, A.W. Preventing students from dropping out. San Francisco:
Jossey-Boss, 1975.
Astin, H.S., Astin, A.W., Bisconti, A.S. and Frankel, H.H. Higher
education and the disadvantaged student. Washington, D.C.: Human
Services Press, 1972.
Ballard, A.B. The education of black folk. New York: Harper & Rowe,
1973.
Bayer, A.E.
trends.
1-19.
The black college freshman: Characteristics and recent
American Council on Education Research Report, 1972, 7_ (3),
Bayer, A.E. and Boruch, B.R. The black student in American colleges.
American Council on Education Research Report, 1969, £ (2), 1-58.
Becker, H.S., Geer, B. and Hughes, E.C. Making the grade. New York:
Wiley, 1968.
Blumer, H. Society as symbolic interaction. In Arnold M. Rose (Ed.),
Human behavior and social processes. New York: Houghton Mifflin,
]MT.
Boyd, W.M., II. Desegregating America's colleges A Nationwide Survey
of Black Students, 1972-73~ New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.
Brooks, G.C. and Sedlacek, W.E. Black freshmen in large colleges:
A survey. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 1970, 49 (4), 307-12.
Brown, F. and Stent, M. Minorities in U.S. institutions of higher
education. New York! Praeger Publishers, 1977.
Centra, J.D. Black students at predominately white colleges: A research
description. Sociology of Education, 1970, £3, 325-339.
264


169
Peer Relationships and Social Adjustment
The five freshmen experienced unique relationships with their black
peers, who had stronger relationships with them than their white peers.
Three of the five indicated that their best friends were black, and four
reported socializing more with blacks than whites. The older male
reported no real social life on campus with either group. Of the three
reporting best friends as black, the two males indicated that their
friends were established before entering OSU; the female met her best
friends after entering the university.
The two females who reported their best friends as black and white
met their new white friends and some of their new black friends after
arriving on campus. They also had strong black friendships at home.
Yvette, one of these females, continued her relationship with a boyfriend
from home who also attended OSU, and developed strong friendships with
her hallmates and roommates.
Janice, the other female who claimed on her questionnaire her best
friends were black and white, also claimed to have met them before and
after arriving at the university. She was also one of the four who des
cribed most of her socializing with blacks. The researcher's observation
of Janice and data from her interviews did not confirm in any way that
her best friends were white. She was always surprised at the friendli
ness and kindness of whites, yet had experienced some racial tension and
hostility from whites, and even wanted to transfer to a black school by
the end of the second term. In interviews she never referred to white
friends, therefore this data cannot be viewed as reliable. Janice was


151
Cl ai re
Claire's direct interaction with university officials occurred her
first term. She interacted with orientation officials, registration
personnel, and housing officials. The majority of her interaction was
positive and brief.
The admissions officer who recruited her was the official whom she
knew best, and the one she said she would visit if she had any problems.
The resident assistant on the hall was friendly, but Claire rarely inter
acted with her after the first two weeks of the first term.
Indirectly, Claire cited two instances in which University
officials' decisions affected her. First, when her financial aid need
was assessed. She thought she was not receiving enough aid to cover her
need, but she had little control over the decisions. Secondly, when the
University raised the housing costs without offering any additional
benefits to students. She thought this was unfair yet did not express
this to officials responsible.
Yvette
Yvette's interaction with University officials was limited to pro
fessors and people who were involved with her initial introduction to
the campus. The University admissions officer was her first contact with
a university employee, but she did not see him for the first two terms
after arriving on campus. The resident assistant in her housing area
became a good friend whom she interacted with on a regular basis in the
dormitory.


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The enrollment of B1ack-Americans in higher education has tripled in
the last twenty years, bringing the 1982 figure to 1.3 million students.
However, too few of these students are graduating, and attrition poses a
serious threat to this increase in numbers. A closer look at the break
down of enrollment will put these facts in wider perspective.
At this writing, 75 percent of all students enrolled in higher
education attend two year or four year colleges--86 percent of black
students are enrolled in these institutions. Twenty-five percent of all
students attend universities, yet only 15 percent of black students are
enrolled in universities (National Advisory Committee, 1979). Higher
/
education statistics for 1981 reflected that blacks constituted 9.3
percent of all students in higher education, and the makeup of the
institutions where they were enrolled was as follows: 70 percent in
predominately white institutions (PWI), 18 percent in the traditional
black institutions (TBI), and 12 percent in newer predominately black
institutions (PBI). Of the baccalaureate degrees awarded that year, a
surprising 40 percent of these were awarded by the traditional black
institutions. Poinsett (1980) summarized this dilemma in an article in
Ebony magazine:
Fantasy may suggest that the million-plus students are
moving inexorably toward baccalaureate degrees and beyond.
But the fact is that half of that impressive total is
enrolled in two-year col 1eges--plagued with high dropout
1


209
All of the students were very concerned about their academic perfor
mance, and spent a majority of their time addressing problems which
influenced making the best grades they could obtain. Equally important
to them was their "social fit" with their peers on campus. Most of the
short-range perspectives were developed to solve problems about these two
areas, as the following examples describe.
1. Two students did not perceive themselves adjusting to their pre
dominately white peer environment, and were making plans to
transfer because of these social adjustment problems. It's
important to note that these students were not experiencing
difficulties with their black peers on campus, and that they
were interested in transferring to predominately black institu
tions, primarily to get away from the confusion and distress
caused by their social relations with their white peers.
2. The two females who seemed to be adjusting satisfactory socially
and academically had plans to remain at OSU. Although one of
these females did express an interest in an increased black male
population, this lack did not drive her to consider transferring
or to withdraw from the social scene.
3. The older student was definitely occupied almost exlusively with
improving his academic work, and his job which was necessary to
meet his financial needs. Later in the second term, he became
aware of how isolated he had become socially, and made attempts
to broaden his social base in the community outside the campus.
Thus he was less affected than other students with ideas of
developing relationships with peers, especially his white peers.


223
to discuss racial issues with their black and white peers, and did not
report racial issues as a problem in adjusting.
4. What Perspectives Did Students Develop to Solve Problems While
Adjusting to the University?
There were two long-range perspectives developed, about their
academic and social success at college, which formed the basis from which
all other short-range perspectives grew. These perspectives were
1. To succeed in college, I have to make good grades--preferably
without any help from others.
2. Being successful in college means getting along with my peers,
especially my white peers.
Both long-range perspectives reflect concerns of freshmen in
general, yet they both have qualifications which are unique to students
who have not traditionally been a part of the campus community of the
mainstream society. Their interests in performing "on their own" and the
importance of adjusting with white peers are the unique features which
are directly related to the students' race. A desire to prove that
blacks could achieve and could relate successfully to white peers was
accepted not only by the students but was also reinforced by parents and
friends in their home communities.
The short-term perspectives developed by students centered around
either their academic or social life. Those who made successful adjust
ments developed positive responses to problems which arose and coped well
in their academic and social spheres. These students were also more
likely to retain the perspectives tney initially developed since they
were more realistic about their new lives on campus. On the other hand,


147
Summary
All of the freshmen except the older one were originally very opto-
mistic about performing well in school. The older, fifth student was
determined, but more cautious about predicting success. The majority of
the students studied alone and reported specific conditions under which
they studied. Most of them were also comfortable with their experiences
in class, yet would rarely participate in discussions or class activity
the first term.
After the first term, all of the students believed the following:
(1) that they needed to improve their study habits, (2) that if they
studied harder that they could make better grades, and (3) that increas
ing their interaction with professors would help them make better grades.
The performance of the students the first term definitely influenced
their efforts to perform the second term. As a group, the male students'
performance was not competitive with the females. One male was placed
on academic probation after the first term and both earned lower grades
the second term.
Of the three females, one performed better than average work the
first term, one did exactly average work, and the third missed doing
average performance because she failed one course. The second term, the
student who failed a course improved her grades, the one who did average
work made better grades, and the one performing at above average level
performed about the same. The latter two were the only students of the
five who earned better than an overall 2.0 grade point for the two terms.


47
situational, that is, to solve a particular problem. Some long range
perspectives were identified, but the nature of these were different from
the ones developed day-to-day.
Institutional Response to Black Students
Just as students' adjustment to the university is affected by the
things, i.e., background, characteristics, which they bring to the campus
environment, what they encounter and meet on the campus also influences
their adjustment. Burns Crookston (1975) described an ideal environment,
a campus milieu for student development, which reflects an area of human
and group interaction which each student faces on entering the
university:
What is our milieu? For our purposes it is more than the
physical environment in which the institution is located; it
includes the intellectual, social, esthetic, creative,
cultural, philosophical, emotional, and moral environments
as a totality; it includes the interactions among the indi
viduals in all such groups. Milieu involves the interface
between and among all those groups that comprise the insti
tution and the interface of these groups with outside groups
and environments. And it involves the impact of outside or
inside forces on the milieu, whether embracing or retard
ing, whether interactive or oppressive, whether collabora
tive or competitive, (p. 46)
The three major groups with whom students interact in this milieu
from the inside are administrators, faculty and their peers (Astin, 1968;
Peterson et al., 1978). A student's perception is influenced by his or
her reaction to those groups and the level of involvement with them
(Feldman and Newcomb, 1969).


171
whose social life was mainly through the telephone, only two students
indicated they belonged to any type of groups. More importantly for this
discussion, the same two freshmen, Yvette and Claire, indicated member
ship in a black/white group. The researcher believed that it was signi
ficant that the two females reporting membership in black/white groups
also had the most extracurricular involvement in their integrated high
school, were more gregarious than the other students. They also and
appeared to have more direct, ongoing experiences with whites than the
other black students who tended to express periodic or casual relation
ships with their white peers. These females were also involved both
terms with white hallmates and classmates as they were with black peers,
including each other. Janice, unlike these females, interacted primarily
with black peers both terms, and Butch's interaction with his white peers
in the second term decreased significantly from his activities with them
in the first one.
The two women with membership in the black/white groups also
reported belonging to a black study group. Neither of the other freshmen
indicated belonging to a campus group. Two other factors which separated
these two freshmen from the other freshmen were (1) their friendship -
they were two of the students in the study who knew each other, and
developed a friendship, which to some degree explains their similar
experiences, and (2) they were the only students in the study who had at
least one good friend in residence before they arrived at OSU. This last
factor is very important because it implies that these students already
had a model to emulate. It is interesting that their models were males,
(one a cousin and the other a boyfriend) with whom they had close, trust
ing relationships.


199
reserved and quiet person who was comfortable in her own world, yet she
was very interested in learning to interact with those in the mainstream.
She defined her reference group by her associating with those with
whom she was familiar her black roommates, and especially an old high
school acquaintance who was black and who became her best friend at OSU.
This best friend operated from a rather closed, dominant, black world
view, and had experienced many negative encounters with whites at OSU.
Even on campus in their residential areas, and in most social situations
they participated in, Tina steered them toward black interaction as much
as possible. By allowing Tina to define situations for her, especially
those involving whites, Janice opened herself to be influenced greatly by
Tina and very little by others in her new college experience. Her
personality made it easy for Tina to influence her in the new milieu.
Gibbs (1974) mode of affirmation was what Janice moved toward, for
she was open to new experiences with whites and was genuinely surprised
and pleased when she encountered positive overtures from her white peers.
The characteristic missing with her behavior according to Gibb's was an
autonomous, self-actualizing behavior. She didn't believe enough in
herself in this new setting and therefore was unable to experiment on her
own about her reactions and behavior.
It appeared as though Janice swung between a mode of withdrawal and
one of affirmation. However, a longing to identify more closely with her
peers, and the pressure from her best friend at OSU led her to consider
transferring to the state's predominately black institution at the end of
the second term. She could not fully articulate why she wanted to
transfer except to be with more of her former high school friends, and


123
black friends from high school were students there, and she wanted to be
with them:
It's just that I want to...It's just like the people I hung
around with in school--like everybody went just about to the
same schools.
When asked if there were any academic reasons for transferring, Janice
responded:
No. It's a black school and that's why I want to transfer
to it. You know, like my friend told me there are
only two whites students that live on that campus.
Janice was uncertain about when she wanted to transfer and had not done
so by the end of the second term.
Summary. Janice was an introvert who was more comfortable with her
black peers at school than her white peers. She had two black roommates,
and was influenced heavily by Tina, a good friend with whom she was
acquainted at high school.
Janice spent most of her social life with her black peers or with a
family member by telephone. Even though she attended several campus
social events, they were usually sponsored by predominately black organ
izations or groups. She was more comfortable around her black peers, and
was cautious about establishing relationships with whites, even though
she reported her best friends as both black and white.
Claire
Most of Claire's best friends were black at OSU. She went on group
dates with other black freshmen, including her roommate. They attended
dances, concerts, and dormitory parties. Her cousin, a male upperclass
man, who had a car, would also take her out to social events on campus.


35
Academic Advising
1. Academic advising at OSU is inadequate, and many faculty are not
helpful at all.
2. Some black students do not seek professors for academic advice
because they are viewed by their peers as "begging for points"
or "trying to be the teacher's pet," and thus not having much
pride as a black person.
Faculty Relations in Class
1. Some Black students have experienced racial prejudice in the
classroom.
2. Often times, a black student's comfort in the classroom depends
on the extent of their experience with whites prior to attending
the university.
3. When black issues arise in class discussions, some blacks are
asked by professors to speak for all black people on the
specific issue.
4. Some students have been told by professors that they can only
earn predetermined grades in their classes.
Adjusting to Black/White Situations
1. Black students who attended integrated high schools had an
easier time adjusting to the university than blacks who attended
predominately black high schools.


210
Since he worked with white colleagues whom he befriended, it
became less of a school-associated issue, as well.
The next section lists the general perceptions and perspectives held and
developed by students as they adjusted to the university.
Freshmen's Perceptions About Adjusting
The following list of individual and group perceptions revealed to
the researcher, the reasons for some of the student's actions, and also
provided the basis for analyzing findings in the study. The titles of
the sections depict the specific topic of the perceptions. Notations in
parentheses indicate whether the perception are individual, held by the
group, or mixedthat is, not a consensus, but varied opinions. Campus
groups succeeding at OSU refers to freshmen residing in university
housing.
Succeeding at OSU
1. Since I was successful in high school, I have a good chance of being
successful in college, (group)
2. Since my friends like it at OSU, I probably will, too. (mixed)
3. OSU is a good school where I can succeed, despite my friends'
reservations about how whites will treat blacks, (campus group)
Special Admissions Program (SAP)
1. There is a stigma attached to the SAP; one which connotes that the
students in its courses are inferior learners, or somehow different
from students not in the program, (mixed)


257
"Well Pop, what should I do?" And Pop said, "Take Dr. Barthey, 'cause he
was there when I was there." The only thing I can call back on is to
find some relatives who live the town and ask how did they clean floors
back there That's the best we can do.
Okay, I never had an academic advisor, and I'm a SAS, yet my GPS
isn't messed up. I do my best to get to know all my teachers, and I go
to them for help. Yet I found a problem that when I tried to go to a
teacher the blacks label me, well, as the teacher's pet I want to be
with the white folks, that kind of stuff Blacks, you know, that's what
hinders a lot of people from getting academic advising, also.
I didn't go to my teachers the first two quarters I was here for the
same reason. 'Cause all the blacks say, "don't do that", "you know you
go talk to the white teacher begging for points...you just don't do that.
Don't you have more pride?"
Perceptions: Academic advising is in poor shape, and many faculty
are not helpful in this process; in fact many are inequipped to handle
it. Some black students do not visit professor for advice because they
are viewed by their black peers as begging for points, or trying to.
Faculty/Classroom
The attitude of professors to keep you from going to see them.
Like I know a black professor here in biology and she you know she
used to get made with me...because she said the white kids were always
trying to get her brains you know but we would never come. Why?
But see you have to be willing to overlook their nastiness and try
to get their work: I had a class a history class last quarter and the


107
reasons for desiring such a change. Butch planned to visit the AU campus
in the near future, and even considered transferring to AU after complet
ing his Associate of Arts degree at OSU.
Summary. Butch was very optimistic about adjusting to life at the
university when he entered OSU. He prided himself on getting along with
whites, was excited to be at such a prestigious institution, and was
confident in his ability to succeed. Despite pressure from his black
peers at home, about his relationship with whites, he continued to behave
in what Gibbs (1974) described as the mode of affirmation. That is,
maintaining his cultural identity, yet working and socializing with
whites and was open to new experiences in his new milieu. Most of his
new friends on campus were white, his home friends, black. The first
term at OSU was filled with more positive than negative experiences,
and could be called successful.
Things changed second term. Butch's social life in the dormitory
was virtually nonexistent in comparison with the first term. The other
black student in the dorm moved off campus; his good friend Joe didn't
have as much time for him; and he overheard hallmates refer to a "nigger"
in their conversation. Peer pressure from black friends at home and his
uncle's family influenced his behavior toward whites.
By the end of the term, he was confused, felt alienated from whites,
and was entertaining thoughts of transfering to a predominately black
school. His mode of behavior had changed to separation, with symptoms of
the withdrawal mode as well.
Social comfort appeared to be of greater importance than academic
adjustment for this student. His perceptions about his interaction with
his white peers had changed. At this time he believed that whites are


40
same as those Pettigrew (1964) found, and have been called mode of with
drawal, mode of assimilation, and mode of separation. However, Gibbs
(1977) found a fourth behavior, a mode of affirmation, which is found to
a lesser degree in students than other modes, yet appears to be one which
students can move towards, once they are more comfortable with themselves
and their new environment. The four modes are described below:
1. Mode of withdrawal. The mode of withdrawal is characterized by
apathy, depression, feelings of hopelessness, alienation and
depression, culminated in the student's wish to avoid contact
with the conflict-producing situation, i.e., to withdraw.
Withdrawal was the predominant mode, with 21 students (51
percent) exhibiting one or more forms of this syndrome and four
(10 percent) obtaining medical leave due to the severity of
their symptoms. Thus, for this specific sample, the student
from a working-class or lower-class family who attended a
predominately black high school had difficulty in handling
academic tasks.
2. Mode of separation. The mode of separation is characterized
by anger, hostility, conflicts in interpersonal relation
ships which may be expressed as rejection of whites, con
tempt for middle-class white values and behavior patterns,
and active protests against white institutions and customs.
[Among the five students who selected this mode, two were
involved in assaultive behavior, and three were involved in
militant protest activities which caused property damage on


49
students nor other members of the university community when blacks were
first admitted to predominately white campuses.
Student Affairs administrators usually had more interaction and
experience with black students than faculty and other administrative
personnel. This was due primarily to the nature of their responsibili
ties, i.e., the adjustment of students to the non-curricular affairs of
the university (Peterson et al., 1978). Housing personnel, financial
aid officers, orientation staff and other student services personnel were
involved with many aspects of the black student's entrance into the
university. Cross (1975) and others have strongly advocated shifting the
burden from student affairs to the whole system to enhance the student's
chance for survival.
Many student services departments were responsible for hiring the
first black administrators in the predominately white universities. At
some institutions positions were created in order to hire someone to work
with black students; others recruited black staff for regular positions
already established. These black staff, wherever they were employed,
tended to be empathetic and supportive towards black students, who
responded the same to them. The black administrator in student affairs,
at times, was the only trusted resource for black students on the
predominately white campus (Napper, 1973; Ballard, 1973).
Faculty/Classroom Experiences
White faculty were often the least interested in helping black stu
dents adjust to the predominately white campus and offered great resist
ance to any change in curriculum or teaching style to accommodate these


215
Finally, although these females reported a belief that whites in
general were indifferent to blacks attending OSU, this had no negative
effect on their identification with the institution. They felt they
belonged to OSU now, too. This feeling of belonging was unique to these
two students.
The characteristics which distinguished these students from the
other three students included: 1) their interactions with white peers in
extracurricular activities in high school, 2) their established friend
ships at OSU prior to attendance, 3) their membership in mixed black/
white friendship groups, 4) their membership in a black study group,
5) their positive attitude about the SAP, and 6) their above average
academic performance during the period of the study.
Characteristics common to the other residential students which also
seemed to help in.adjusting were: 1) friendly, helpful hallmates and
roommates, 2) the admissions officer as a resource, 3) strong black peer
relationships from home, (4) access to faculty and graduate students for
assistance, 5) strong family support, 6) and strong motivation to perform
well and fit into the new university community. The older student shared
the strong family support, the ties with black peers from home, and the
motivation to succeed.
The unique and common characteristics of the black freshmen all
influenced adaptation and had implications for determining the best
circumstances under which minority students adapt best. Though
implications for further study and detailed recommendations will be cited
in Chapter V, the following conditions are cited as essential for the
success of black freshmen on a predominately white campus:


190
there were so many minority students in some classes, if they were in
fact so few enrolled in the university. He did not believe this segrega
tion of classes was right, especially when minorities had fought so hard
against segregation.
The researcher's observation was that as new students, the freshmen
were not aware of many adminsitrative policies and practices. Their
worlds were limited to activities directly related to their classwork and
social lives. Unless they experienced a problem, administrative policy
issues were not known to them, nor were many of the administrators.
Students' Feelings About Adjustment
The students who lived on campus began their first term with
optimism'about their academic and social adjustment to OSU. They were
confident in their ability to succeed, and were generally open to the new
experiences they encountered. The student who lived off campus was
guardedly optimistic the first term about his academic adjustment, and
was driven to compete by his desire to overcome shortcomings in math and
English, as well as the desire to become an engineer. During the first
term, he had experienced very little interest in a social life, claiming
too little time to devote to it as the main reason.
Receipt of the first term's grades had a great impact on all the
students' feelings about their academic adjustment. Two of them con
sidered not returning for a second term because they were disappointed
with the grades they earned. The other three were also somewhat dis
appointed, but were certain they could earn better grades in the second


87
center and the study skills clinic which aid in their adjustment outside
the classroom.
The college and the division work cooperatively and their responsi
bilities often overlap in helping the new student become acquainted with
the university. All university students are invited to the major campus
wide orientation, and are expected to register for their classes as a
part of the orientation process. The winter orientation is a signifi
cantly smaller program, since the majority of the students enter in the
fall.
A second orientation is offered by the Special Admissions Program to
introduce the student admitted under the auspices of that program to the
services it provides. Students are contacted by letter by the counselor
in the Program, and given instruction about the services, particularly
the registration process, which is facilitated for them in their first
year.
In addition to the general campus wide orientation and the Special
Admission orientation, the Minority Affairs Office in the Student Affairs
Division conducts a specific orientation and reception for all minority
students regardless of how they were admitted. At this orientation, new
students meet other minority students, including minority student
leaders, minority faculty, administrators, and staff who are employed by
the University. They are given information about University and commu
nity resources to enhance their matriculation, as well as tips on how to
survive as a minority on campus. Usually, a directory of minority staff,
minority organization, and community businesses and churches are made
available at that time.


117
her dormitory. It is interesting to note that despite her gregarious
ness, she was rooted strongly in her black social system. She and her
boyfriend attended predominately black social events, and when her white
roommate left, she chose a black roommate with whom whe was more comfort
able.
Yvette's perceptions about her white peers did not change signifi
cantly in two terms. She was quite at ease interacting with whites at
OSU, perhaps because she was used to relating to them prior to her
attendance at OSU.
Gordon
Gordon describes himself as a loner, who claimed early in the team
to have little time to make friends, or to develop a social life. His
time was devoted to his classes, his job (an eight hour night shift three
times a week at a convenience store) and doing his homework. He
described his social life as non-existent and stated that he had not
attended any social events on campus during the first term. He did not
belong to any social group or clubs, although he was interested in
joining some specific ones:
I, like I said before, I want to join Alphas but that's
another thing, you know. I can't you know they won't be
rushing until the spring. And I might or might not be here
next spring. I know when I spoke to Jim, he was telling me
that he's a Mason. I've alsays been interested in the
Masons.
Most of the people Gordon interacted with at OSU and at his job were
white. He was the only black student in all of his classes and did not
make friends at school. However, his friends from the service were black


A majority of the friends of black students at the univer
sity are attending predominately black colleges and univer
sities. The major consideration of black students who
decided to attend the university was a financial one. The
major reason for black students wanting to attend college
was preparation for making a living.
Black students felt most favorable about professions, had
moderate opinions of white students, and felt least favor
able about administrators. Very few acts of discrimination
were reported having been committed by professors, white
students, or administrators in spite of a general feeling of
their being prejudiced.
Virtually all black students expressed a desire for more
black students, more black faculty, more black administra
tors, more Black Studies Programs, and greater opportunity
for nonfaculty black personnel. The desire for more black
students, however, was most often expressed (pp. x, xi).
Relatively few white individuals or organizations have made
positive overtures in the direction of black students. The
extremely small number of black students at the university
makes it possible for blacks to be ignored without creating
an unassiini 1 ated minority which conceivably could constitute
a threat to the stability of the social system of the
university. In addition, black students are ambivalent as
to whether or not they wish to be assimilated into the
mainstream of campus culture.
Blacks date, study, and socialize mainly with other blacks.
Nonacceptance by whites plays a relatively minor role in
explaining this phenomena. Blacks simply feel more comfort
able around other blacks than they do with whites. More
than actually participating to a greater extent with whites,
black students would like the option of being able to do so.
In order for Blacks to feel that they are first class
citizens in the social system of Orange University, they
must enjoy all the perogatives that true first-class
citizenship implies. There must be enough black students at
Orange University in order to give Blacks a representative
voice on campus. There must be more Black professors at all
academic levels in order to eliminate the feeling that
whites are the sole disseminators of knowledge and erase the
suspicions and fears that this type of thinking generates.
Finally, there must be Blacks in positions of power and
authority. A group cannot feel that it is of equal status
with other groups in a social system unless it has members
of its group in positions of prestige and leadership. These
leaders cannot simply be leaders to the members of that
group, but also must have authority and control over all
participants in the social system, (p. 164-165)


207
The second major long-range perspective was more implicit, but was
equally accepted among the freshmen, and was demonstrated most notably in
their peer relations: Being successful in college means being accepted
by my peers, especially my white peers. The academic and social environ
ments have major influences on a student's life, often having equal
importance. For the new black freshmen the challenge of making friends
and developing relationships with their black peers, was not as strong as
the challenge to make friends and develop relationships with their white
peers. The challenge and curiosity existed simply because of the histor
ical practices in society which segregated blacks and whites. Segregated
institutions of education were the result of this practice. Therefore,
even after 8 years of accepting undergraduate black students at OSU, the
campus was still predominately white, and the challenge to adjust was at
least perceived to be the responsibility of the new minority student, not
the faculty, staff and white students. Therefore, as in the larger
society, outside the campus, the success of the black person in a pre
dominately white setting was in large measure determined by his/her
ability to get along with whites.
This perspective was never expressed verbally in this way, but was
very apparent in the behavior of the four residential freshmen, in parti
cular. Two of them felt this so strongly that their perceived failure to
establish better relationships with whites, and the apparent ease with
which they could relate to blacks, drove them to seriously consider
transferring to the predominately black insititution where most of their
high school friends attended. One of these two also stated, perhaps out
of a desire to establish friendships, that some of her best friends were
white. In fact, she had only casual acquaintances with whites, and


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research could not have been completed without the support of
many friends, colleagues and family members. The author wishes to
express special thanks to the persons described here who were intimately
involved with her during the time of her study.
Dr. Wattenbarger is to be congratulated for his enduring patience;
his support and advice made the study possible. Dr. Eddy introduced the
author to the field of anthropology and provided countless hours of
assistance during the research process. Encouragement and direction from
Dr. Cole was readily available when necessary. Very special thanks must
be given posthumously to Dr. Solon Kimball whose counsel was critical in
the development of the study.
The Whitney Young Foundation of New York City provided the author
with financial support for one year of study and research. The Southern
Education Foundation of Atlanta subsidized the research to facilitate
analysis of the data. The author expresses sincere gratitude to these
foundations for their assistance.
Roland, the author's husband, and her children, Rhona, Roland, Jr.
and Rhys, deserve awards for their love and understanding throughout the
study period. For encouraging words and prayers, the author thanks Bill
Beldan and her friends in the Littleton Congregational Church. The quiet
place in the woods of Harvard where the majority of the writing was
completed, was made available by two wonderful friends, Phil and Lynne
Wood, whom the author can never thank enough. Pamela Johnson, who typed
the dissertation, is appreciated for her talent and hard work.
Finally, the students who participated in the study are warmly
thanked for giving the author the opportunity to seek solutions to
problems of adjustment which are important to all those who support
higher education.


72
educational efforts, and also made similar arrangements to care for her
child when she entered the University, which was 300 miles from her home.
Yvette
Family history. Yvette was the third female and the third of four
children born to a black family in the South. Her two older sisters are
twins, who are married, and do not live at home, and her brother is a
junior in high school. Yvette's parents were divorced and Yvette had a
much closer relationship with her mother than with with her father, but
felt she was close to him, too. Yvette was born and raised in the urban
city of over 700,000 that she calls home. Yvette is a petite, light
brown-skinned young woman with long hair which she wore as a large Afro
or in a long braid around her head.
Yvette's mother, a high school graduate, works as a cook in the
child care department in a junior college in the city where she lives.
Her father, also a high school graduate, attended college, but never
graduated. He works for the Navy, but Yvette was uncertain of his
specific job title. Yvette was uncertain of her family's combined income
(father-mother), yet she did qualify to receive financial aid when she
entered college.
Education. Yvette was a very popular student in her high school
which had a population of over 700 students. Over 50-60% of the students
were black. Yvette was an active member of the school's Honor Society
all four years of high school, was a cheerleader for three years, senior
editor of the Yearbook, a member of the Student Council her senior year,
and a member of the Senior Council. Yvette graduated with a 3.27 average


54
Cooley explained the development of the self in terms of an individual
looking at his expression and appearance in a looking glass. The indivi
dual sees himself and imagines what others see in his expression or
appearance. These imaginations then influence the behavior of the
individual and how he acts towards others. This phenomenon is well
described in Cooley's 1908 article, "The Looking Glass".
A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal
elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other
person; the imagination of his judgement of that appearance,
and some sort of self feeling such as pride or mortifica
tion. The comparison with a looking glass hardly suggests
the second element, the imagined judgements, which is quite
essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not
the mere mechanical reflections of ourselves, but an imputed
sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon
another's mind. (p. 231)
The imputed sentiment comes from the self and is projected on others with
whom the self encounters. This self perception can and often does
influence how one perceives others and is critical to understanding how
students perceive themselves and others they encounter in their campus
environment.
The concept of self was shared by a few other nineteenth century
social scientists, including William James, and James Mark Baldwin, but
was not fully developed in many ways, because of the criticism of its
unscientific, subjective nature (Manis and Meltzer, 1972). However,
George Mead's work on the process of self development revitalized
interest in Cooley's theory, and spawned a new school of thought called
symbolic interactionthe second theory on which this study is based.


104
In the classroom setting, Butch reported that he was not pressured
to be a spokesman for blacks, but added that he thought most professors
felt a responsibility to make references to a minority viewpoint on
issues discussed. He sometimes felt inhibited by other students during
class discussions, and later disclosed that he thought professors pre
ferred to hear white students' views in class.
Butch indicated that he also thought professors resented the fact
that some black students sat together in classes in which they are over
whelmingly outnumbered by whites. On the other hand, he described posi
tive, supportive, individual interaction with professors he consulted
about homework assignments and classwork.
On the dormitory floor where Butch lived, it was difficult not to
notice the ratio of blacks to whites:
I stay right up on the third floor here. And on the whole
floor there's not but two blacks; me and this dude from
Fairfax, you know.
This did not seem to pose any problems for Butch, at least not in the
first term. The two people he socialized with more than others were
Sam, the other black student on the hall, and Joe, a white student whom
Butch particularly admired because of his academic accomplishments. Joe
had taken college courses before graduating from high school, was 18
years old and had already attained junior status. The fact that both of
his new friends were upperclassmen, and majoring in accounting, his
intended area of study, made the attraction even greater for Butch. The
two students were also among the group whose study habits Butch admired.
Since Joe had a car, they were able to attend events on and off campus
with ease. Activities they enjoyed together include riding around in
the car, going out to dinner, and horseback riding.


38
white world which cut them off from their roots. From the
memoirs of such persons as J. Saunders Redding,, one gains a
sense of the way in which all Blacks--including the middle
class--viewed the prospect of education in an environment
which refused to acknowledge their existence, (p. 5)
Other characteristics describing the feelings of black students on
predominately white campuses included depression, anxiety, feelings of
failure, loss of self-esteem (Mackey, 1973).
Harper (1971) spoke of the related, intricate, and rigid bureau
cracy" which adds to the gap between students and their own environment,
which prevents the students from meeting their basic needs, i.e., love
and belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization (p. 257).
Thomas F. Pettigrew, Harvard sociologist, is noted for his book,
A Profile of the American Negro (1964). In the book, his discussion of
the Negro American's reaction to this relegation in the United States as
a second class, inferior human being by the majority, white society,
provides insight into how black students on a white campus might feel as
they become adjusted to the campus. The three modes of behavior
described are:
Moving toward the oppressor. Persons utilizing this means of coping
with society are seeking full acceptance as equal human beings. Racial
integration is the aim, and is reflected in national predominately black
organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, and The Urban League (p. 58).
Moving against the oppressor. This mode is characterized by aggres
sive reactions against the oppressor, as well as avoidance reactions to
the mainstream society, (p. 35)


39
Moving away from the oppressor. In this last major mode of coping
with whites, Pettigrew identified four categories: passivity and with
drawal, social insulation, passing, and extreme escapism.
1. Passivity and withdrawal. In this category, blacks generally
behave in a fashion typically misunderstood by whites who mis
take the passive acquiescence shown by blacks as indifference.
2. Social insulation. Characterized mainly by those blacks who are
of the middle class, this category is demonstrated by those who
can effectively stay away from their poorer brothers and sisters
and the uppity whites through economic means.
3. Extreme escapism. Most of the escape routes exhibited by blacks
are similar to those common to the general society, but to a
higher degree--alcoholism and drug addiction. These drugs can
place a person in another world without the problems and
pressures of racism, unemployment, and the general unhappiness
of the poor.
Almost a decade after Pettigrew's classic, Gibbs (1974), a psychi
atric social worker, utilizing his model, documented similar patterns of
behavior exhibited by black students at Stanford University. In her
study, of forty-one cases, 22 were female and 19 were male. The vari
ables used to analyze her data included socioeconomic status of the
student's family, the extent of the student's exposure to high school
integration, the student's ability to handle academic tasks, and the
student's feelings of self-adequacy. The patterns discussed from the
student's behavior were coping patterns directed toward the resolution of
the conflict generated by ethnic or sociocultural marginality. The first
three modes of behavior found in the student population are basically the


242
10.When I take a course on the Special Admissions Program, I know that I
may take the exams in the course three times, if necessary. Because
I know this, I have a tendency to:
l=study less
2=study more
3=not let that influence my study habits
11.I believe that if I studied more:
1=1 could make better grades
2=my grades would be about the same
12.After my first term at the university, my grades were:
l=better than I expected
2=worse than I expected
3=about what I expected
13.After my second term at the university, my grades were:
l=better than I expected
2=worse than I expected
3=about what I expected
14.Did your second term's grades improve over your first term's?
l=yes
2=no
15.I think I study:
l=more than my friends
2=about the same as my friends
3=less than my friends do
16.Overall, my academic experiences here at the university have been:
l=very good
2=good
3=average
4=poor
5=very poor


13
about adaptations to the University. Afterwards, they were asked to join
the researcher and share the same with the entire group. Tape recordings
were made of the large group discussions.
Data collected from the pilot study and the review of the literature
were used in designing the study formulating questions for the investiga
tion and for defining categories for analyses.
Sample
The admissions officer at the University who recruits minority
students provided the researcher with a list of black freshmen accepted
for admission to the Winter term. The researcher suggested that he relay
the general nature of the study to the new students and inform them of
the researcher's intent to contact them. This was done and facilitated
the introduction of the study to the students. Fifteen students were
contacted by the recruiter and were receptive to being contacted by the
researcher. This type of sampling is called purposive. "The basic
assumption behind purposive sampling is that with good judgment and an
appropriate strategy one can hand-pick the cases to be included in the
sample and thus develop samples that are satisfactory in relation to
one's needs". (Sellitz et al., 1959, p. 520)
A letter explaining the study and introducing the researcher was
mailed to the students in December. Included in the letter was a stamped
post card addressed to the researcher, which requested the student's
signature if she or he agreed to participate in the study (see Appendix
A). Eight of the fifteen students responded affirmatively, and five were
eventually chosen to assist with the study.


108
different from what I thought they were; I will be more comfortable
around people who are more like me--who understand my lifestyle and who
accept me; my black friends and my uncles were right about whites 'not
accepting blacks'; and I am confused and angry about this change in my
social life.
Janice
Janice's social life revolved around Tina, a black student who
became her best friend, her roomates, her boyfriend, and her family. She
did very little single dating, and usually went out with her female
friends. (During the second term, Janice became engaged to her boyfriend
from home, who was also the father of her child.) Tina introduced her to
social activities on and off campus. Together they attended black
fraternity dances, participated in a racially-integrated Bible study
class, went shopping and out to dinner, attended concerts, and more than
anything else sat around talking in the dormitory. Janice believed that
the biggest social problem she had was not having enough social events on
campus that related to her lifestyle. She did not belong to any student
organizations, but was interested in joining the Gosepl Choir because
Tina was a member. Most of Janice's friends at OSU were black.
In discussing her black/white relations, Janice reported that she
found most whites and blacks very friendly on campus. She was not always
conscious of being a minority student and found the campus atmosphere
very comfortable. Janice stated that she had not experienced any racial
discrimination on campus, but had been involved with at least two inci
dents off campus in which she and Tina felt they had experienced racial


185
Activities and Group Interaction
The subquestions under the one on phenomena affecting the freshmen's
adjustment asked what activities they participated in during adjustment
and which groups they interacted with. Tables 5 and 6 present a list of
activities students participated in and the personnel with whom they
interacted. A specific notation also described the individuals or groups
with whom they engaged in the activity. Overall, the four freshmen who
lived on campus reported their social lives to be generally satisfactory.
In addition, three of the four indicated that they were able to find more
than enough interesting things to do on campus, despite a desire for more
activities which related to their lifestyles.
It is clear also from the data that the students who lived on campus
were very involved with their hallmates, other students living in dormi
tories, or on-campus activities. Their primary off-campus socialization
involved their trips home. There was little contact with the community
surrounding the university.
The student who lived off campus described himself as a loner whose
social life was non-existent. His participation in activities were
centered on his school work and his job. On occasion he would play
basketball with neighbors, otherwise his activities were tied to his
class, his daily routine at work and his studying schedule. A brief
review of the individual freshmen will help the reader understand the
pattern of activities during this important year.


216
1. Better than average academic record in high school and effective
study habits.
2. Experience and interaction with their white peers beyond a
casual level. (Committee work, team participation, and other
activity which force interaction which in turn fosters knowledge
about each others cultures.)
3. Realistic knowledge and information about college life.
4. Friendship with or acquaintance with successful black
upper-class models, who are able to give informed advice about
campus services, prior to their attendance.
5. Receptive university officials who are knowledgeable about
freshmen, especially the adjustment of minorities on majority
populated campuses.
6. Available written information about campus resources and
services.
7. Greater reflections campus-wide of the acceptance and
appreciation of Afro-Americans more faculty, courses about
Afro-Americans, more cultural events reflecting social lifestyle
of students.
8. Required academic advising sessions with faculty at least twice
a term for review of coursework, and for preparation for
registration.


79
learn and get along with others; and one attended because it was close to
home and less expensive than the out-of-state schools to which she had
been accepted. Each of the students had relatives who had entered
college at some time, and three had relatives who had four year degrees.
All students had identified major areas of interest prior to attending,
although they were not certain enough to make a final decision to declare
a major their first year. Though these students and their families were
excited about their attendance at OSU, at least two freshmen had friends
who were puzzled and curious about why they wanted to attend a white
school".
The five freshmen attending OSU determined that OSU was the best
option for them. Four of the five had been accepted by other institu
tions and one only applied to OSU. These freshmen, who all graduated in
the top half of their classes, had attended integrated high schools and
were familiar with going to school with whites. Only two of the five
students had over 50% Black population in their high schools. Three of
the five had successful high school experiences in extracurricular acti
vities and thus were used to participating in the social arena, as well
as the academic.
Four of the students made a contact at the university through the
minority admissions officer; two (Janice and Butch) had visited campus in
anticipation of their arrival; two (Janice and Claire) had corresponded
with the administration and received approval to attend junior college
prior to their entrance, and two (Yvette and Claire) already had friends
attending.
The issue of race which so preoccupied the new students in the 1970
study was not openly expressed as a concern. Each of the students in


Ill
a couple of occasions, her white peers came to her aid. Her perceptions
about whites were that whites are friendly, sometimes, but cannot be
trusted entirely; whites choose not to interact with blacks as a rule;
whites are generally indifferent to blacks on campus; and whites in the
community around OSU are more prejudiced than whites at home.
Claire
Claire was a gregarious person who enjoyed talking and participating
in group activities. She indicated that she belonged to racially mixed
friendship groups, as well as black groups. She reported that her best
friends were black students whom she met after attending OSU. Her social
life involved mainly group dating, and the greatest social problem she
had was not having enough black males or a variety of black males from
which to choose dating partners. She also complained that there were too
few things to do and enjoy at OSU. She went home on weekends to attend
social activities both terms.
Most of the social activities she attended were sponsored by the
dormitory or by black fraternities and sororities. She learned of"the
social events through posters and signs around campus, and from talking
to friends in the dormitory lounges and lobbies. She did not belong to
any campus organizations, but was interested in joining the Black Student
Union, a black sorority, and the University gospel choir. She did not
feel that her social life at OSU changed very much from what it was prior
to her attending.
Claire stated that she was very conscious of being a minority
student on campus. Even though she found both blacks and whites in her


55
Symbolic Interaction
Mead's theory of symbolic interaction, as discussed in his book,
Mind, Self and Society (1934), is very important in terms of understand
ing the meaning of the person, or self. Mead's key supposition (like
Cooley's) was that the human being has a self. Mead, however, went
further than Cooley, and related that the self can act towards itself and
toward others. Furthermore, he stated that this (acting towards self and
others) was the central mechanism by which a person deals with his world.
(Mead's works were organized and presented as a theory from his lectures
and notes after his death. Much of his work has been interpreted and
analyzed by colleagues and other professionals as is the case here.)
Mead (1934) felt that the self was a social process involving two
different phases, identified as the "I" and "me". The "I" represents the
spontaneous, impulsive tendencies of an individual; the "me" represents
the organized, incorporated, other, i.e., definitions, expectations, and
meanings. The interplay between the two gives rise to a person's
actions. Meltzer (1972) has described it this way:
The "I" being spontaneous and propulsive, offers the poten
tiality for new creative activity. The "me" being regula
tory, disposes the individual to both goal-directive activ
ity and conformity. In the operation of these aspects of
self, we have the basis for, on the one hand, social con
trol, and on the other, novelty and innovation. We are thus
provided with a basis for understanding the mutuality of the
relationship between the individual and society, (p. 11)
Coombs and Snygg (1959) in their book on Individual Behavior described
the phenomenal self as the aspects of the perceptual fields to which we
normally refer to when we say 'I' or 'me'. In common with Mead's (1934)
idea on self, they felt that maintenance of this phenomenal self was and


166
Parents and relatives also gave advice to the freshmen and
influenced their lives in ways which were not always congruent with the
students' wishes. Butch's uncle strongly advised on a regular basis that
he avoid social contact with whites, especially white females. This
advice created a dilemma for Butch in his first term because he was
experiencing such success and pleasure with his new white friends and
hallmates. However, when his social interaction with his white friends
decreased the second term, it was easier to heed his uncle's warning and
to believe that it was in his best interest to do so.
Claire experienced another type of social pressure from her mother
and aunts. Whenever she talked with them, they asked her who she was
dating, or asked when she planned to get serious with a young man.
Claire did not like feeling pressured about her social life even though
she was also interested in finding someone for single dating. It was.
difficult to measure the influence of relatives from her own wishes about
dating. In an interview, as well as on her completed questionnaire, she
reported her biggest social problem as not having enough black males to
choose from for potential dates.
It was the researcher's observation that overall the 1978 freshmen
received strong support from their families about their attendance at
OSU, especially, and about their social lives. On the other hand, there
seemed to be an absence of inquiry from parents and relatives about
academic issues, except after the term when grades were received. Both .
Janice and Yvette received encouragement from their mothers after they
expressed reservations about returning because of their grades. It's not
clear whether this type of support did not occur because students
believed that their parents' unfamiliarity with the school prevented them


94
they could count toward her requirement, but could not be averaged into
her OSU grade point average. At the junior college she registered for
General Chemistry, Fundamentals of Composition, and an intermediate
Algebra course, totaling 9 credit hours. She completed those courses,
and earned more than the minimum C average.
Janice had no regular academic advisor, but did seek help from an
advisor for spring registration. She found him helpful in selecting
her courses, but she did not follow his advice entirely. He suggested
that she register for a third english course, another social science, and
the second course in chemistry, the sequel to the one she had at junior
college. Janice accepted his advice on everything except the chemistry
course. She decided that the chemistry course she took in junior college
was too general, and that she needed the introductory course offered at
the university before attempting a sequel to it. She did experience a
smoother registration for the second term, and was one half hour early
for her appointment. Janice concentrated on taking required courses
because she was not sure what she wanted to major in. She was interested
in medicine but did not know if she wanted to go to medical school.
Claire
Arrival on campus. Claire was accompanied to school by her mother,
an aunt, and two cousins--one of whom was already a student at OSU. She
was greeted by her resident assistant, who gave her her room assignment,
keys, and other information about the dormitory. When she first arrived
she had two roommates, one black and one white, but soon after she moved
in the white roommate moved to a triple room on another floor. The


11
In his reflections on his field research for Street Corner Society,
Whyte (1943) commented on how he used this method.
Although I could not cover all Cornerville, I was building
up the structure and functioning of the community through
intensive examination of some of its parts in action. I was
relating the parts together through observing events between
groups and between group leaders and the members of the
larger institutional structures of politics and the rackets.
I was seeking to build a sociology based upon observed
interpersonal events, (p. 358)
The community study method seeks to describe what is natural and is
different from controlled experiments. The four major characteristics of
any community study as described by Arensberg and Kimball (1972) are as
fol1ows:
1. The community under study must be a whole or representa
tive community. In other words, a reasonable representation
of the different sexes, ages, classes, sects of the majority
and minority members of an area must be present or included
in the defined community. Each and every segment does not
have to be represented in each study. However, Arensberg
stated that "the community is still representative which
knows and deals with persons and things of its culture and
society, as long as a minimal number, a minimal contact, and
a minimal continuity connects them . pattern and aware
ness, structuring and relationships, not numbers is of the
essence" (p. 25). The method is by nature comparative since
it must be alike or different from some other community.
2. Several techniques of observation and data collection
must be used. Examples of techniques used in this type of
study include questionnaires, surveys, in-depth interview
ing, participative observation, sociometrics, and house-
to-house canvasses.
3. Third, there is a requirement to reexamine existing
data. Simply stated this means that the researcher cannot
assume that data already collected are the most accurate,
even though he/she uses it.
4. Fourth, a new working model is required as a result of
this hypothesis--generating comparative methodology. The
community study technique evolves ideally into model build
ing through three stages: (a) construction of the model
through the data collected, (b) comparison with other exist
ing models or those examining exact data collected before
this study (see characteristic (3), and (c) integrating
problems within the new model created by study, (pp. 31-34)


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of Problem 5
Justification for the Study 6
Methodology 10
Data Analysis 16
A Look Ahead 18
II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 19
Overview 19
Who Is This Black Student in Higher Education? 20
Problems Of Black Students 30
Adaptive Behaviors 36
Developing Perspectives 44
Institutional Response to Black Students 47
Theoretical Framework 53
Summary 60
III. THE WINTER TERM FRESHMEN 62
The Orange State University 62
Family History/Educational Background 66
The Special Admission Program 80
Orientation, Advising, and Registration 86
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old 102
Black-Black Peer Relationships 120
If I Study More, My Grades Will Improve 128
I Didn't Know We Had a Dean of Students 148
IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS 154
Student Characteristics 154
Comparison of 1971 Students and 1978 Freshmen 158
What Phenomena Influenced Student Adjustment? 162
Was Race a Factor in Students' Adjustment
to the University? 191
What Patterns of Behavior Were Developed
by Students Adjusting to the University? 194
What Perspectives Did Students Develop to Solve Problems
While Adjusting to the University? 205
Freshmens' Perceptions about Adjusting 210
Perspectives Developed by Freshmen 212
V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 217
i v


196
and excited him. As he entered a predominantly white community in which
to live and attend school, his dominant group was threatened and for at
least one term, he aspired to gain acceptance with another reference
group in addition to the one back home. This new group identification
follows the third definition of reference group which Merton (1957)
described as an attempt to seek approval to enhance our own status.
It is very interesting to describe how Butch and the others viewed
themselves and interacted with others in terms of Cooley's (1908) thesis
of self and Mead's (1934) on symbolic interaction. Butch's social self
was used to interacting in a dominant culture with which he was comfort
able. He had no real difficulty interacting with others in his environ
ment prior to attending OSU, and thus the research about the social pro
cessing involving the "I" or spontaneous part of him, and the "me" or
controlling conformist aspect, were in balance, and he was comfortable
with himself. In addition, his symbolic interaction with his family and
peers led to the belief that his interpretation of situations were
accurate and led to smooth and effective communication with others. In
other words, Butch's perception of his world and of himself were satis
factory, and he was able to function in his environment well.
In the beginning at OSU, he was pleased that he seemed to be func
tioning well too. He was making friends, getting involved socially with
hallmates and roommates, enjoying classes and virtually ignored everyone
on campus who represented his former lifestyle. Going out to restaurants
and horseback riding were part of his new college experiences with his
peers. Even contact with Sam, the black upperclassman, was different
since Sam was older and was advising him to get out of the SAP program--
a move he desired anyway to get away from the other black students.


232
The routine questions asked of each student at each interview
included:
1. How are you doing in your courses?
2. Have you had any exams this week?
3. Describe any important events that have occured since the last
time we talked.
4. Are you having any problems in your classes? In the dormitory?
5. How much have you interacted with other students in your classes
this week?
6. How well do you think you're adjusting to the university?
7. Who has been the greatest help to you this week in handling any
problems or difficulties?
8.' When have you heard from your family?
9. What social events have you attended since last week?
10. Which friends have you interacted with this week?


226
students tend to believe everything told to them by their peers.
Faculty working with minority students should be sensitized and
educated about the history of minorities in higher education and
on the local campus.
6. Current information about campus services and current resources
is absolutely necessary as back up to whatever information they
hear from their peers or through the campus grapevine. It would
be best to make this information available prior to their
attendance at the university.
B. After entering the university community students should:
1. Be assigned to university housing with residential assistants
knowledgeable about history of minority students adjusting to
campus, and to areas which house black and white students. This
recommendation implies training all housing personnel about
the special problems of any minority student (but in this case,
especially black students) adjusting to campus. Where students
live should be one of the most comfortable places for them on
campus. Residential staff can foster greater understanding and
acceptance by other residents, and can be viewed by minority
students as the resource people they should be for all students.
2. Be required to attend the university-wide orientation and the
special admissions orientation. Separating the two fosters the
idea of a separate university, and the importance of each should
be recognized by all personnel with whom the students come in


4
prepared to receive them. John Egerton in a 1969 report on newly
integrated institutions of higher education described this problem:
One of the most serious problems accompanying increased
desegregation in predominately white colleges and universi
ties could be called unpreparedness. Institutions which
have reached beyond the "super blacks" with impeccable
credentials to admit students whose backgrounds and prior
preparation set them apart from regular students have often
experienced a variety of difficulties. The unpreparedness
of these students has frequently been noted in institutional
studies and press reports. But the institutions, too, are
often unprepared, not only to deal with the so-called "high
risk" students but with black students generally. "High-
risk" is a two-sided coin; the institutions take a risk on
the students, but the reverse is also true, and the risk any
black student takes when he enters a white-oriented institu
tion is substantial. Universities, despite popular senti
ments to the contrary, are conservative institutions; the
process of change in them is sometimes glacially slow, and
many of them have not yet demonstrated either the skill or
the determination to educate students--whatever their race--
who differ markedly from the middled ass white students they
are accustomed to having. (p. 94)
This mutual unpreparedness of the new black students and the tradition
ally white institutions was and still is a major factor in the poor
adjustment of many black students to predominately white campuses.
A 1980 Office of Education study of seven predominately white insti
tutions, conducted by Donald Smith, revealed that institutions had
changed very little since the 1960's. In reviewing Smith's work,
Poinsett (1980) reported that black students still complained of feeling
depressed, alienated in PWI's where the environments were described as
"hostile" (p. 55). Perhaps worst of all, black students are still expe
riencing the negative effects resulting from the apparent belief of white
faculty and white students that all or most blacks are special admission
students or are enrolled to meet affirmative action quotas, and therefore
are not legitimate students. Successful adaptation and the onus to
develop improved relations between black students and their institutions


208
rarely initiated contact with them. On the other hand, the other two
residential freshmen had developed good friendships with white peers,
while they maintained and strengthened relationships with their old and
new black peers. They had plans to remain at OSU. The students' success
or failure to relate to their white peers was inevitably a part of their
academic and social lives because they were in the minority. Persons in
the majority were the only ones with "choice" regarding whether to relate
to the minority population in their lives at college.
Students' attention was drawn to how they perceived and handled
their relationship with their white peers in many ways. For example,
after Claire arrived in her dorm room, her white roommate moved out to
join a white friend. Was her move racially motivated? Butch's white
friends from the first term had little to do with him during the second
term. Was this lack of shared activities racially motivated? The ques
tion always arose. Janice's white acquaintances seemed friendly some
times, very cold and nasty other times. Were their actions racially
motivated? Yvette's roommate moved to another room towards the end of
the first term. She was unsure why the roommate moved. Was it to get
away from her as a black roommate? The black freshmen were never sure if
these incidents were racially motivated, and responded to them as respec
tive world views and experiences dictated.
The older student was not identified with this second perspective as
much as the other four. He already had experiences in the military as a
minority, and as a loner did not express as much about his relationships
with white peers, as his lack of relationships with anyone in his envir
onment. Nevertheless, these two perspectives were the major academic
and social issues from which all other problems and perspectives arose.


15
the researcher created a semi-structured, open-ended survey of students
to seek data under the following headings (see Appendix C):
(A) Demographic Data
(B) Entrance and Orientation to the University
(C) Academic Advisement and Registration
(D) Classroom Experience
(E) Study Habits
(F) Personal-Social Experiences
(G) Black-White Relations
(H) Administrative-Student Relations
The questionnaire was administered to each student individually
after the final weekly interview. These data were collected for compari
son with the data gathered in the regular weekly interview, as one means
of verifying their reliability.
The third method of collecting data was through observation of the
students in some of their campus settings. The researcher was able to
act as a participant observer with the students during weekly interviews,
through unscheduled interaction at campus activities, and during pre
arranged class visits during the two quarters.
The last method of data collection was examination of the official
documents published by the University which explained or described cer
tain policies, programs and activities which were in effect or were prac
ticed during 1977-78, the period of the research. The documents consisted
of the Undergraduate Catalogue, the Student Handbook, and the annual
report of the Special Support Services. In addition, student records and
the winter and spring issues of the daily student newspaper were examined
and analyzed. All data were collected and analyzed by the researcher.


TABLE 4-6
Interaction with University Personnel
Yvette
Claire
Janice
Butch
Gordon
Admissions Officer
?
X
X
Resident Assistant
X
X
X
Special Admit Staff
X
X
X
College Advisors
(faculty/admin.)
X
X
X
X
X
Administrator in
Undergraduate College
X
Dean for Minority Affairs
X
X
Student Accounting Staff
X
Registrar
X
X
Veterans Advisor
X


90
them and offered to help them around campus. Butch was most impressed
and excited, though, about Joe, a white, 18 year old junior, who became a
good friend of his.
Well, if it wasn't for Joe, I would still mostly be lost, as
far as this area in general is concerned. He's just a good
friend. And like we go out all the time, about 2 weeks ago
we went horseback riding.
Orientation. Butch attended the campus-wide orientation for all new
students. He went by himself and reported that he found the orientation
very helpful, especially the sessions on how to register for classes. He
did not attend the SAP orientation or the one sponsored by the Minority
Affairs Office at the Afro-American Cultural Center.
Registration. Butch initiated the registration process by attempt
ing to see an advisor. However, after being referred to several differ
ent offices he soon became rather frustrated:
After I got here and they started sending me around. ... I
said I'm not gonna go through all this. . I'm just gonna
deal with Mr. C (the admissions officer).
Butch did visit Mr. C, the admissions officer, who referred him to a
Special Admissions Advisor. The advisor helped him select his courses,
and referred him to the curriculum coordinator to find out which classes
had already been filled and closed. Butch did this, acquired appropriate
signatures for his registration card, and finally registered for four
courses totaling 13 credit hours. The only course he wanted and was
unable to get was a math course. All the math courses had been closed by
the time he registered. He was advised to wait to try and get the course
for the next school term.
The entire registration process took about two hours. Butch was
amazed that he finished in so short a time. It had taken his roommates


156
Table 4-1
Comparison of Freshmen Characteristics with
National Black Student Characteristics
National Black Student
Characteristics
Butch
Janice
Cl ai re
Yvette
Gordon
1. Financial aid primary
source of aid
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Noa
2. Must work to
supplement funding
for education
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3. Feel inadequately
prepared for college
No
No
No
No
Yes
4. Confident in ability
to succeed
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Not
certain
5. Poor, urban first
generation college
students
Yes
Yes
Yes
Except
Rural
Yes
No
6. Females differ from
males in family
background and
academic behavior

No
No
No

7. Most never attended
other colleges
Yes
Junior
College
1 Sem.
Junior
Col lege
1 Sem.
Yes
Yes
8. Tend to major in
traditional areas such
as social science,
education
No
Account
ing
Not
Decided
No
Physical
Therapy
No
Zoology
No
Engi
neering
9. Parents are
high school graduates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
10. Parents taken some
college courses
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
11. Relatives have
college degrees
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
a G.I. Bill, savings, work


71
Janice was not very involved in extracurricular activities in high
school, although she belonged to some clubs and enjoyed spectator sports.
In January, Janice applied for admission to OSU. During that time she
also applied to three out-of-state, predominately black institutions.
She was accepted at two of the black institutions, and at OSU. One of
Janice's cousins had graduated from one of the black institutions which
accepted her and encouraged her to attend, yet Janice was torn between
leaving her family and the excitement of the adventures described by her
cousin.
She was accepted at OSU for the summer Special Admit Program because
her SAT scores from the winter testing were not competitive for admission
for the Fall class for which she applied. Janice reported that her
decision to attend OSU was based on its reputation as a good school. It
was close to home, and it cost less to attend than the out-of-state
schools to which she had been accepted. Janice knew she would need
financial aid and believed her decision to attend OSU was a good one.
She requested that the University delay her summer admission because she
had scheduled to take the SAT again in May in an effort to improve her
scores. Janice's first child was also arriving in June, and she needed
more time to make adjustments about her life prior to attending school.
Janice's second SAT scores were higher overall, but not high enough to
qualify her for regular admission. She was accepted under the Special
Admit Program for January, a year after she first applied for admission.
In the meantime, Janice gave birth to a baby boy, and received
permission from OSU to attend a local junior college for the Fall term.
She had made arrangements with her mother and grandmother to care for her
son, while she commuted to college. Her family was very proud of her


32
5. That they would contribute as much to the university as it
contributed to them, and this would benefit the institution
(p. 464-465)
The expectations of these two groups led to identifiable problems for the
students. These problems included
1. Difficulty in establishing meaningful personal identities
2. Conflict in interpersonal reactions with black and white
students
3. Problems in developing long range goals
4. Sexual and aggressive feelings, and
5. The problems of autonomy with no guidance (p. 465-466)
Nieves (1977) suggests that although problems which minorities
report are also characteristic of the average college student, they are
more severe because of the minority student's lack of preparation and
unrealistic expectations, (p. 2)
Some of the attitudes and feelings bred by such problems include
Feeling unentitled to college. Minority students often
report this feeling on attitude surveys, and faculty members
concur. Students often express self-depreciating opinions
by pointing to their inadequate academic preparation, low
grade averages, and low achievement scores. They also say
they feel uncomfortable with nonminority students and
faculty members because they are made to feel inferior,
unrespected, and different.
Loneliness and isolation. Many students feel a pervasive
stress stemming from insufficient opportunity to relate to
other minority group members on white-dominated campuses.
Unrealistic goals. Minority students enter college with
even less of a general idea of what they want to do than
traditional students. Minority students' aspirations and
career goals are either unrealistically high or
unrealistically low.


140
She was so disappointed in her overall performance that she didn't want
to return to school:
I didn't want to come back. I told my mother about my
grades. She says...Well, that's not too bad for your first
term. So, go on, give it another try--Study. All
right? So I have come back. I feel pretty comfortable this
time with my courses.
Janice was enrolled in another English course, a math course, which
she took on an ungraded basis, another physical education course, and the
introductory cChemistry course. Her plans for the second term included
getting more rest, studying more, and communicating with her professors.
When asked about her general feeling after her first term in school,
Janice responded this way:
Not what I expected, at all! It's been a hectic term.
I mean, I hope next term is better. Like, I though
everything was A-OK, no hassles. Registration was the
biggest hassle. And then, my grades.
During the second term, Janice felt that she was studying more.
When asked how she felt about her performance in her classes, she
responded this way:
Better, a lot better. I feel more comfortable, since I
studied more.
For the second term, she predicted that she would earn three B's, and an
S or pass in the ungraded course she enrolled in.
Janice actually earned 2 C's, 1 D, and an S in the ungraded course.
She was disappointed, but was not interested in giving up on school, like
she was after her first term.


8
are interested in. If we do not see it as they doas a
dense network of social relationships, institutional
demands and constraints, and temporarily connected
contingencies--we will not be able to understand what they
do. (pp. 1-2)
This study reported here reveals students' perspectives about their
everyday activities within the settings of classrooms, extracurricular
activities, living arrangements and natural groupings on the campus.
Finally, this study was conducted to emphasize the need for more
field research in the area of social relations in education. Field
studies conducted in natural, realistic environments are particularly
meaningful in developing new hypotheses, discovering relations among
variables, and laying the groundwork for more rigorous testing of ques
tions and hypotheses (Kerlinger, 1973). The approach that seeks to
understand life in the context and setting of the person being studied is
referred to by anthropologists, sociologists, and other behavioral scien
tists as an in vivo study. It requires the technique of participant
observation, as a means of collecting data, and utilizes a combination of
techniques such as interviewing and surveys, to facilitate the under
standing of persons in their own setting. This study utilizes the
participation-observation method, questionnaire and interview in
collecting data.
Use of varied techniques is becoming more popular in educational
research, but is usually confined to the social sciences. In their book,
Unobtrusive Measures, Webb, Campbell, Schwartz and Sechrest (1966) des
cribed the limitations of single instrumentation in conducting research,
and advocated (whenever possible) a multiple operational methodology for
more reliable results (pp. 105). Pelto (1970) has also described multi-
instrument research as a means which "greatly enhanced the credibility of


78
six months before he was released from the service, yet on his arrival in
August all the necessary paperwork had not been sent to the admissions
office from the Air Force. He had mixed feelings about attending right
away since the papers were missing!
There were quite a few papers missing so I said, "Forget it!
I'll go out and find a job real quick and just work, and sit
out this quarter...I'll wait. And I wasn't really sure I
wanted to start right into school, anyway. I wanted, I
guess I was worried and tense about going to college. I...
there was a fear of failing...of getting in and not doing
well.
After getting settled in his apartment off campus, Gordon found a
part-time job at a convenience store. He would have to work at least
part-time when school started to supplement his savings and the educa
tional benefits from the GI bill.
Summary: Family History and Educational Background
The five freshmen in this study are not unlike the black students
described in Shenkman's study of 1970, or Boyd's study in 1974. The
majority (4 of 5) were natives of the state and they hailed from
supportive families in which both parents had at least a high school
education. The majority resided in urban areas (only one rural resident)
and all needed financial assistance in order to attend the University.
Unlike the students in Shenkmen's (1971) study, the freshmen in this
study had a variety of reasons for attending OSU, not just financial.
Two were influenced to attend by friends who were already students at
OSU; one entered particularly because of the reputation of the engineer
ing school and its proximity to NASA; one had been convinced since child
hood that OSU was the best school in the state and the one where he could


98
And the counselor told me of all the classes I could take...
that I should try to get in. And after he told me the
classes, he sent me to another office for the Special Admit
students. And then three ... of the five classes I'm
taking were under the special program. It was a little
easier, after I knew what I was looking for.
It still took Yvette another day to register because most of the classes
she needed were closed. She finally enrolled in all the courses the
advisor suggested except one, and this is how she made a decision to get
into her last class:
I had to add a Behavioral Studies class and I was told to
take BES 221. I went up to one of the professor's rooms,
he told me that his 221 class was filled. But he had an
opening in his 251 BES class which was mostly a research
class and if I would like to, I could get in that class
because he thought I might be able to handle it 'cause I
didn't have such a heavy load. So I went ahead and took
that 'cause I was tired. By that time I was tired of going
back and forth and dropping the courses. And climbing all
those stairs. So I went on and took his class and it's
working out all right so far.
Yvette's final schedule for the first term included a social science
course, a behavioral studies course, an english composition course, a
writing lab, and a physical education course.
During the term Yvette continued to seek help from the academic
advisor who helped her at her first registrati on. She preregistered for
the second quarter with the help of this advisor, whom she found know
ledgeable and helpful in selecting courses. She normally registered for
10-13 credit hours, usually 4 or 5 courses each quarter. None of her
preregistration efforts were as difficult as her first registration at
the University.


222
3. What Were the Students1 Perceptions About Race as a Factor Affecting
Their Adjustment to the University?
As a group the students were not pre-occupied with thoughts and
feelings about their acceptance as black students on campus because they
had previously experienced being a minority in an integrated setting.
They were all comfortable enough in the environment to function as
students without wondering with every interaction how they would be
perceived. Yet they were aware, seemingly on an unconscious level, that
they were members of a minority group, once denied acceptance to the
university. They could physically see the small numbers. They knew most
blacks were accepted through the special admissions program, and were
very conscious of the lack of social and cultural activities with which
to identify on campus.
Three of the five reported that they were generally not conscious of
their race difference on campus, whereas the other two generally felt
conscious about being minority students. Two of the females, one who was
interested in leaving and one who was well adjusted, reported that they
believed whites regretted that blacks were attending OSU. The other
three believed whites to be indifferent to blacks attending the univer
sity. Despite these general feelings, the freshmen seemed to define
their adjustment about racial issues in terms of their prior experience
with whites, their everyday feedback with people they encountered and
their determination to succeed.
Overt discrimination and expressions of prejudice were not
experienced by any of the students, although for some, racial tensions
arose in the dormitory on occasion. Most of the students were also able


175
an advanced course for upperclassmen. Janice never questioned the advice
given by her roommate whom she assumed was knowledgeable because she was
a sophomore who had successfully completed the freshman year.
Another student, Yvette, was formally advised by a faculty member,
and used information from her boyfriend and hallmates as secondary to
that of the professor. On the other hand, she was a member of a study
group formed in one of her classes and they discussed many academic
issues and met frequently. Her study habits were also influenced by her
peers whom she decided to join in this way.
The freshmen were very open to the experiences of their peers about
classes and other academic issues because they were new and unfamiliar
with what was supposed to happen. They observed their peers and often
imitated or planned to imitate what they saw. Butch was fascinated, for
example, by the group study process he witnessed for several evenings in
his dorm, when five upperclass students taking an accounting course,
worked together to practice solving problems for a big exam they had to
take. Butch commented that he too would like to find freshmen to study
with someday in the same way. The individual peer influence on academic
issues could be negative or positive, and that is why some common experi
ences, such as contact with an advisor or other university resource is
important for new students.
A common peer experience missing for the freshmen and one usually
characteristic of the SAP was the assignment of peer advisors. These
upperclass students are trained to help new special admit students adjust
to the program. This void may have contributed to the general confusion
and uncertainty which was common to all the freshmen about the purpose of
the SAP. The fact that none of the four attended the special admissions


130
Butch preferred professors to graduate assistant teachers since that
experience.
During his first term, Butch did not interact very much with his
professors--in or out of class. He did state, though, that if he mis
understood something in class, he was more likely to ask for clarifica
tion from the professor right then in class, instead of waiting to
approach the professor after class, or asking a classmate. Of particular
interest were Butch's reactions to a class he enjoyed very much, and one
he found very boring. His favorite class during the first term was
taught by a professor who reminded him of one of his high school history
teachers:
Like you know, this social science in a way is like history.
And during high school, I had just about what most of the
students said was the meanest teacher in the school. Cause
you know he would say, "You can't believe nothing I say".
But if you didn't listen to him, you'd fail the test. I
happened to make an "A" in that class, and I used to jive
with the teacher. And as long as you kept conversing with
him, and participating in the discussions, you could make it.
Butch liked the professor's style and said that he participated more in
this class than any other class his first term. At the same time, Butch
was reluctant to discuss an exam grade with the professor in this class.
He made a "C" on his first exam, although he was certain that he per
formed better. He was equally as sure he had done better work on the
second one--on which he missed an "A" by 1/4 of a point. He didn't
understand why this happened, but did not want to talk to the professor
about it.
I'll just keep on and as long as I make a "B", I'll be
satisfied. I take a test today, and hopefully I can make an
"A" on this one, that may average to a "B". . But you
know, a "B" I could easily improve to an "A".


251
5. Which of the following things seem to be positive steps that the
university administration should take to assist in the adjustment
of black students? Please check all that apply.
l=hire more black faculty
2=hire more black administrators
3=admit more black students
4=conduct human relations workshops to facilitate understanding
between the two races (this would be for students, faculty, staff)
5=offer more financial aids
6=sponsor more events and activities that include the black culture
7=none of the above
8=(Add something you think would help)


188
Claire
Claire also enjoyed activities with her hallmates. She was the
freshman who reported not having enough things to do socially. She often
cooked with her hallmates, watched TV, and attended parties with Yvette.
Claire's cousin had a car and would invite her to go home, or to visit
friends on the other side of campus. She did attend church off campus
twice, but usually confined social activities to campus. She cut down on
socializing in the dorm her second term because she increased her
studying time.
Gordon
Gordon's social life with persons outside his daily routine was
limited. Toward the end of the second term, he decided to reduce his
work hours in order to spend more time with others. He was lonely, and
eventually entered the Big Brother/Big Sister Program and was assigned a
13 year old boy with whom he planned activities on a weekly basis.
The students' group interaction varied as described in Chapter III.
Some belonged to residential groups and study groups in class, others
belonged to no group at all. Overall, the students' peer group from home
and their new friends at school were the people with whom they interacted
most. Hallmates, roommates, peers in study groups were the more popular
groups.


28
A decade later, Astin's (1972) study of freshmen majors confirmed that
black students are moving out of the traditional non-technical areas.
A large majority of black students aspire to graduate education,
though many have less than "B" averages (Bayer, 1972; Boyd, 1974; Centra,
1970). This seemingly unrealistic yet admirable desire to attend
graduate school has often been interpreted as the mechanism by which
blacks can bridge the gap which exists between employment opportunities
and salary differences between blacks and whites (Boyd, 1974).
Southern Study
This section describes a summary of findings in a study completed in
1970 at the same institution where the study reported herein was
conducted. Shenkman, the author, studied the first group of black
undergraduates accepted at the university. His study was designed to
determine how the new students were participating in the life at the
university. In so doing, he also documented characteristics, problems,
and other aspects of their lives on campus. Through interviews and
questionnaires he was able to collect data from half the black population
enrolled at that time. The following summary was selected from his study
of the 70 students.
A majority of the black students at the university come from
low income families. Only one quarter of all black students
have parents who are able to completely finance their
college education. Half of the black students are receiving
financial aid.
The great majority of black students at the university are
from the state. The majority come from predominately black
neighborhoods and graduated from predominately black high
schools. While in high school these students were extremely
active in all facets of extracurricular activities.


253
It also helped you grow and become more confident in yourself
because you are around people who have the same problems and face the
same thing that you do everyday, and they can help you.
The older members of the group can show you the ropes, whereas, if
you are out by yourself--who's gonna show you the ropes except some white
person who might probably lead you astray or who won't understand exactly
what you are talking about or what you are going through.
Now to a social extent it was real good, but you can't walk out of
here with a social degree, and put that on somebody's desk.
We have really separated the black students who are so diversified
on this campus; we're too small a group to be as diversified as we are...
I really felt bad on occasions when I have seen black students and I
can't mingle with this guy or this girl because I'm a member of this
particular organization.
Perceptions: Black students tend to separate themselves socially
from others on campus. Sometimes black students don't help each other -
and turn to white before other blacks. Blacks fraternities and other
(black) organized groups are very helpful in the socialization process
into campus life.
Studying
It's easier to get together and study with somebody white than
somebody black.
I find that the problem with a lot of black kids that I have had
interactions with is the fact that most black people are loners when it
comes to academics. First of all, no one wants to feel that he had to


48
Administration
As cited earlier, the majority of American institutions of higher
education were ill-prepared to receive black students; they were not
prepared for a student whose academic, social and cultural needs were not
the same as the white, middle-class students who were in the majority
(Ballard, 1973; Harper, 1971; Napper, 1973). As the chief administrator,
the president must set the tone for the university regarding policies
that affect black students. His/her commitment and support, or the lack
thereof, will be reflected in the entire institution. Presidents were
often targets of black student anger and were the main negotiators in
conflicts when demands were made of institutions (Proctor, 1970;
Peterson et al., 1978). In their study of several higher educational
institutions with programs for the disadvantaged student, Astin, Astin,
Bisconti and Frankel (1972) commented on institutional commitment:
Institutional commitment refers not just to the administra
tors' attitude, but to the attitude of the entire academic
community. The benevolent apathy of those outside the pro
gram that characterized so many of the case-study campuses
breeds frustration and resentment in the special students,
who all too frequently interpret indifference as hostility.
However well-intentioned the cause of ignorancethe admini
strative belief that publicizing the program attaches a
stigma to the participants--its results are destructive.
Moreover, the stigma is felt anyway. If understanding is to
be fostered, regular students and faculy members should be
given more information about the special program and the
students enrolled in it. Their active enthusiasms can and
should be enlisted, and their awareness of reciprocal
benefits increased to achieve those goals; provisions should
be made for greater interchange of students and personnel.
(p. 233)
According to Peterson et al. (1978), this commitment from the highest
administrative level of the institutions was not perceived by black


129
Butch
Overall, Butch felt that most of his courses were relevant and
interesting to him. He preferred the small discussion classes as opposed
to the large lectures or the laboratory classes, but sometimes felt that
other students inhibited him from expressing his views. His attendance
in class was very high, and he thought he performed well on papers and
other written assignments. If he experienced problems with homework
assignments, he was more likely to seek help from other students rather
than from professors. On the other hand, he felt that it was easy to get
help from professors, much easier, in fact, than getting help from
graduate assistant teachers. Butch's experience with a graduate
assistant teacher his first term led to a rather lengthy complaint to
the researcher. Things she did that he did not like included
a. Cancelling a class in order to allow more time for office
appointments with students in the class.
b. Her rigid office hours. She could not arrange flexible hours to
see the undergraduates and, unfortunately, Butch had classes
during her office hours.
c. Her change of behavior when her supervisory teacher came to
observe the class. Specifically, the students were given less
time to complete a quiz, which counted toward their final grade.
When approached about her behavior by many students after class,
she agreed to consider dropping the last two or three questions
on the quiz since the students didn't have the usual time to
complete it.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
mm
£
i jnan
Mines L. Wattenbarger, Chai
'rofessor of Educational Administration
and Supervision
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Thomas W. Cole, Sr.
Professor of Educational
and Supervision
Administrati on
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Elizabeth M. Eddy
Professor of Anthropology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department
of Educational Administration and Supervision in the College of Education
and to the Graduate School, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1983
Dean for Graduate Studies and Research


219
Successful adjustment to the predominately white environment seemed
to depend in part on attendance at an integrated high school, and close
interaction with white peers, such as on committees or sports teams, in
that setting. The students who adjusted best socially and academically
where those who had had more than casual acquaintances with whites at
the high school level.
The students' individual experiences at home and at OSU determined
to some degree how they chose friends and activities to participate in,
and the ways in which they viewed their own adjustment process. Their
experiences relating to peers at the university tended to mirror those
that they had previously in their high schools and home environments.
Family influence and those of their black peers at home, gave direction
to their activities and experiences on campus.
Institutional policies and practices were generally accepted by
students and were not questioned or perceived negatively until an
individual problem was experienced. Even then, students were reluctant
to confront university officials, whether faculty, from whom some
students recieved poor academic advice, or university officials, who
increased the rent, which one freshman thought was unfair. The freshmen
would only consult or address faculty and university officials as a last
resort; the individuals sought in every case were those who had presented
themselves as a resource with whom students were comfortable.


165
Arts degree. They were all excited, however, about one of their own
family members attending a four-year institution--a first for the
immediate family.
Yvette's mother had taken some college courses, and her twin sisters
had both married before completing degrees at the local community
college. They, too, voiced support of her efforts toward a four-year
degree.
Claire's older siblings had all gone to work after high school, and
she did not decide until the end of her senior year whether to attend a
college or to follow her siblings into the work world. Her parents were
especially delighted that she chose the challenge of OSU over the pre
dominately black school which many of her peers attended.
Family support was interpreted in several ways by the students. The
most common support was in regard to financial needs, moral support for
reinforcement and counseling during depressions, and as a reliable
contact for finding out about events at home. The four freshmen from the
state traveled home several weekends in the first term to visit family
and friends. These visits continued during the second term, but not as
frequently as in the first.
The home contact was also frequent by telephone or through written
correspondence. At the end of the second term, this type of contact was
made weekly by Janice, Claire and Butch, and every two to three weeks by
Gordon and Yvette. Yvette had a steady boyfriend on campus as a social
outlet, and Gordon contacted his peers by telephone ; for him this
contact was greater than his interaction on campus, or with his family
who lived out-of-state.


246
20.I visit my folks at:
l=the regular quarter breaks and holidays
2=regular breaks, and a couple of week-ends a term
3=more than the regular breaks and a couple of week-ends a term
4=less than the regular quarter breaks and holidays
21.When I have personal problems I usually: (Check all that apply)
l=solve them myself
2=discuss them with a friend
3=see my peer counselor
4=cal1 home
5=go to see a faculty or staff member
6=go to the counseling center
7=other (Be specific)
22.How would you describe your family's interest in your college career?
l=very supportive
2=supportive
3=not very supportive
4=indifferent
23.Overall, my personal-social life at the university has been:
l=very satisfactory
2=generally satisfactory
3=not very satisfactory
4=unsatisfactory
SECTION G. BLACK-WHITE RELATIONS
1. On the university campus, I am very conscious of being a minority
student.
l=yes
2=no
2. The campus atmosphere at the university is:
l=very unfriendly, cold and discouraging
2=unfriendly, other students don't seem to care about anyone
but themselves
3=average, most students are pleasant but not concerned about
one another
4=friendly, most students are cooperative & interested in each other
5=very friendly, I have many friends and I like it here very much


148
I Didn't Know We Had A Dean of Students
In this section, students' views of their contact with university
staff is described. Because the majority of the officials at this time
were white, their views reflect to some degree their perceptions about
how whites feel about blacks at OSU. Some impressions are also drawn
from what each student reported about what whites in general think about
the black students on campus. Again, questionnaires and interview data
are combined in presentation of the data.
Overall, students were unfamiliar with who university officials
were, and perceived both faculty and administrators as officials. The
researcher described officials simply as any employee other than teaching
faculty, including dormitory assistants, housing personnel, assistant
deans, program directors, with whom they had some contact while in the
campus community. Each freshmen admitted under the Special Admissions
Program found it easy to identify with the minority admissions recruiter
as a university official, but did not necessarily view other university
administrators in the same way.
The absence of knowledge about university officials associated with
the Special Admissions Program is critical information, simply because
knowledge of any of the officials of this program mighht have made a
profound difference in each students' experience. The importance of
attending orientation would have been emphasized, and information about
adjusting would have been more readily available from sources more
reliable than their peers.


56
is the most crucial task of man's existence (p. 43). All behavior and
adjustments then could be seen in this light, i.e., maintenance of the
self, thereby offering clues to why individuals behave as they do.
Blumer (1962), in summarizing Mead's concept of symbolic inter
action, described how people incorporate other individuals and things
into this world:
This mechanism enables the human being to make indication to
himself of things in his surroundings and thus to guide his
actions by what he notes. Anything of which a human being
is conscious is something which he is indicating to himself--
the ticking of a clock, a knock at the door, the appearance
of a friend, the remark made by a companion, a recognition
that he has a task to perform, or the realization that he
has a cold. Conversely, anything of which he is not con
scious is ipso facto, something which he is not indicating
to himself, (p. 146)
This premise of "indication" is also the basis on which an individual
begins to interpret the actions and meanings of things or objects outside
himself. Through this interpretation, he or she can role play or take
the role of others in order to view himself or herself from the perspec
tive of the generalized other, which implies defining one's behavior in
terms of the expectations of others. The interpretation and ensuing
action is defined as symbolic interaction. It is distinct from an indi
vidual reacting to pre-existing objects in an environment Blumer con
tinued in his definition of symbolic interaction:
The term "symbolic interaction" refers, of course, to the
peculiar and destructive character of interaction as it
takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists
in the fact that human beings interpret or "define" each
other's actions instead of merely reacting to each other's
actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of
symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning
of one another's actions, (p. 145)
Thus, the individual acts on interpretation, of objects and other
individuals with whom he must encounter in his world. These deliberate


228
Events of importance which could be sponsored by the university would be
scholarship drives, establisment of university liaison with the black
community, creation of workshops and seminars addressing topics which
address national and local issues of race to facilitate greater under
standing between the races.
If these recommendations are met, greater retention of black
students may be the result, simply because more students will be adjust
ing earlier in their careers at the university. There are many areas of
research which need further study before more specific information is
available on adjustment of black students as a group. For example, a
longitudinal study or a study of the different academic classes of black
students could provide data to assess the different perceptions and needs
of students as they matriculate at PWI's.
Other areas to explore would be the relationship between academic
success and social adjustment, especially for black males, who are
enrolled in fewer numbers than black females; the myth of the constant
parties and socializing done by black students who live together in large
numbers in the dorm, and the alleged pressure they exert on the more
studious not to perform; an investigation into nature and intensity of
black-white friendship group and how they differ from single race
friendship groups; an investigation into what variables influence a
smooth transition from the special admissions courses to the regular
university curriculum; a look at the type of experiences which occur to
change a students' attitude about racial issues could facilitate greater
communication among black and white students and thus foster greater
understand! ng.


153
benefits had not been explained sufficiently at the beginning of the
school year.
But they say, oh, yeah, you have to take twelve credits.
It says a veteran must have twelve credits. It doesn't say
(a veteran) must have twelve credits for full entitlement,
you see. If I'd known that before, than I would have taken
maybe just two or three courses and adjusted my work
schedule (last term).
Gordon did finally register for 9 credits and increased his hours at work
to make the same income. He reported this incident as negative when
asked about his interaction with University officials.
Summary
The students in the study had limited experiences with administra
tors at OSU. Collectively, they perceived faculty and administrators as
University officials, even though the older freshman was better able to
distinguish administration positions from other staff positions in the
University. Some of the students perceptions were based on vicarious
experiences of their friends, as well as their individual beliefs about
how whites in general felt about blacks attending the University. Two of
them perceived whites as indifferent to blacks attending, and three
believed whties did not want blacks attending. The strongest perceptions
students had about administrators could be classified as mixed.


135
Well, I mean, that is, I hate to say it, but it is a
completely boring class. Maybe if it was taught in a
different way, you know. You know, it's taught by Dr. X.
He's kind of up there in age, you know, I'm not the only one
in the class, I mean, thinks that, cause, I mean, I try to
pay attention to him. The majority of the people in the
class, you know, a lot of them just get up and walk out,
half of them have their heads on their desk. But I never do
that. I always try to listen. I never get up and walk out.
She found the students leaving even more distracting, but reported that
the professor finally asked the students not to leave unless they had
made prior arrangements with him.
Another class that Claire did not like was the english writing lab.
She admitted that after really enjoying english and doing well in it
through high school, she had lost interest in the subject. She
complained of the amount of work required in the lab even though she
considered herself a conscientious and studious freshman.
But I think all the work we have to do in English lab is
just not worth it. For one credit. I mean, we do just as
much work in English lab as we do in English class. I don't
think it's fair. I don't. I mean, every day we have some
thing to do. It never stops. Well, I feel that I'm learn
ing. But still, for one credit.
With the exception of her english lab class, Claire was required to do
her assignments outside class, and was therefore on her own to decide how
much time would be spent studying. In her english course, as in all of
her other courses, she was quizzed weekly, and was required to take a
midterm and final exam.
In contrast to her first term, all but one of her professors in her
second term did not require a midterm or final examination. She con
tinued to have quizzes, and a heavier emphasis was placed on research
papers. Claire felt that her second term courses were harder, therefore
she decided she should study harder, and spend less time socializing.


243
SECTION F. PERSONAL-SOCIAL EXPERIENCES
1.I 1 ive:
l=on campus with roommates
2=alone on campus
3=alone off campus
4=off campus with roommates
2.My roommates are:
l=black freshmen
2=white freshmen
3=black and white freshmen
4=other (Be specific)
3.My best friends at the university are:
l=friends I made before coming to the university
2=friends I made after I began school
3=friends I made before and after I came to the university
4.My best friends are:
l=black
2=white
3=black and white
4=other (Be specific)
5.My social life consists mainly of:
l=single dating
2=going out with groups of friends (male and female)
3=going out with the fellows
4=going out with the girls
6.As far as social events and activities on campus are concerned,
I find:
l=more than enough interesting things to do and enjoy
2=very few things to do and enjoy
3=no time to get involved in them


116
And so I had the make-up. I says, "Let me see how this look
on you." She say, "No! I couldn't wear your make-up. It's
probably too dark for me." And I said, "Naah. You can
really wear any kind of make-up if you put it on right."
She said, "Okay, let's try it." I put it on. She said,
"Oophhh, it just looks like I got a suntan. I can wear your
make-up