Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Education




Rezai-Rashti, Goli.

2nd Supervisor

Neeganagwedgin, Erica.



In recent years, universities in Ontario have intensified their anti-racism efforts in response to calls for greater accountability in creating safer and more inclusive campus environments. This study investigates the experiences of East Asian students in higher education—a demographic that has traditionally been overlooked in studies of racism in education. Critical Race Theory was employed as the main theoretical framework and qualitative case study as the research methodology. Data was drawn from individual semi-structured interviews with five East Asian university students; all of whom reported having experienced various forms of racial microaggression on campus space. The findings highlight the gaps between the stated aims of institutional anti-discrimination policies and the lived realities of racialized students on campus. The themes that emerged from the data raise important questions about the social and academic experiences of East Asian students on campus. Recommendations for future directions are provided.

Summary for Lay Audience

East Asians are overlooked in studies of racism in education. Their experiences with racial discrimination and racism are often disregarded due to their model minority stereotypes that are overly glorified and positive. The purpose of the research was to investigate the lived experiences of East Asian students in higher educational spaces. Their experiences brought up important questions around the effectiveness of the anti-discrimination policies in place to protect students against racial discrimination. In particular, a subtle and covert form of racial discrimination—racial microaggression—was evident in the lives of these students. This research provided recommendations in the hope of encouraging new and improved policies and practices that can better serve racialized students in higher educational spaces.