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Terms To Begin

Accountability: an intentional arrangement that determines whether and how individuals or groups are responsible and answerable for their actions to other individuals and groups.

Antiracism/ist: in contrast to nonracism, is the opposite of racism and describes the intentional actions of dismantling racism and bringing the system to an end. Antiracism describes the work and antiracist describes the person or people committed to the tasks.

Bias (Unconscious or implicit): refers to biases that we carry without awareness and which impact our day to day interactions. To learn more about implicit bias and to take an implicit association test online, visit Project Implicit at

Climate: the multidimensional constructs subject to and shaped by polices, practices and behaviors of those within and external to the institution, representing the attitudes, perception and behaviors and expectations regarding issues of diversity, inclusion and equity, and which include history and legacy of inclusion or exclusion, compositional or structural diversity, psychological dimensions, behavioral dimensions, and diversity leadership. (Hurtado et al., 1998)

Equity literacy: a complex understanding of bias and inequity that enables one to make sense of diversity-related dynamics in sophisticated ways. This understanding helps them to effectively respond and do good instead of harm that can come from only enthusiasm and good intentions.

Sex: separate from gender, this term refers to the cluster of biological, chromosomal and anatomical features associated with maleness and femaleness in the human body.

Social institution: a complex group of interdependent systems/networks that functions together to perform a social role and which through norms and values, shapes the behavior of the groups or people within it and reproduces itself over time (e.g. legal, education, financial/economic, religious).

Affinity Group/Employee Resources: is a small voluntary group of faculty, students, and staff linked by a common purpose, ideology, or interest. Affinity Groups play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to be visible and succeed, and which serve to support recruitment, retention, education, advocacy, and community building. For example, see:

Bias: any conduct motivated by prejudice (verbal, written, nonverbal) that is threatening, harassing, intimidating, discriminatory, hostile, unwelcoming, exclusionary, demeaning, degrading or derogatory based on a person’s real or perceived identity or group affiliation in a protected class recognized by law including, but not limited to, race/ethnicity, age, disability status, gender, gender identity/expression, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or religion.

Diversity: refers to the range of human experiences such as age, class, ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, disability, religion, sexual orientation, personality, communication style, beliefs/values, work style, and veteran status. Other dimensions of diversity include cross functions and divisions of organizations, hierarchical levels of organizations, variety of operating environments organizations works/competes, advances in products, and shifting customer demographics and community expectations.

Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance, ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation or history, ethnic classification, and/or the social, economic, and political needs of a society at a given period of time.

Social systems: various groups of interdependent systems and networks of actors that make up social institutions (e.g. police, courts, banks, legislators/law makers, colleges/universities, K-12 schools).

Advocate: noun: a person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group. 2. verb to actively support/plea in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance, educate others, etc.

Agency: the ability to make independent decisions and act in one’s own best interests.

Belonging: SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to ensuring that each individual is known and accepted for who they are. It is a part of the founding values of who we are as an institution.

Classism: a system of power and privilege tied to ascribed or achieved economic wealth and social networks. It is a mechanism by which groups of people in similar social networks are considered a unit according to their economic, occupational, or social status.

Ethnicity: one’s ethnic quality or affiliation. It is voluntary, self-defined, non hierarchical, fluid and multiple, and based on cultural difference, not physical ones.

Equity: the creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational, occupational and personal development programs that are compatible of closing the achievements gaps in student success and completion and employee success.

Inclusive excellence: the pursuit and realization of a set of balanced diversity-related objectives that reposition diversity and inclusion as fundamental to institutional excellence. It includes: Intentional institutional practices that focus on the holistic development of students (intellectual, social, and spiritual) by purposefully developing and utilizing all the organization’s resources to enhance student learning, addressing the cultural differences students bring and how these clash with organizational status quos, and creating a welcoming community that engages all types of diversity in the service of students and organizational growth.

Stereotype: blanket beliefs, unconscious associations and expectations about members of certain groups that present an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude or uncritical judgment. Stereotypes go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information and are highly generalized.

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