All members of the school community have entrance into, involvement with, and full participation of resources, conversations, initiative, and choices which are attentive to heritage and community practices (Paris 2012).



a person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for underrepresented groups.



a person with no (or very little) connection to the traditional system of gender, no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender. Sometimes called gender neutrois, gender-neutral, or genderless.



being willing to act with and for others in pursuit of ending oppression and creating equality. We consider people to be active allies who take action and support.



a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity. Occasionally used in place of ‘intersex’ to describe a person with both female and male anatomy.



someone who is supporting antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression or ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing, and supporting policies that reduce racial inequality.



Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.



experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior.


Asian Pacific American or Asian Pacific Islander

people whose families originally came to the United States from East and Southeast Asia, as well as the Indian subcontinent. East Asian countries include Japan, China, South and North Korea, Taiwan, and others, while Southeast Asia includes countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Indian subcontinent includes countries such as Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Add the Pacific Islander component – which includes Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Island, and Marshall Island.



BIPOC Black, Indigenious, and People of Color

Is meant to unite all people of color in the work of liberation while intentionally acknowledging that not all People Of Color face the same levels of injustice.



a curiosity toward experiencing attraction to people of same-gender/sex.



a person who fluctuates between traditionally ‘woman’ and ‘man’ gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with two genders (or sometimes identifying with either man or woman, as well as third, different gender).


Biological Sex

A medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned at birth.”



a range of negative attitudes (fear, anger, intolerance, invisibility, resentment, or discomfort) that one may have or express toward bisexual individuals.



a person who experiences attraction to some men and women or their gender and another gender. Bisexual attraction does not have to be equally split.



Campus Climate

The cumulative and continuing perception of the context in which the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential are felt.


Cisgender person

A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align (e.g., man and assigned male at birth). A simple way to think about it is if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender. The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”



the assumption, in individuals and institutions that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender identities are superior. Cisnormativity leads to the invisibility of non-cis identities.



behavior that grants prefernetial treatment to cisgender people, reinforces the idea that being cisgender is somehow better or ‘right’ – and leads to cisnormativity.



an individual who is not out  themselves or others about their sexuality or gender identity. Being closeted is a choice and/or for reasons such as discrimination (discrimination is not illegal in 25 of or the United States as well as ‘persecution’ as homosexual ‘activity’ is still illegal and punishable by imporsionment and death in some countries – that are in the UN-) fear for one’s own safety, peer rejection, disapproval, or family rejection.


Coming Out

the process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity. Coming out is also the process by which one shares their sexuality or gender identity with others.



The process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components, establishing control over the indigenous people of an area through violence.


Contextual Factors

related to the underlying beliefs, policy, patterns of practice, traditions and norms.


Critical Factors

related to underlying beliefs, norms and practices enacting power dynamics that marginalized specific groups, privilege others, and prevent equitable practices.


Cultural Appropriation

theft of cultural elements for one’s own use or profit often without understanding, acknowledgment, or respect for its value in the culture of origin. Results from the assumption of a dominant culture’s right to take the other culture’s elements.


Cultural Competence 

Policies and practices of an organization, or the values and behaviors of an individual, that foster effective cross-cultural communication. It is a point on a continuum that ranges from cultural destructiveness to cultural proficiency. A culturally competent organization values the people who work there understands the community in which it operates, and embraces its clients as valuable members of that community. This means that the culture of the organization promotes inclusiveness and institutionalizes the process of learning about differences. Cultural competence suggests a willingness to expand the organization’s paradigm for culture. Members of an organization with cultural competence as a goal examine their own cultures to understand how they, as cultural entities, impact the perception and interaction of those who are different. This means identifying the dynamics of difference caused by historical distrust. Clearly understanding who we are and accepting how others perceive us is one of the first steps towards cultural competence. The next step is the same underlying, non-defensive examination of the organization’s culture.


Culturally Relevant/Responsible

Recognizing, understanding, and applying attitudes and practices that are sensitive to and appropriate for people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.




recognizes and respects the importance of all similarities and differences among human beings. The system and its institutions are committed, through their programs and policies, to fostering inclusiveness, understanding, acceptance, and respect in a multicultural society. Diversity is understanding that each individual is unique, and our individual differences need to be recognized. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical/mental ability, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.


Dominant Culture

The dominant culture is a culture that is the most powerful, widespread, or influential with a social or political entity in which multiple cultures are present. In a society [the dominant culture] refers to the established language, religion, values, rituals, and social customs. These traits are often [seen as] the norm for the society.


Educational Equity

Equity in education is when school policies, practices, interactions, cultures, and resources, are representative of, constructed by, and responsive to all students such that each student has access to, can meaningfully participate, and make progress in high-quality learning experiences, resulting in positive outcomes regardless of her or his race, SES, gender, ability, religion affiliation, national origin, linguistic diversity , or other characteristics (Fraiser, 2001; Great Lakes Equity Ctr, 2011).



Equity is the proportional distribution of desirable outcomes across groups. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes while equality connotes equal treatment. Where individuals or groups are dissimilarly situated, equal treatment may be insufficient for, or even detrimental to, equitable outcomes.

More directly, equity is when an individual’s race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc. do not determine their educational, economic, social, or political opportunities.



An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities, such as common ancestral, language, social, cultural or national experiences. Examples of ethnic identities are Finnish, Ethiopian, Cambodian, Mexican, etc.



First Generation

An individual, neither of whose parents completed a baccalaureate degree.




experiencing attraction solely (or primarily) to some members of the same gender.


Gender Binary

the idea that there are only two genders that every person is one of those two.


Gender Expression

The external appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.


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.


Gender Non-Conforming

a gender descriptor that indicates a non-traditional gender expression or identity.



a gender identity or label often used by people whose sense of self in relation to gender changes form time-to-time.



Someone who identifies as genderqueer does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.




the assumption that in individuals and/or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to other sexualities. Heteronormativity leads to invisibility, stigmatizing of other sexualities, and the assumption that only masculine men and feminine women are straight.



behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more ‘right’ than queerness, and/or makes other sexualities invisible.



primarily, emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to some members of a different gender.



an umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have toward LGBTQ people.



a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender.




The study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.



term for a combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differs from two expected patterns of male or female.


Implicit Bias

The attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. The biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individuals’ awareness.



promotes broad engagement, shared participation, and advances authentic sense of belonging through safe, positive, and nurturing environments. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to accepting and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. Inclusion is key to eliminating systemic inequality.


(Inter) Cultural Competence

An ability to learn about and interact effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This competence comprises four components: (1) awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (2) attitude towards cultural differences, (3) knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (4) cross-cultural skills.


refers to groups of people defined in government documents as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations, including those that are politically and socially dominant.



Learning Communities

A group of people actively engaged in learning together, from each other, and by habituation. Learning Communities often consist of two courses linked together to explore common themes and encourage partnerships with professors and peers.



women who are primarily attracted romantically or emotionally to other women.




term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.




involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.




the ability to decide who will have access to resources; the capacity to direct or influence the behavior of others, oneself, and/or the course of events.



Any advantage that is unearned, exclusive, and socially conferred. (Allan Johnson)



A pronoun is a word that refers to someone or something that is being talked about (like she, it, them, and this). Gender pronouns (like he and hers) specifically refer to people that you are talking about. You can’t always know what pronoun (she/her, he/him, they/theirs) someone uses by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.




an individual who or time when someone is unsure about or exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity




A Social construction invented and perpetuated by society used to sort and categorize people based on phenotype or observable characteristics or traits. Per the US Census


Racial Identity

Racial identity, commonly defined as the significance and meaning of race and ethnicity to one’s self-concept (Phinney, 1996; Sellers, Smith, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1998). An individual’s racial identity is a sense of belonging to a community of people who share a similar, specific heritage.



Economic, political, social, and cultural structures, actions, and beliefs that systematic and perpetuate and unequal distribution of privileges, resources, and power between white people and people of color (Hilliard, 1992).



Awareness and valuing of racial and ethnic differences as reflected in perspectives, practices, curricula, school cultures, and climate (Kozleski & Waitoller, 2010).



Resources, information and power are allocated to ensure that historically marginalized students and their parents/caregivers have access to and participate in decision-making and quality learning opportunities (Kozleski & Waitoller, 2010).



Inequities and marginalizing policies and practices in classrooms, schools or districts are compensated for (Kozleski & Waitoller, 2010)



Think about race in relationship to policy, practices and learning opportunities (Kozleski & Waitoller, 2010).



Having a presence in educational decision making and in learning material (Mulligan & Kozleski, 2009; Chen et al, 2014).




The recognition of one’s social identities and the ways in which those identities interact to shape a sense of self and experience (Diane J. Goodman).



Excavating how one’s identities inform their understandings of experiences with complex social problems (Tania D. Mitchell).


Sexual Orientation

An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.




a gender description for someone who has transitioned (or is transitioning) from living as one gender to another.



The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of trans people, the trans community, or gender ambiguity.




Any individuals who are historically underrepresented in American higher education in terms of: race/ethnicity/nationality, gender, parental education level, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, or spirituality/religiosity/philosophy.



White Supremacy

The conscious or unconscious belief that  white people are superior and therefore should be central in society (DiAngelo, 2016).



A set of norms or social locations that are historically, socially, politically and culturally produced, and which are intrinsically linked to the privilege and dominance associated with white racial identity (DiAngelo, 2016; Chiariello, 2016). However, because of this dominance, whiteness is not recognized as a racial identity but as normal or natural.