Skip to main content
Definitions and Statements


Bias: Intentional or unintentional actions against someone because of their actual or perceived age, gender, sex, religion, race, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, or other targeted aspects of one’s identity. Bias-related behaviors may include, but are not limited to, offensive graffiti, the display of degrading or offensive images, derogatory or offensive verbal or written comments, offensive jokes, outing someone’s sexual orientation, or other inappropriate references to aspects of a person’s identity. For more about bias, please see this page. [4]

Campus Climate: Describes the collective effect of the institutional history, structural realities, attitudes, behaviors, and standards of students, faculty, and staff. A healthy campus climate is one that leads to all individual community members experiencing the environment in an equitable and respectful way. [5]

Cultural Competency: The skill set necessary to allow an individual to engage in effective interpersonal, interethnic, and intercultural group interactions in the modern university, region, and world. Cultural competency is characterized by an understanding of the experiences of various ethnic and cultural groups and by the ability to anticipate and respond with sensitivity to the needs and cultural differences of a widely diverse community [7].

Discrimination: Unfair actions toward a social group and its members that is based upon prejudice about that group. [3]

Diversity: Individual differences (e.g. personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, physical or cognitive abilities, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning. [1]

Equity: Creating opportunities for equal access and success for historically underrepresented populations, such as racial and ethnic minority and low income students, in three main areas:

  • Representational equity: the proportional participation at all levels of an institution;
  • Resource equity: the distribution of educational resources in order to close equity gaps; and
  • Equity-mindedness: the demonstration of an awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff. [2]

Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). This engagement with diversity has the potential to increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions. [1]

Minoritized: Describes a social group that is devalued in society. This devaluing encompasses how the group is represented, what degree of access to resources it is granted, and how the unequal access is rationalized. The term minoritized (rather than minority) is used to indicate that the group’s lower position is a function of active socially constructed dynamics, rather than its numbers in society. [3]

Oppression: Group prejudice and discrimination backed by institutional power. The term oppression indicates that one group is the position to enforce their prejudice and discrimination against another group throughout the society; the prejudice and discrimination have moved from the individual to the societal level and have long-term and far-reaching impacts. [3]

Prejudice: Learned prejudgment based on stereotypes about a social group that someone belongs to. [3]

Privilege: The collection of unearned advantages enjoyed by members of certain social identity groups as a result of a system that treats the experiences, values and attitudes of that particular group as normative. Privilege is often invisible to those who have it. [8]

Solidarity: The recognition of, and ethical response to, the fundamental interdependence and equality of all human beings. Genuine solidarity with others, rooted in an “anthropology of hope,” leads to practical structural action aimed at enabling all people to participate in and benefit from the common good. Action for solidarity is always enacted with others, not for them, learning from and working alongside others with mutuality and respect. [6]

Thriving: A measure of human flourishing, demonstrated by full intellectual, social, and emotional engagement, which at JCU is assessed by:

  • (For students) levels of participation in five specific areas: engaged learning, academic determination, positive perspective, diverse citizenship, and social connectedness. [9]
  • (For faculty and staff) the existence of equitable organizational structures, within a campus climate of dignity and respect, that produce a measurable positive impact on job satisfaction, job performance, and commitment to the organization [10].


[1] “Making Excellence Inclusive.” American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Quoted in the NERCHE Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education.

[2] Bensimon, E. M. (2006). Learning equity-mindedness: Equality in educational outcomes. The Academic Workplace, 1(17), 2-21. Quoted in the NERCHE Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education.

[3] DiAngelo, Robin. (2016). What does it mean to be White?: Developing White racial literacy. New York: Peter Lang Academic Publishers.

[4] “Stand up to Bias.” John Carroll University. 

[5] Adapted from definitions by Dr. Sue Rankin, University of California and Hurtado, S., Milem, J. F., Clayton-Pedersen, A., & Allen, W. (1998). Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity: Educational policy and practice. Review of Higher Education, 21(3), 279–302.

[6] adapted from Beyer, G. (2014). The meaning of solidarity in Catholic Social Teaching. Political Theology, 15(1), 7-25.

[7] adapted from Enyeart Smith, T. M., Wessel, M. T., & Polacek, G. J. (2017). Perceptions of Cultural Competency and Acceptance among College Students: Implications for Diversity Awareness in Higher Education. ABNF Journal, 28(2), 25-33.

[8] adapted from Geiger, K.A. and Jordan, C., (2014) “The role of societal privilege in the definitions and practices of inclusion”, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33(3), 261-274. https://

[9] Schreiner, L. A. (2010). The thriving quotient: A new vision for student success. Wiley InterScience. doi: 10.1002/abc.20016

[10] Colquitt, J.A., LePine, J.A., and Wesson, M.J. (2017). Organizational behavior: Improving performance and commitment in the workplace. 5th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 96-118.

page revised August 28, 2018

Syllabus Statement

Syllabus Statement on Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Bias*

John Carroll University is committed to fostering a learning and working environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and ethical and moral values consistent with Jesuit and Catholic traditions.

The University seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment, including sexual harassment. If you have experienced sexual harassment/assault/misconduct based upon gender/sex/sexual orientation, and you share this with a faculty member, the faculty member must notify the Title IX Coordinator, Eric Butler, who will discuss options with you. He can be reached at or (216) 397-1559. For more information about your options and resources, please go to the Title IX page, where you can file an online report. An option to report anonymously is available.

If you have experienced bias or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, military or veteran status, genetic information or any factor protected by law, you are encouraged to report this via the Bias Reporting System at the stop bias page. For more information about the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, please see here.

Statement updated August 3, 2018.

*Instructors are required to include this statement in all course syllabi.


Events Archive, 2018:

Events Archive, 2017:

Events Archive, 2016:

  • In It Together with Los Angeles-based social justice theatre troupe “Will & Company”
  • Community Conversation on Race sponsored by the Provost’s Council, Feb. 3, 2016

Events Archive, 2015:

Diversity Reports and Activities, 2012-2014