Graduation Date

Spring 2024

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Jennifer Eichstedt

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Michihiro Sugata

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Queer, BIPOC, Students of color, Resistance, Higher education, Student activism, Cultural center, Racism, Community

Subject Categories



In this thesis, I use participant interviews with 12 queer student activists at Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt) and participant observation from 2019-2021 to provide a qualitative analysis of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) student knowledge. While student activism is not a primary site of analysis in this paper, all of the participants of this study identify as student activists which has implications on their overall experience. Participants in this study note the institutional efforts to disrupt institutional memory between student leaders and activists. This study was specifically designed to combat this issue by serving as an archive of their knowledge and experiences. Through the research, large categorical themes emerged such as the commonalities of student experiences of isolation, racism, and not feeling heard; experiencing institutional harm through the performativity of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, bureaucracies, inaccessibility of support, and burnout; and finally how students try to thrive through solidarity, building and maintaining community, being embedded in cultural resource centers, and having the support of BIPOC faculty/staff. Based on the participants’ experiences I provide recommendations for invested stakeholders. I also provide an opportunity for participants to speak directly to other QTBIPOC students who are either already on campus or will be coming to campus. Finally, this research presents general insight on how to foster a more supportive environment for QTBIPOC students as well as advice that is applicable for many student leaders, activists, and peers.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


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