Class Dismissed: When Colleges Ignore Inequality and Students Pay the Price

A revealing account of the entrenched inequities that harm our most vulnerable students and what colleges can do to help them excel


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Aug 13, 2024
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Elite colleges are boasting unprecedented numbers with respect to diversity, with some schools admitting their first majority-minority classes. But when the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial unrest gripped the world, schools scrambled to figure out what to do with the diversity they so fervently recruited. And disadvantaged students suffered. Class Dismissed exposes how woefully unprepared colleges were to support these students and shares their stories of how they were left to weather the storm alone and unprotected.

Drawing on the firsthand experiences of students from all walks of life at elite colleges, Anthony Abraham Jack reveals the hidden and unequal worlds students navigated before and during the pandemic closures and upon their return to campus. He shows how COVID-19 exacerbated the very inequalities that universities ignored or failed to address long before campus closures. Jack examines how students dealt with the disruptions caused by the pandemic, how they navigated social unrest, and how they grappled with problems of race both on campus and off.

A provocative and much-needed book, Class Dismissed paints an intimate and unflinchingly candid portrait of the challenges of undergraduate life for disadvantaged students even in elite schools that invest millions to diversify their student body. Moreover, Jack offers guidance on how to make students’ path to graduation less treacherous—guidance colleges would be wise to follow.