Related Terms and Definitions

Below are definitions of terms that are commonly used in conversations about creating a safe and respectful professional, academic, and/or social climate. These definitions, however, should not be interpreted as legal definitions that are or may be used to determine if a violation of law has occurred.

Assault – an intentional act, verbal or physical, that can be described as creating fear or physical harm

Battery – an intentional and unwanted act of physical contact

Bias Incident – any behavior that a person finds harmful or hurtful and reasonably believes is directed at him or her or others simply because of  one’s race, color, religion, disability, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, veteran status, or age

Bias Offense – any act that is based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, disability, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, veteran status, or age that creates an intimidating and/or hostile educational , living, or working environment by unreasonably and substantially interfering with an individual’s or group’s safety, security, work, or academic performance.

Campus climate – the general atmosphere of the campus as a unique society; the degree to which members of the campus community feel included and respected

Civility – courteous behavior; the act of showing regard for others.

Creed – a religious faith or belief.

Disability – a physical or mental impairment that substantially affects one or more major life activity

Disability bias – a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their physical or mental impairments or challenges

Discrimination – unfair treatment of a person or a class of persons without regard to individual merit and based on the person’s membership in a group, personal characteristics, or perceived identity

Diversity – the variation of social and cultural identities among people existing together in a community

Ethnicity – state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition

Ethnicity and/or national-origin bias – a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons of the same race or national origin who share common or similar traits, languages, customs, and/or traditions

Gender – state of being male or female, typically with reference to social or cultural differences rather than biological

Gender identity – the internal sense of one’s gendered self (e. g. as a woman, man, girl, boy, or androgynous person) or of being perceived as a woman, man, girl, boy, and/or androgynous person

Gender expression – how a person’s gender identity is communicated to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice, and/or by emphasizing, deemphasizing, or changing physical characteristics

Harassment – unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning, or bothersome to an individual

Hate crime – a criminal offense committed against a person, persons, or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.

Hate group – an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a group of a race, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation, that differs from that of the members of the organization. This category includes malicious threats, damage to property, defacement of property, and/or physical contact specifically intended to intimidate or harass another person because of the person’s race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.

Inclusiveness – creating a hospitable and welcoming environment; interacting with all members of the community without regard to individual characteristics.

Indirect discrimination – a rule, policy, practice, or procedure that is the same for everyone but has an unequal or disproportionate effect for a specific group of people

Intimidation – to influence others through fear or threat of harm

Intolerance – an attitude of not accepting or respecting different opinions, practices, or people

Perceived bias – biased behavior directed at another person based on characteristics that the perpetrator perceives the victim to possesses

Prejudice – preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience; dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior formed on such a bias

Race – a group of people who share the same culture, history, language, physical characteristics, etc.; a group or set of people with a common physical feature or features

Racial bias – a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons who possess common physical characteristics including, but not limited to, color of skin, eyes, and/or facial features

Religious bias – a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons who share the same religious beliefs regarding the origin of the purpose of the universe and the existence or nonexistence of a supreme being

Respect – a due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others

Sexual orientation bias – a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on, but not limited to, their sexual attraction toward and responsiveness to members of the opposite sex

Sexuality – a person’s sexual orientation or preference

Tolerance – respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, forms of expression, and ways of being human; harmony in difference

Transgender – a term describing persons whose gender identities, expressions, or behaviors are not those traditionally associated with their birth gender

Vandalism – the destruction or alteration of individual, public, or communal property