For this reflection, I started to write about how the funds that colleges which are designated as HSIs receive are allocated to various priorities and departments and whether those allocations were equitable and benefitting the student Latinx population that allowed the college to earn the grants in the first place. I realized it was far too difficult to measure the impact on the Latinx student population of funds allocated to departments that do not necessarily cater to Latinx students. I felt like there was something to be said about certain improvements (e.g., physical spaces, infrastructure, increased financial aid) at a college ultimately improving the quality of experience for Latinx students – as they would likely be represented in a broad range of academic disciplines and extra-curricular activities. I scrapped my initial idea after recalling Garcia and Dwyer’s mention of the level of organizational identification students (OID) may or may not have on a campus.
In my higher education experience, the concept of OID never mattered much to me. I did not think I needed to feel a sense of belonging at my schools to be successful there. Reflecting, I realize that perspective was one of privilege because even though my post-secondary institutions were radically different – one a small, rural liberal arts institution with a relatively low percentage of students of color and the other a large urban university primarily attended by students of color, I did feel like I belonged at each. Garcia and Dwyer cite evidence that strong OID has clear benefits for student performance and persistence. Looking back on the frustrations of the students at HSIs who were concerned about how the money earned through grants for HSIs were not being earmarked specifically for Latinx students, it occurred to me that perhaps if these students felt a greater sense of identification at their institutions and deeper level of belonging to them, they would see value in the funds being allocated to the campus, at large. But, too often, colleges do not create an environment that cultivates that sense of belonging universally across diverse groups. For students who do not feel a sense of belonging on their college campus or do not see Latinx administrators and leaders at their HSIs, I can see how it would be tough to give the benefit of the doubt about how the governmental funds support their experience on campus. After all, the benefit of the doubt itself is a privilege not generally reserved for people of color, but often expected of them.