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DEI Lexicon

These terms are selected from the DEI committee mission statement and land acknowledgment. Their definitions were selected from various sources linked in this document.

Last updated July 2022

Ableism– A set of beliefs or practices at the individual, community, or systemic level that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other. (CSSP)

Accountability– a commitment based on the promises, goals, or deliverables for what results the individual, team, department, or college will/desire to produce.

Affirm– To acknowledge, respect, value, and support someone’s full identity and self—including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, experiences, ideas, beliefs, etc.—and to encourage the development and exploration of who they are. (CSSP)

Ancestral Lands– Ancestral land refers to lands belonging to an indigenous cultural people or community. This includes the continuous and open possession and occupation of the said indigenous people or community and its members whose right to such lands shall be protected to ensure non encroachment. (Ancestral Lands)

Authentic DEI– (Authentic DEI)

  • Authentic Diversity: every dimension of difference—age, education, thought process, sexual orientation, religion, and more.
  • Authentic Equity: recognizing the interventions needed to help some people require more work than the interventions needed to assist others
  • Authentic Inclusion: encouragement of  ideas that are different than ours and being  interested in including them in what we’re doing. 

Belonging- A sense of being secure, recognized, affirmed, and accepted equally such that full participation is possible. (NAC)

Bias– Bias is typically an unfair preference for or prejudice against a person or group. Biases stem from causes such as cultural conditioning, past experiences, and media portrayals that create stereotypes, and they manifest in inequitable treatment. Biases may be held by people who are harmed by them as well those who benefit from them. (AIA)

Civility– Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored (Civility)

Discrimination– The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, religion, citizenship status, a combination of those identified, and/or other categories. (CSSP)

Inclusion– A state of belonging, when persons of different backgrounds and identities are valued, integrated, and welcomed equitably as decision-makers and collaborators. Inclusion involves people being given the opportunity to grow and feel/know they belong. Diversity efforts alone do not create inclusive environments. Inclusion involves a sense of coming as you are and being accepted, rather than feeling the need to assimilate. (CSSP)

Alternatives to Inclusion: Representation, Participation, Sense of Belonging.

Sexual Orientation– An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. Note: an individual’s sexual orientation is independent of their gender identity. (HRC)

Gender Identity– One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. (HRC)

Underrepresented/Underserved– Groups who traditionally (or historically) have not had equal access to economic opportunities because of discrimination or other societal barriers. This may vary by context and geography but can include race, gender, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, disability or low-income status. Examples of groups may be considered underrepresented can include women or women of color in a traditionally male and/or white discipline such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. (NAC)