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Vestina Karen Oates
access, accomodation, higher education, power, previlege
The university as a privilege for the privileged, … should give way to the intellectual milieu where all citizens are ensured access to training and updating. (Hall and Cameron, 2007 p. 22). However, the concept of power has been understudied and underspecified in higher education (Pusser and Marginson, 2012). It therefore is imperative that scholars understand that in order to access power and privilege in higher education institutions, they must exploit academic capital and “capture many of the social and personal benefits as public good vis-á-vis private gain” (Hall and Cameron, 2007 p. 1). When this phenomenological lens is shared by faculty, staff and students, the process along with its issues and strategies, can be mutually beneficial and rewarding. This scholarly paper brings to the fore the lived experiences and voices of faculty and students of the Trench Town Polytechnic College, Kingston, Jamaica regarding their experiences and lessons learned from navigating power and privilege in higher education institutions. The central question being: How can higher education spaces be adequately harnessed by faculty, staff and students to access the power and privileges of their status? As such, personal experiences will be used as a starting point for an open discussion, while drawing upon the cross-cultural experiences of Caribbean students. Moreover, the conversation will raise critical questions through socrative reasoning about navigating institutions, examining power and privilege, and sharing experiences, collective strategies and tools to support one another. Accordingly, multidisciplinary literature will be drawn upon to critique existing higher education literature with respect to addressing dynamics of power and privilege. It is hoped that a more expansive conceptual framework for addressing power and privilege dynamics in higher education spaces will be derived.