College of Liberal Arts
Social Sciences Department
BA in Sociology
Dr. Ryan Alaniz
This research project examines and addresses the 2012 6-year graduation rate of Cal Poly’s Black men. Given President Armstrong’s 2022 vision for Cal Poly to be an: “Enriching, inclusive environment where every student, faculty and staff member is valued”; “Create a rich culture of diversity and inclusivity that supports and celebrates the similarities and differences of every individual on campus”; and “Enhances student success,” there is a startling lack of research addressing this demographic of students. A review of the literature highlights the issue of Black male graduation rates in higher education on a broader scale and examines the impact of institutionalized racism and the structures of predominately White institutions on Black students. This research project gathers data through in-depth interviews with Black male students from Cal Poly to identify common themes and factors affecting the current graduation rate for Cal Poly’s Black men. Three themes were predominately present across the participants’ narratives: Racial Isolation, Racial Battle Fatigue, and the Sunk Cost of Cal Poly. Additionally, this project advocates the implementation of sound, research-informed strategies by Cal Poly’s administration and other relevant stakeholders to increase the graduation rate of the university’s Black male students.
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