Class Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Honors Designation

High Honors

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Primary Advisor

Carolyn Hsu

Second Advisor (if necessary)

Alicia Simmons

Abstract

My research examines how factors, such as race and gender, influence student perceptions of Colgate University’s Department of Campus Safety. I determine the functional role that the Department of Campus Safety plays at Colgate’s campus, and how the department has evolved to fill this role. I also examine how student perceptions of the department are shaped by race and what determinants affect these perceptions. By studying both personal and vicarious experiences with the police and with Campus Safety, I demonstrate how perceptions of Campus Safety vary between white and black students. I also exhibit how different factors, such as personal and vicarious experience and media exposure, influence the differences. I analyze the responses of a sample of 646 students who responded to my survey on personal and vicarious experiences with the municipal police and Colgate’s campus police. I also examine the in-depth interview responses from both relevant university personnel and students. The result indicates that while white students generally perceive that they have more control over interactions with the Department of Campus Safety and the department generally treats all students fairly, students of color hold significantly negative perceptions of the department’s procedural and distributive justice.

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