Veiled Incivilities: International Students and Campus/Classroom Climate at Predominantly White Universities

Document Type


Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



This dissertation adds to the literature on campus climate in higher education in the United States, by 1) focusing on international students, especially those from China and Saudi Arabia, and their perceptions of the classroom climate as the racialized Other, in particular, their feelings of being welcomed or not welcomed; and 2) examining their perceptions of, and reactions to, pedagogical practices and peer behaviors that marginal-ized and/or included them. The mixed-methods study was conducted at three predomi-nantly White institutions in the Intermountain West, utilizing the theoretical framework of campus climate and the White racial frame. Qualitative and quantitative data found the international students to be somewhat ambivalent in their perceptions of the campusclimate, reporting that it was both welcoming and unwelcoming. Perceptions of the classroom climate were found to be associated with those of the campus climate, with the role of the professor as essential to their feeling welcomed in the classroom. Some inter-national students sensed a "fake friendliness" in their interactions with American class-mates. In addition, these non-native speakers of English, as symbols of the ethnic Other, experienced the same type of discrimination as domestic minority students in higher edu-cation, in the form of veiled and unveiled incivilities (i.e., microaggressions and blatant hostility). The quantitative data specifically found that 1) female internationals were less likely to feel welcomed in the classroom than males and 2) almost all of the international respondents benefitted from group projects. The data also found evidence of linguoracism in the classroom. Recommendations are offered for higher-education administra-tors to diversify their campuses, make them more multicultural and inclusive, and provide opportunities for faculty and students to learn about their Whiteness and its influence on classroom climate for international students.

This document is currently not available here.