Terms and Definitions

In order to discuss these topics, we must first define them. Below are definitions, framed by Gonzaga, of major terminology: 

A | B | C | D | E | E | I | L | M | P | R | S | T | U | W |


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A 1990 federal law passed that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services.


A 1990 federal law passed that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, Antiracism is the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Because racism is structural, institutional, and systemic, being an antiracist is an active process of identifying and opposing racism to actively change the policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions. i


Actions that seek to provide equitable approaches and practices to mitigate the effects of oppression.



Belonging is the feeling of being valued through positive connections with others and the ability to bring the authentic self to educational and work environments. It is the development of a sense of connection where people are more engaged and able to fully contribute. Sense of belonging is the psychological feeling of belonging or connectedness to a social, cultural, professional, or other type of group or a community. ii

A feeling of belonging at work is strongly correlated to elevated levels of engagement. An increased sense of belonging leads to collaboration, problem solving, and better decision making. It is only when people feel a sense of belonging that they can share ideas, confidently speak up, and fully contribute to Gonzaga University’s success. A sense of belonging is what unlocks the power and value of diversity.


Prefixes relating to bisexual which refers to sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction to male, female and/or non binary individuals. Pan or pansexual is an adjective referring to sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction regardless of an individual's gender identity or expression.


An inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment. Biases can be negative or positive (affinity bias) and can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief. iii

Bias Incident

An intentional or unintentional act targeted at a person, group, or property expressing hostility based on perceived or actual gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Bias incidents may consist of name-calling, epithets, slurs, degrading language, graffiti, intimidation, coercion, or harassment directed toward the targeted person or group. Acts qualify as bias acts even when delivered with humorous intent or presented as a joke or a prank. iv



Referring to a person whose gender identity is the same as that with their sex assigned at birth (assigned female at birth, identifies as a woman).

Common Good

“The sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” v

Cultural Fluency

The infinite capability to understand and adapt behavior to cultural difference and commonality. It involves three components:

  • Cultural Self-Awareness (Knowledge): Deep understanding of your values, beliefs, perceptions, behavior, and practices.
  • Cultural Other-Awareness (Attitudes): Empathy towards the experience of others from different cultural communities.
  • Adaptations (Skills and Behaviors): Behavioral shifting to accompany across various cultural differences.



Discrimination is conduct that can include a broad spectrum of disparate treatment directed toward an individual or group of individuals based on a protected class that adversely affects their employment or education.


Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability and cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations). vi

Diversity & Inclusion

  • The promotion, integration, and celebration of varying individual and group/social differences which advance the value placed on the dignity of the human person through holistic living, learning, and working environments,
  • The active practice of creating a sense of belonging for all individuals with respect to each person's values and traditions, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of being.
  • The intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity in people, in the (co-)curriculum, and in communities to serve the common good.


Equal Opportunity

Access to education, employment, housing and other areas of society in a way that is not discriminating against people because of their age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related medical conditions), sexual orientation or veteran status.


Equity is the creation of opportunities for historically underserved populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that can close the achievement gaps in student success and completion. vii Equity recognizes that all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni should expect and enjoy a safe, healthy, and fair learning and work environment.


The standard and expectation that the endeavors of the University including teaching, scholarship, and service are of the highest quality, exemplar, and innovative as well as rigorous, nourishes critical thinking and is responsive to all university community members. (Adapted from the University of California at Berkley)



Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on protected class: race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.



The promotion, integration, and celebration of varying individual and group/social differences that advance the value placed on the dignity of the human person through holistic living, learning, and working environments. The active practice of creating a sense of belonging for all individuals with respect to each person's values and traditions, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of being. The intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity in people, in the co-curriculum, and in communities to serve the common good. Adapted from AACU. viii

Inclusive Excellence

A strategic planning process that assists an institution in efforts to embed and establish a comprehensive and coordinated set of systemic actions that focus on fostering greater equity, diversity, inclusion, and accountability at every level of the institution. It reflects an endeavoring for excellence in higher education that is more inclusive through recruitment, admissions, hiring and retention; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices. Equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts move beyond numbers of students, faculty, and staff or numbers of programs. Equity, diversity, and inclusion become a multilayered process and accountability structures through which excellence is achieved in learning; teaching and research; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; and workforce development. ix

Institutional Infrastructure

refers to the policies, resources, organizational structures, and the use of metrics and other evidence to drive intentional decision making around diversity, equity, and inclusion.


The idea that when it comes to thinking about how inequalities persist, categories like gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and class are best understood as overlapping and mutually constitutive rather than isolated and distinct. Intersectionality “is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” x



Considered a gender-inclusive term to replace the terms “Latino” and “Latina.”


Marginalized Communities

Groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political, educational, and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions. xi



Society's formal and informal institutions accord unearned social power to all dominant group members (white privilege, male privilege). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we are taught not to see it. Still nevertheless, it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it.

Colours of Resistance Archive, “Privilege” (accessed 28 June 2013).



Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through society's institutional policies and practices and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices. xii

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those most affected by wrongdoing. It gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surrounding community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. In addition, restorative justice emphasizes individual, and collective accountability. Crime and conflict generate opportunities to build community and increase grassroots power when restorative practices are employed. xiii


Social Justice

The belief that all people should have equal rights and opportunities. How these rights and opportunities are made accessible and equal may not look or be the same for everyone. The differences in how equality is achieved for everyone is equity at work. xiv

Spousal Accommodation

Spousal and partner accommodation programs support spouses and partners of faculty and staff in identifying employment opportunities on campus outside of the competitive search process and match well-qualified prospective employees with identified university needs. All participants hired under the Partner Accommodation policy must be fully qualified for the specified position. A spouse or partner accommodation program is not a guarantee of employment. xv


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance, including recruitment, student admissions, financial assistance,  housing, access to academic offerings, and athletics. Employees are also covered by Title IX.


Underrepresented Group

A group that is less represented in one subset (e.g., employees in a particular sector, such as higher education or STEM) than in the general population, and this can refer to gender, race/ethnicity, physical or mental ability, females, LGBTQ+ status, and many more—also referred to as minorities, underrepresented minorities, or marginalized populations. xvi

Underrepresented minority (URM)

An underrepresented minority (URM) is someone whose racial or ethnic makeup is from one of the following:

  • African American / Black
  • Asian: Filipino, Hmong, or Vietnamese only
  • Hispanic / Latinx
  • Native American / Alaskan Native
  • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander
  • Two or more races, when one or more are from the preceding racial and ethnic categories in this list xvii


White Privilege

Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. White people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.

Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences and powerful negative consequences for interrupting white privilege or reducing its impacts in meaningful ways. The system consists of internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels.

The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth, and other outcomes through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are partly maintained by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms, and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.

Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement.

Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal, or appropriate, reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views.

Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices, and behaviors of institutions—such as schools, banks, non-profits, or the Supreme Court—that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices, and behaviors maintain, expand, or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and inequitable outcomes for people of color.

  1. Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspon¬dences Through Work in Women Studies” (1988).
  2. Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity, CAPD, MP Associates, World Trust Educational Services (2012).

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever-present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, evil, and inhuman and "undeserving." Drawing from critical race theory, the term "white supremacy" also refers to a political or socioeconomic system where white people enjoy structural advantages and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level. xviii


A broad social construction that embraces the white culture, history, ideology, racialization, expressions, experiences, epistemology, emotions, and behaviors, and reaps material political, economic, and structural benefits for those socially deemed white.


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i — Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an antiracist. One World.

ii — Hurtado & Carter (1997)

iii — https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bias | https://www.mypronouns.org/

iv — https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bias | https://www.mypronouns.org/

vi — The Second Vatican Council (1965), Gaudium et Spes [The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, §26]

v — Association of American Colleges and Universities

vii — Hurtado & Carter (1997)

viii — Association of American Colleges and Universities

ix — Clayton-Pederson, A. R., O’Neill, N., & Musil, C. T. (2017, June). Making excellence inclusive: A framework for embedding diversity and inclusion into colleges and universities’ academic excellence mission.

x — Intersectionality | Definition of Intersectionality by Merriam-Webster (Merriam-webster.com); Kimberlé Crenshaw on Intersectionality, More than Two Decades Later | Columbia Law School

xi — Adapted from: Marginalized populations | National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health

xii — The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), “Glossary.”

xiii — The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), “Glossary.”

xiv — https://nadohe.memberclicks.net/assets/2021/Framework/National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education - Framework for Advancing Ant-Racism on Campus - first edition.pdf

xv — Office for Inclusive Excellence, Gonzaga University

xvi — What is Underrepresented Groups | IGI Global

xvii — Underrepresented Minority Definition | Law Insider

xviii — What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook

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