Dissertation

The Stigma of Black Greek Letter Organizations and the Black Student Life Experience: A Study to Determine Connection

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Black Greek Letter Organizations [BGLOs] have been dealing with the stigma created by poor media representation. Research into this matter has indicated that these groups often only receive coverage that is stimulated by their entertainment or hazing incidents. This study aims to determine if there is any connection between said stigma and Black students' effects. This study was constructed to explore the question: Does the stigma of BGLOs affect the student life experience of black students? The review of literature focused on BGLO founding, BGLO stigma, and the black student life experience. Combined with the African American Identity Development and Reflective Judgment models, interview questions were used to ask participants about how they verify information and their perception of self (and others). Analysis of responses demonstrated that participants are aware of the stigma surrounding these groups. However, they do not allow it to stop them from interacting or pursuing membership. The study results indicated that the stigma concerning BGLO isn't an accurate representation of these groups as BGLOs are seen to create a sense of community where students feel supported and safe by the participants. The other result of this study was that the participants disagree with the media representation of these groups. It is recommended that to combat the stigma connected to BGLOs, the national leadership for these groups needs to come together to protest these depictions. Additionally, higher education leaders and those who advised these groups need to take the proper time to educate themselves on the history of these organizations and motivations of its members. Further research can be done to identify if said stigma affects students on a micro-scale, which offers a more in-depth look at perspectives for a particular school or on a macro scale that explores these ideas for a large number of schools.

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