Contentious dialogue: University presidential response and the 2016 U.S. presidential election

Jon McNaughtan, Hugo Garcia, Ian Lértora, Sarah Louis, Xinyang Li, Alexis L. Croffie, Elisabeth D. McNaughtan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In recent years, technology has made it possible, and at times critical, for college and university presidents to increase their campus-wide public communication. However, there is little research that analyses these frequent and timely presidential communications. Using grounded theory, this study took steps to fill this gap by analysing the unprecedented response campuses had to the 2016 United States presidential election of Donald Trump. The analysis focused on the responses of presidents from the fifty state flagship universities and found emergent themes of unity, contentious election, negative event, university values, civil dialogue, services offered, and emotional rhetoric, while also finding significance in whether the letters were sent proactively or reactively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-549
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018


  • University president
  • election
  • grounded theory
  • presidential communication
  • public response
  • rhetoric


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