Beyond the Bottom Line: Layoffs Leading to a Reflection on Transformational Resistance

Publication Title

Campus Service Workers Supporting First-Generation Students : Informal Mentorship and Culturally Relevant Support As Key to Student Retention and Success

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



First-generation college students -- United States -- Social conditions. Universities and colleges -- United States -- Employees -- Social conditions, College dropouts -- United States -- Prevention


This chapter recounts the experiences of two women—higher education scholar practitioners from working class, immigrant family backgrounds—as they navigated supporting essential campus workers who were unexpectedly laid off as a result of COVID-19 budget cuts. The authors initiated a fundraising campaign which led to a ripple effect of campus-wide mobilization and transformational resistance. Fueled by their cultural intuition and conscientization, the authors share their testimonios to reflect on the ways in which higher education can both be an engine of social mobility, while also reproducing and magnifying social inequities.


About the Book: This unique collection of testimonials, critical essays, and first-hand accounts demonstrates the significant contribution of campus service workers in supporting the retention and success of first-generation college students. Using a Freirean framework to ground individual stories, the text identifies ways in which campus workers connect with students, provide informal mentorship, and offer culturally relevant support during students' transition to college and beyond. Drawing on a range of interviews, case studies, and research studies, emphasis is placed on the unique challenges faced by first-generation and minority students such as cultural alienation, imposter syndrome, language barriers, and financial insecurity. Ultimately, the text dismantles notions of social hierarchies that separate workers and college students, and encourages institutions to invest in these workers and their contribution to student wellbeing and success. This text will benefit researchers, academics, and educators with an interest in the higher education and student affair practice and higher education administration more broadly. Those specifically interested in multicultural education and the study of race and ethnicity within US higher educational contexts will also benefit from this book. Georgina Guzmán is Associate Professor of English at California State University Channel Islands, USA. La'Tonya Rease Miles is Dean of Student Affairs at Menlo College, USA. Stephanie Santos Youngblood is an Ed.D. student at Arizona State University and works at Nevada State College, USA with the Teachers Academy Pipeline Project.

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Beyond the Bottom Line: Layoffs Leading to a Reflection on Transformational Resistance
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