Name: Dorothy “Dottie” Morris
Hometown: Lake Charles, La.; Bellows Falls resident since 2003
Family: Father, Fleming Morris Jr.; mother, Dorothy Morris; brothers, Fleming Morris 3rd and the late Dr. Melvin Morris; sisters, Patricia Morris Tillman, Sandra Morris and Martha “Grace” Stevens
Education: Dillard University in New Orleans (undergrad); Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. (Ph.D. in clinical psychology)
Occupation: Associate vice president of institutional diversity and equity at Keene State College
Civic participation: Appointed member of Gov. Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion
Hobbies: Traveling, attending concerts
Question: Have you noticed any kind of shift in how students conceive of themselves over the past 10 years? What are the really prevalent discourses you’re dealing with on campus?
Answer: ”We’re dealing with, you know, a lot around students having to work more to be able to be here. So students will say, you know, ‘I have two jobs, and I’m in school full time,’ and those types of things. So they are dealing with those stressors, and that’s what I’ve seen more of in the past four to five years than I did in the other years that I’ve been here.
The other thing that I think is that, because of the way that we think about class in the U.S., most people would probably say that they’re middle class, because that just feels right to say. ... So there seems to be some type of shame if you’re less than middle class, and I’ve noticed that over and over again through the years — that people don’t want to say that they’re less than middle class, and yet they’re working two or three jobs (while studying full time), and I don’t think they’ve gotten how those two things come together.
But I do think it’s because of the shame around being poor — that it’s something you did or didn’t do — so I try to explain that you’re working your butt off, and yet you don’t see how this is having an impact on your class.”