This study is a qualitative analysis of perceptions of institutional commitment to the enrollment and retention of African-American students at one institution. The study, which was funded by the Spencer Foundation, was conducted at Oberlin College and is based on 31 interviews of students, faculty, administrators, and staff. At many predominantly white campuses, low enrollment and poor retention of African-American students is a present and escalating problem. However, Oberlin College has unusually high enrollment and retention rates for African-American students. We wanted to explore the possible reasons for this uniqueness. We relate our findings to the process of constructing theories that explain some of the characteristics of Oberlin's organizational culture.


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