Season 5, Episode 1 – Weighted Judgments: The Unspoken Bias in Higher Ed

About This Episode:

In this enlightening episode, we dive deep into an often-silent challenge faced by plus-sized students in the realm of higher education. Despite more than two-thirds of adults in the US being over a size 14, there exists an underlying bias against students based on their body size, overshadowing their academic achievements. From unsettling findings at Cal State Long Beach and Mt. St. Vincent, revealing stereotypes about GPA perceptions and team collaboration preferences, to tangible obstacles like inaccessible campus resources, the gravity of the situation is undeniable. Join us as we shed light on the firsthand experiences of these students, engage with researchers unraveling the complexities of weight stigma in academia, and explore solutions that can pave the way for a truly inclusive campus culture. Dive into a discussion on the tangible effects of this bias and the steps universities can take to rectify this deep-rooted prejudice.

Featured on This Episode:

  • Terah Jay Stewart serves as an assistant professor of higher education and student affairs at Iowa State University. His research and writing focus on people, populations, and ideas that are hyper marginalized and/or have stigmatized identities including college students engaged in sex work, fat students on campus, and identity-based student activism. He also does conceptual and empirical work on antiblackness in non-black communities of color. His work often centers on critical disruptive onto-epistemological frameworks and theories to destabilize dominant ways of knowing and being; including Black/endarkened feminist, womanist, and afro pessimist perspectives
  • Andrea Melrose serves as the Associate Director of Student Affairs at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. She has penned the dissertation titled, “What's the Big Fat Deal?: The Experience of Fat Students in College." In her work, she delves into the experiences of fat students on college campuses, shedding light on their encounters with anti-fat bias and discrimination. Moreover, she delves into the policy and practical implications that aim to enhance the experiences of fat college students, advocating for a diverse and inclusive campus environment.
  • Laurie Cooper Stoll is a distinguished professor of Sociology within the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her research focuses on educational inequalities, gender-blind sexism, and critical weight studies. She has authored two significant books: "Race and Gender in the Classroom," which received the 2015 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Race, Gender, and Class Section of the American Sociological Association, and "Should Schools Be Colorblind?" 

Resources for This Episode: