Professor argues math education is White and cisheteropatriarchal space, 'limits' queer and students of color

Luis Leyva is an assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University

A Vanderbilt professor delivered a lecture earlier this month at a major mathematician meeting that described college math education as "white" and "cisheteropatriarchal."

Luis Leyva, assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University, delivered a lecture titled, "Undergraduate Mathematics Education as a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space and Opportunities for Structural Disruption to Advance Queer of Color Justice," according to the website of Joint Mathematics Meeting. 

The lecture consisted of two parts. The first half of the lecture showed findings from Leyva’s research about the "educational experiences of 39 undergraduate queer and trans students of color pursuing STEM majors across historically White and minority-serving universities in the United States."

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Leyva’s lecture abstract states the "findings depict how Black, Latin*, and Asian QT (Queer-Transgender) students’ narratives of experience reflect forms of intersectionality, or instances of oppression and resistance at intersecting systems of white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy."

A Vanderbilt professor delivered a lecture in early January at a major mathematician meeting that described college math education as "white" and "cisheteropatriarchal."

A Vanderbilt professor delivered a lecture in early January at a major mathematician meeting that described college math education as "white" and "cisheteropatriarchal."

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"STEM Education as a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space" (Leyva et al., 2022, American Educational Research Journal), to capture how intersectional oppression among QT students of color unfolds across three interconnected levels of influence in undergraduate STEM: ideological, institutional, and relational. In addition, I highlight findings that illustrate structural disruptions, defined as educational structures and practices that resist intersectional oppression in undergraduate STEM," Leyva said. 

The second part of that lecture included "coping strategies among QT students of color navigating white cisheteropatriarchy in STEM for protecting their academic success and intersectional identities."

Campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

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"I apply my framework and research findings to argue how undergraduate mathematics education operates as a white, cisheteropatriarchal space that limits learning opportunities affirming of queer of color identities and experiences. I conclude by re-imagining undergraduate mathematics education with structural disruptions that advance justice for learners marginalized across intersections of race, gender, and sexuality," Leyva said. 

Leyva’s delivered the lecture at the "largest mathematics gathering in the world" on Jan. 4 in Boston at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2023. According to Vanderbilt University Peabody College's website, Leyva is an assistant professor of Mathematics Education, a Department of Teaching and Learning faculty affiliate and works for the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies.

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He works on research that "explores narratives of oppression and agency across historically marginalized groups’ educational experiences to uncover interlocking functions of racism and cisheteropatriarchy in undergraduate STEM."

Fox News Digital reached out to Vanderbilt University and Leyva for comment but did not immediately get a response.