Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms

Key Concepts

While the division still addresses discrimination and harassment issues, including Title IX and ADA compliance through Equal Opportunity, the creation of Diversity & Inclusion has increased the efforts of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Diversity to educate its community about the new lexicon of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some key terms and concepts follow:

  • Access

    Broader set of access and equal opportunity interests that many institutions seek to advance in order to correct inequities in current and recent historical education systems.

  • Climate

    The cumulative result of an organization’s programs, practices and policies on the way people of various identities experience inclusion. Campus climate impacts employee and student engagement and success.

  • Compliance

    The equal access to opportunities guaranteed by university policies based on federal and state laws.

  • Cultural Competence

    Having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms, intergroup and intragroup differences.

  • Cultural Humility

    Allows culturally competent individuals to identify the presence and importance of differences between their orientation and that of each person they interact with and to explore compromises that would be acceptable to both. It is a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique.

  • Diversity

    The multiple identities around which people differ (such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability status, national origin, etc.) that make one individual or group different from another and impact one’s perceptions, experiences, and interactions.

  • Equal Opportunity

    The principle of non-discrimination and employment that emphasizes opportunities in education and employment for all individuals.

  • Equity

    The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while simultaneously working to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some (usually historically underrepresented and marginalized) groups.

  • Inclusion

    Active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity; embracing and affirming differences and offering respect in words and actions (such as language) for all groups and people.

  • Inclusive Excellence

    Defined by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (to which UNT belongs) as the active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities.

The Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Diversity leads efforts to institutionalize these concepts through University programs, practices, policies, and people that continue to meet the dynamic need of our ever-changing student, faculty, and staff population.

Demographic Terms

  • Cisgender

    A person whose sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity, based upon what society has prescribed (ex. assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman).

  • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

    DACA is a program allowing undocumented immigrants who fit the following criteria the opportunity to apply for a work permit, obtain a social security number, and get a driver’s license:

    1. Are 15 years or older
    2. Came to the U.S. before they were 16 years of age
    3. Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012
    4. Have lived in the U.S. continuously since 2007
    5. Were physically in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
    6. Received or are working on their high school diploma or GED

    DACA provides temporary protection from removal from United States. DACA has been rescinded as of September 2017 and will end unless action is taken by Congress. It is recommended to follow federal updates through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • Ethnicity

    The cultural characteristic that connects a particular group or groups of people to each other. It is rooted in the idea of societal groups, marked especially by shared nationality, tribal affiliation, religious faith, shared language or cultural traditions and backgrounds.

  • Gender Expression

    The ways in which a person externally communicates their gender to others.

  • Gender Identity

    An individual’s personal experience of their own gender; gender identity is not determined by sex assigned at birth.

  • Latinx

    A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral, non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

  • Multiracial

    An individual that comes from more than one race or whose parents are born from more than one race.

  • National Origin

    The nation from which a person originates. For example, a British citizen might have a national origin of England, Scotland, Wales or Jersey, depending on where they originate. National origin must have identifiable historical and geographical elements which, at some point in time, indicate the existence of a nation. National origin is not something an individual can change (though origin can change through the generations of a family).

  • Non-Resident

    A classification assigned to a non-U.S. citizen or foreign national, who doesn't pass the green card test or the IRS substantial presence test. This term is more inclusive than use of the term “alien.”

  • Race

    Not a biological category but an idea, a social construction – created to interpret human differences and used to justify socioeconomic arrangements in ways that accrue to the benefit of the dominant social group.

  • Sex Assigned at Birth

    A medically assigned status based on chromosomes, hormones, and sex/reproductive organs.

  • Transgender

    An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.

  • Undocumented Immigrant

    Refers to foreign nationals residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal visa that is no longer valid.

Social Justice Terms

  • Ally

    A member of an advantaged group who acts against the oppression from which they derive power, privilege, and acceptance.

  • Advocate

    One who uses their privilege to influence decisions within systems (political, social, economic, etc.) and institutions. Advocates go beyond allyship to address systemic and institutional change.

  • Bias

    An unfair preference for or dislike of something. Although bias is a natural cognitive process that affects everyone, it is also a component of social oppression when directed toward people or groups.

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    Discomfort that occurs because of a discrepancy between what a person already knows or believes and new information and interpretation. Is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

  • Identity Development

    Describes a person’s awareness and understanding of oppression in the social environment (and also “within” every person) as part of the developmental process; are the differences in the way individuals incorporate, resist, or redefine specific manifestations of social oppression, and is applicable to various social groups.

  • Intersectionality

    A term from Black feminist thought that describes how systems of oppression intersect in real people’s lives in ways that can’t be captured by only looking at one dimension of oppression (e.g., racism, classism, or sexism).

  • Marginalization

    The social process of becoming or being made to be at a social disadvantage and relegated to the fringe of society and rendered less important, empowered, or relevant. Also known as social exclusion.

  • Microaggression

    Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward a social group. Can be interpreted as “backhanded communications.”

  • Oppression

    The interlocking systems of advantage and disadvantage that create and sustain injustice. Oppression operates through conscious and unconscious attitudes and behaviors on the individual, institutional, and societal levels.

  • Privilege

    Exclusive advantages or benefits afforded to certain people, based on their group identity or status (usually dominant). These advantages are largely unearned and are often invisible to the people enjoying them (ex. White, heterosexual, able-bodied, Christian, male, etc.).

  • Social Justice

    Full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs, the distribution of resources is equitable, and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.