Date of Award

Fall 12-27-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Hillary Morgan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Katie Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julian Wamble, Ph.D.


Trump, LGBTQ+, presidential election, university support, political engagement


On November 8, 2016, businessman and mogul Donald J. Trump won the U.S. presidential election, sending shockwaves across the country given that polls indicated that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would win the election. On U.S. college campuses, students reacted to the election win, and for LGBTQ+ undergraduate students, their marginalized identity was negatively impacted by Trump’s win because of his rhetoric towards this population. Colleges and universities responded to the 2016 election results by sending out communications to affirm their mission and values for all their constituents, but this response was perceived as not supporting by LGBTQ+ undergraduate students. This phenomenological, qualitative study investigated the retrospective experiences of LGBTQ+ undergraduate students on the night of the 2016 election and how they perceived university support before, during, and after the event. Using minority stress, a theory developed in 1995 by Ilan Meyer as the theoretical framework, participants were interviewed to address how they experienced election night and how Trump’s win to the presidency impact their college-going career and beyond. Findings indicate that LGBTQ+ undergraduate students were negatively impacted by Trump’s win and they witnessed a lack of university support towards their marginalized identity.