Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Economics Dept.


Erin Giffin

Second Advisor

Lindsey Novak


This paper examines how racially-motivated bias incidents relate to college students’ academic outcomes, and how this relationship differs across race. There is evidence that students’ academic outcomes are negatively impacted by bias, particularly among marginalized groups. This could have severe impacts on equality, overall student success, and future outcomes. I use Colby College student-level data to analyze the effects of bias incidents on both changes in individuals’ GPAs, and differences in probability of retention across individuals. I analyze the effects of one severe bias incident in the Spring of 2009, and the effects of several bias incidents which occurred over the span of 16 years. I find that the 2009 incident relates to significant declines in students’ GPAs, and small potential declines in the probability of retention. The correlation between multiple isolated incidents and semester GPAs is largely insignificant; however, there is evidence that multiple incidents are related to lower probability of retention, and students’ final GPAs decline significantly as they experience a larger number of incidents. As the Spring of 2009 followed two other bias incidents directly, this may suggest that while students are resilient to isolated incidents, an accumulation of several severe bias incidents may have severe, negative effects on academic outcomes.


bias, academic outcomes, race, Colby College

Included in

Economics Commons