Diversity Terms and Definitions | Western Technical College

Diversity Terms and Definitions

Equity (Western’s definition): A focus on practices, policies, and instruction that create an environment of excellence where student success and empowerment is a cultural norm. We commit to access, inclusion, fairness, and the removal of barriers as pillars of equity in education. 

  • Access to high quality instruction, services, activities, and spaces
  • Inclusion of every student to feel essential and valued by intentionally utilizing student’s strengths and abilities to co-create successful academic outcomes
  • Systematic Removal of Barriers in policy and practice at every level to ensure inclusivity for every student, especially our underserved students
  • Fairness by ensuring every student receives the individualized support they need to be successful 

Campus Climate: Current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students that create the current environment on campus. Behaviors within a workplace or learning environment, ranging from subtle to cumulative to dramatic, that can influence whether an individual feel personally safe, listened to, valued, and treated fairly and with respect. 

Culture: The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. 

Discrimination: Unfair treatment or denial of rights based on a person's race, skin color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, religion, age, or other legally protected identity/status. 

Diversity: The sum total of all of the dimensions of difference that exist among people, including our identities, experiences, abilities, and worldviews; may be visible or invisible; Dimensions may include: gender, age, ethnicity, language, class, culture, sexual orientation, race, ability, etc. 

Ethnicity: Tradition, history, language, culture, customs, and learned behavior of groups of people; It encompasses much more than just a person’s racial identity. 

Hate/Bias Incident: Any physically or verbally harmful act that is motivated by (or appears to be motivated by, in whole or in part) any of the following factors: race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, or other personal identity characteristic, real or perceived. 

Inclusion: When members of diverse social and cultural groups are actively included and the dignity of all people is respected so everyone can thrive and reach their fullest potential; fully valuing different perspectives and reflecting the interests of diverse members in all areas of group activity. 

Intersectionality: Examines the ways that different forms of oppression based on gender, race, class, sexuality, etc. work together. Each person has multiple identities stemming from relationships, history, and power structures that allow individuals to experience both oppression and privilege. 

Multiculturalism: An acknowledgment that, as people, we are culturally diverse and multifaceted, and a process through which the sharing and transforming of cultural experiences allow us to re-articulate and redefine new spaces, possibilities, and positions for ourselves and others.

PGP (Personal Gender pronouns): A set of pronouns that an individual would like others to use when addressing the individual (i.e. she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, zie/zim/zir, etc...). One way to be more inclusive and welcoming is to incorporate PGPs into regular intro activities. 

Prejudice: A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members; typically based on unsupported generalizations or stereotypes. 

Privilege: A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by members of a given category of people (based on race, color, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc.) that is not available to people outside that category; an exemption in many cases from certain burdens or liabilities. 

Race: A socially constructed concept used to put people in categories based on physical characteristics without basis in biological facts. 

Racism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in race/ethnicity; prejudice PLUS power; the systematic mistreatment of any group of people which isolates and divides human beings from each other. 

Contact Us
Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement
Student Success Center, Room 222
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601