Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Ph.D.


Gown, Higher education, Race, Space, Town


Universities help shape the physical contours and the social fabric of cities. Historical forms of racial domination repeat themselves, reproducing spatial subordination. In the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea neighborhoods in North Denver, residents who are mostly low-income immigrant families have in the past faced housing discrimination; air, water, and soil pollution; environmental racism; highway construction and expansion; school dilapidation; and social, political, and economic neglect for over five decades (Doeppers, 1967; Cram, 2013; EPA, 2019). As the City of Denver turns its attention to these three neighborhoods, re-investment could result in improved quality of life. Colorado State University (CSU), two museums, and the mayor's office are leading a redevelopment of the North Denver region. The redevelopment process will result in 38 parcels of land in Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea (GES) being cleared (CAC Meeting Minutes, May 2018). This will cause people to lose their homes and small businesses, but in their place, a regional hub for research into agriculture, sustainability, and water in the U.S. West will be built. This research study uses Critical Discourse Analysis to explore how the town/gown relationship is unfolding between the university and the community and to learn what will be gained and lost. By examining the meeting transcripts from the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), I seek to learn how relationships between the higher education institution and the city are changing in racialized ways. Close analysis of the CAC meetings in which the campus redevelopment is being planned reveals that normative institutions are overpowering low-income communities of color. Consistent with a history of racialized processes of displacement and disempowerment that remake the face of a city or a region within a city, the discursive events that transpire during the CAC meetings can be read through a theoretical lens, and better understood by bringing to bear information that situates GES in a historical context. Doing so sheds light on the CSU expansion and reveals it to be an instance of a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) for higher learning lending itself to downtown business interests and city leaders. Together, these institutional actors are removing low-income people of color from land so that it can be used to better fulfill the economic ambitions that the allied institutions share. By using Critical Discourse Analysis to closely examine the CAC meeting minutes, I show how the instance in North Denver exemplifies theories about the racialization of space and the spatialization of race (Lipsitz, 2006, 2007, 2011). This regional study of racialization in an administrative decision-making process is worthwhile because university involvement in urban change is a phenomenon that has implications for higher education researchers and leaders beyond Denver.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sabrina Carolina Sideris


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

220 p.


Higher education, Urban planning, Geography