Negotiating multiculturalism : identities, organizations, and bureaucracy in higher education
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Through a case study conducted at a large public University this dissertation explores how educational institutions and bureaucracy shape student organizing around issues of race, gender and sexuality. This project utilizes in-depth interviews with 30 University students and staff members affiliated to a Queer Student of Color (QSOC) agency to understand how organizations emerge to join formal bureaucracies and what the consequences are for organizational operations, relationship building and internal membership. This dissertation demonstrates that entry into a formal bureaucracy required strategic communication and disrupted existing structures, causing resistance from progressively centered organizations. Once formally associated to a University Multicultural Activity Center (MAC), Queer Students Of Color and Allies (QSOCA) faced pressure to adhere to institutional guidelines that shifted organizational focus and programming. While such membership provided institutional space, material resources and coalition building opportunities, the bureaucratic structure was unable to manage conflict and challenges in shared decision making processes. Furthermore, bureaucratically employed resources resulted in pressure for QSOCA to distinguish members, leaders, and advisors causing the organization to reconsider meanings and responsibilities of Allies.