Jerusha Conner, a Villanova University professor of education, has written a book looking at the modern student activist and the causes they support, writes Greta Anderson for insidehighered.com.
Conner’s research was inspired by the 2009 activism of low-income high school students in Philadelphia.
In her upcoming book, The New Student Activists: The Rise of Neoactivism on College Campuses, Conner reanalyzed a 2016 survey of self-identified activists at 120 colleges and universities nationwide.
New student activists are reviving tactics of earlier generations. They raised concerns about their institutions, called for change and worked to hold their schools’ leaders accountable.
In some cases, institutions have chosen to work with them. In other cases, institutions have threatened activists with disciplinary sanctions or simply ignored them.
They found social media to be useful for recruiting new members mobilizing students for action, and providing in-depth information of the issues, but voiced disdain for “hashtag activism.”
“I believe that student activists have an important role to play in calling attention to what they see as wrong, proposing correctives and demanding action and accountability from leaders,” Conner said. “They often speak with a sense of moral urgency that I find moving.”
Read more about the new student activist here.