Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Office of Multicultural Student Services aims to provide leadership and professional development on initiatives related to equity, diversity and inclusion. At our core, we are committed to student support, advocacy and education through access and success.
The progression of social justice scholars at The College of St. Scholastica is unique to every individual, but there are trends that we have identified that may help you in your own social justice identity development and growth.
As you are is a great place to begin. See yourself reflected by exploring St. Scholastica with a diverse group of student ambassadors. These students share why they chose to be at St. Scholastica and what it’s “really” like.
Visit St. Scholastica with a Student Ambassador
The Student Ambassador program recruits current St. Scholastica students from diverse backgrounds to participate and serve as ambassadors to interested incoming students or families visiting the College. To request a visit with EDI or Student Ambassadors contact us.
If you think St. Scholastica is a good fit here are some things to think about before enrolling
- Applying for scholarships
- Multicultural Leadership Orientation (MLO)
- Dignitas and social justice scholarships
- Tribal funding
To begin we want you focused on your academics, adjusting to college life and exploring a variety of social justice interests.
Get connected with campus resources such as:
- Campus Ministry
- Career Services
- Center for Equal Access
- The Rose Frenzel Warner Writing and Critical Thinking Center
- TRIO Student Support Services
- Tutoring Center
- Veterans Resource Center
You are strongly encouraged to explore many student activities, social justice clubs and volunteer experiences.
Multicultural Leadership Orientation
This five-day orientation session is designed to provide new incoming students an opportunity to:
- Strengthen leadership skills
- Explore and expand their understanding of social justice
- Build lifelong relationships with other new and returning St. Scholastica students
Students also get to meet staff and faculty who will support them for the transition to college and support their academic success. This program is run primarily by current St. Scholastica students and is supported by the Office of Multicultural Student Services.
Your home away from home
The Center for Just Living
Hang out, be yourself, build community, challenge yourself and learn from others. Located on the ground floor of Tower Hall (T25), the Center for Just Living (The CJL) serves as a social gathering space for students. A safe place for students of color, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented students on campus. Social justice clubs meet here and plan club events.
The Intercultural Center
The bridge between The CJL and the student union on the ground floor of Tower Hall (T23 and T21). Open to all students for studying and hanging out. The Intercultural Center (The IC) promotes cross-cultural understanding and inclusivity by encouraging the campus community to socially engage and interact with one another respectfully in a diverse environment.
Located on the third floor of Tower Hall (T3115), the Jiimaan Abiwin room (also known as the Canoe Room) is a place for Native American students to create a community with other Native students. Students practice spirituality and know that they are in a safe environment based on their unique needs and culture. Smudging is allowed in this space for physical and mental well-being.
Information and Resources
A Bias Incident is defined as single or multiple acts of verbal, written, electronic or physical expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, intimidation, or hostility against an individual or group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived status of being in a federally protected class.
- Religion/religious creed
- Gender or gender identity/expression
- National origin
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
Expressions may be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm or fear in others or that endanger the health, safety and welfare of members of the campus community. To be considered within this definition, the words or conduct must be objectively offensive to a reasonable person.
One way we support inclusive excellence throughout the St. Scholastica community is by offering a variety of workshops and presentations for student organizations, academic courses and employees. Browse our current offerings and submit a request. Specialized presentations are also available.
Native Nations 101
This workshop’s focus is on the history of tribal sovereignty over the last 500 years through law and policy. In this workshop, we will explore tribal and European/U.S. relations, provide local histories from Native perspectives, help to define laws and policies impacting Indian Country and dispel some common misconceptions or stereotypes about Native peoples.
This workshop will help to develop a foundational understanding of the many frameworks of diversity, inclusion, and equity. The group will look at identities, values, and community to see how each individual’s story has importance and impact on the greater whole. This exploration will also give the group some skills on how to interact with other stories.
What do we mean as a campus community when we use terms like diversity, equity and inclusion? In a polarized world how do you have meaningful and impactful dialogue around issues of equity and inclusion? In this session we will address these two questions with the goal of having a common understanding and opening ourselves to lean into the discomfort.
Bias in the Workplace
Unconscious Bias are thoughts or feelings that you are not aware of that influence judgments. These judgments can lead to exclusion behaviors, often time unintentionally. We all have bias. This workshop will explore unconscious bias, explore why we have them and identify ways to overcome them.
The work of diversity and inclusion belongs to all of us. To support making St. Scholastica a welcoming place of inclusion the Office of Multicultural Student Services has collected a variety of helpful learning, teaching and development resources for the community. You’ll also find recommended reading and accessibility resources.
The College of St. Scholastica believes in the need for a common vocabulary as we work towards dismantling systemic barriers and creating a more just, inclusive campus community. A common vocabulary will enable us to advance inclusive excellence in community with one another, to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations, and to foster a campus culture where each and every one of our members — faculty, staff, students, and Sisters — can thrive.
Acknowledging that language is constantly evolving and that words often have different meanings depending on lived experiences, this glossary is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather intended to provide a basic framework for key terms as they relate to diversity, equity, inclusion, identity and culture.
- Ableism: beliefs or practices that rest on the assumption that being able-bodied is “normal” while other states of being need to be “fixed” or altered. This can result in devaluing or discriminating against people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities. Institutionalized ableism may include or take the form of un/intentional organizational barriers that result in disparate treatment of people with disabilities.
- Accessibility: the “ability to access” the functionality of a system or entity and gain the related benefits. The degree to which a product, service, or environment is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessible design ensures both direct (unassisted) access and indirect access through assistive technology (e.g., computer screen readers). Universal design ensures that an environment can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people.
- Accommodation: any change, alteration or modification to the way things are customarily done that provides an equal opportunity for those with disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions. Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to, sign language interpreters, materials in alternative formats (such as braille, different font size or digital format), preferential seating, and assistive listening devices.
- Antiracist: one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.
- Assistive Technology (AT): any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve ease of use or usability for individuals with disabilities. Examples include message boards, screen readers, refreshable Braille displays, keyboards and mouse modifications, and head pointers.
- Bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in an unfair or negative way. Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, represents the attitudes and stereotypes that influence judgment, decision-making, and behavior in ways that are outside of conscious awareness
- Bias incident: bias incident is defined as a single act or multiple acts of verbal, written, electronic, or physical expressions of disrespectful conduct, hate, intimidation, and/or hostility against an individual or group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived status of being in a category protected under this Policy.
- Biological sex: refers to anatomical, physiological, genetic, or physical attributes that we use to classify people as male, female, or intersex. These include both primary and secondary sex characteristics, including genitalia, gonads, hormone levels, hormone receptors, chromosomes, and genes. Sex is often inaccurately conflated or interchanged with gender, which is more social than biological, and involves personal identity factors as well. Additionally, although sex is based on real statistical variation among humans, the boundaries between sex categories is not always clear and is influenced by bias and cultural norms.
- BIPOC: acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Color that emphasizes the unique racial experiences of Black people and Indigenous people
- Chief Diversity Officer, CDO: highest-ranking individual on campus responsible for leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. A CDO’s primary duties usually include addressing curricular and systematic issues at the college; they are usually the ones who are primary in bias, discrimination and hate crime cases. Their programing efforts often focus on education with faculty and staff (and some students in cases of bias, discrimination) and retention of fac/staff of marginalized identities.
- Cisgender: Used to describe an individual whose gender identity and gender expression align with the socially constructed gender identity and expression associated with the sex they are assigned at birth.
- Cissexism: the assumption that all people are cisgender, and that people who are cisgender are superior to trans* folx. Also used to describe the systemic oppression of trans* folx.
- Coming out: tor people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, the process of self-identifying and self-acceptance that continues throughout one’s life, and the sharing of their identity with others. Sometimes referred to as disclosing. Individuals often recognize a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/gender-expansive, or queer identity within themselves first, and then might choose to reveal it to others. There are many different degrees of being out: Some may be out to friends only, some may be out publicly, and some may be out only to themselves. It’s important to remember that coming out is an incredibly personal and transformative experience. Not everyone is in the same place when it comes to being out, and it is critical to respect where each person is in that process of self-identification. It is up to each person, individually, to decide if and when to come out or disclose.
- Cultural fluency: set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that enable a system, agency, or professional to function effectively in cross-cultural situations. Like other types of competence, cultural competence is developed over time through training, experience, guidance and self-evaluation.
- Culture: patterns of shared basic assumptions, behaviors, and experiences within a group of people that are learned by and taught to new members in order to guide them in the appropriate and inappropriate ways of perceiving, thinking, feeling, and acting
- Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment (from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).
- Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)
- Ethnicity: social identity and mutual belongingness that defines a group of people on the basis of common origins, shared beliefs, and shared standards of behavior
- Equality: treating everyone the same or giving everyone the same opportunities regardless of their individual attributes
- Equity: creation of opportunities for historically underserved populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion
- Folx: an alternative spelling to the familiar word “folks”. While the word “folks” is gender neutral, the spelling “folx” has been adopted by some communities as a way to indicate inclusion of marginalized groups, specifically LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color.
- Gender: a set of social, psychological, and/or emotional traits, behaviors, and/or expressions, often influenced by societal expectations, that classify an individual within a spectrum of man, woman, nonbinary, genderqueer, etc.
- Gender binary: the classification of gender into two discrete categories of male and female. Related to “genderism” below. See also “gender spectrum” below.
- Gender dysphoria: discomfort or distress related to an incongruence between an individual’s gender identity and the gender assigned at birth.
- Gender expression: clothing, physical appearance and other external presentations and behaviors that express aspects of gender identity or role.
- Gender identity: an internal sense of being male, female or something else, which may or may not correspond to an individual’s sex assigned at birth or sex characteristics.
- Gender nonconforming: describes an individual whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the gender norms associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Gender spectrum: the concept that gender exists beyond a simple man/woman binary model, but instead exists within a spectrum. Some people fall towards more masculine or more feminine aspects, some people move fluidly throughout the spectrum, and some identify off the spectrum entirely.
- Genderism: the belief that gender exists as a binary, comprising of male and female, and that a person’s gender is inherently linked to the sex they are assigned at birth.
- Genderqueer: describes an individual whose gender identity doesn’t align with a binary understanding of gender, including those who think of themselves as both male and female, neither, moving between genders, a third gender or outside of gender altogether.
- Heteronormativity/heterosexism: the assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Also used to describe systemic oppression on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Inclusive Excellence 2025: the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence at The College of St. Scholastica; a living plan of action that is intended to serve as a blueprint for embedding diversity, equity and inclusion into the systems and culture of the College.
- Inclusion: active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions
- Inclusive excellence: Introduced in 2005 by AACU as a methodology for helping colleges realize the benefit of diversity and its positive impact on institutional quality. Making Excellence Inclusive, defines it as in a campus context to mean an active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with differences—in people, in the curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
- Intersectionality: describes the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, genderism, classism, etc.) combine, overlap, or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.
- Invisible disabilities: there are many people with non-visible disabilities that can range from chemical sensitivities to diabetes. Given their particular situation they may require some assistance. If a person tells you assistance is needed, do your best to provide it – even if it takes a little extra time.
- Microaggressions: brief and commonplace “verbal, behavioral, and/or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative … slights and insults”
- Misgender: to refer to someone, especially a transgender or gender-expansive person, using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, which does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify.
- Neurodiversity: when neurological differences are recognized and respected as are any other kind of human differences or variations. These differences can include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autism Spectrum, and Tourette Syndrome.
- Nonbinary: refers to individuals who identify as neither man or woman, both man and woman, or a combination of man or woman. It is an identity term which some use exclusively, while others may use it interchangeably with terms like genderqueer, gender creative, gender nonconforming, gender diverse, or gender expansive. Individuals who identify as nonbinary may understand the identity as falling under the transgender umbrella and may thus identify as transgender. Sometimes abbreviated as NB or Enby.
- Outing: the deliberate or accidental sharing of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression without their explicit consent. Outing is considered disrespectful and a potentially dangerous act for LGBTQ+ individuals.
- People of Culture or Bodies of Culture: A more inclusive phrase to include all who identify with their BIPOC identities, including those who society deems as “white passing” (individuals who “appear” to be non-BIPOC but identify with their BIPOC heritage). Bodies of Culture is a phrase that digs deeper, this phrase identifies race as a social construct used to denote whiteness as the shorthand for humanness. Resmaa Menakem on the phrase ‘Bodies of Culture’: “I don’t say “bodies of color” anymore, because what I’m trying to do is, I’m trying to reclaim the idea that I’m actually a human.
- Power: a relational term; understood as a relationship between human beings in a specific historical, economic and social setting
- Privilege: an advantage that comes from historical oppression of other groups; can be seen in race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, age. Acknowledging it isn’t meant to shame those with certain privileges but rather to challenge the systems that make it exist.
- Queer: historically a derogatory term used against LGBTQ people, it has been embraced and reclaimed by LGBTQ communities. Queer is often used to represent all individuals who identify outside of other categories of sexual and gender identity. Queer may also be used by an individual who feels as though other sexual or gender identity labels do not adequately describe their experience.
- Race: socially constructed concept of dividing people into groups based on skin color and physical characteristics
- Racism: combination of individual prejudice and individual discrimination, on one hand, and institutional policies and practices, on the other, that result in the unjustified negative treatment and subordination of members of racial or ethnic groups that have experienced a history of discrimination. Prejudice, discrimination, and racism do not require intention.
- Racial oppression: results from the use of institutional power and privilege where one person or group benefits at the expense of another. Oppression is the use of power and the effects of domination
- Racial justice: proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all
- Religious accommodation: any adjustment to the work/academic environment that will allow a person to practice their religion. The need for religious accommodation may arise where an individual’s religious beliefs, observances or practices conflict with a specific task or requirement of the position/application process/academic course. Accommodation requests often relate to work schedules, dress and grooming, or religious expression in the workplace/classroom.
- Sex assigned at birth: refers to the sex assigned to an individual by a medical professional in infancy, based on the appearance of the external genitals. In almost all cases, people are assigned either Male or Female and this designation is placed on legal paperwork such as their birth certificate and social security records. This sex assignment may not correspond with the individual’s actual biological sex or gender. Some individuals are able to later change their legal documentation to reflect their proper sex or gender but this process can be challenging and, in some states and countries, impossible.
- Sexual orientation: emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings toward other people. While sexual behavior involves the choices one makes in acting on one’s sexual orientation, sexual orientation is part of the human condition, one’s sexual activity does not define one’s sexual orientation; typically, it is the attraction that helps determine orientation. Examples include: gay and lesbian (homosexual), straight (heterosexual), bisexual, pansexual, asexual, aromantic, etc.
- Social justice: both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.
- Trans*: a shorthand, umbrella term encompassing those whose gender identities or gender roles differ from those typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. The use of the asterisk in the term trans* serves to represent the wide array of identities expressions, and embodiments encapsulated in the transgender community.
- Trans-affirmative: being aware of, respectful, and supportive of the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.
- Transition: the process of shifting toward a gender role different from that assigned at birth, which can include social transition, such as new names, pronouns and clothing, and medical transition, such as hormone therapy or surgery.
- Two-spirit: a term used within some American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) communities to refer to a person who identifies as having both a male and a female essence or spirit. The term– which was created in 1990 by a group of AI/AN activists at an annual Native LGBTQ conference– encompasses sexual, cultural, gender, and spiritual identities, and provides unifying, positive, and encouraging language that emphasizes reconnecting to tribal traditions.
- Universal design (UD): also known as “inclusive design” and “design for all,” this is an approach to the design of products, places, policies and services that can meet the needs of as many people as possible throughout their lifetime, regardless of age, ability, or situation.
- White body supremacy: the idea that the white body is the ostensibly supreme standard against which other bodies’ humanity is measured. The attitudes, convictions, and beliefs of white-body supremacy are reflexive cognitive side effects that are reinforced through institutions as practice, procedures and standards. The white body is used to hearing things that make it comfortable. The term white body supremacy helps white folk embody the intellectualized concept of white supremacy. Resmaa Menakem writes, “only a small fraction of white supremacy lives in our conscious mind.” Much of the patterns and reflexes that sustain racism are unconscious and manifest in our bodies. This manifestation informs the term “white body supremacy” and calls for racial justice work to include a focus on the body, not just the intellect.
- White supremacy: belief that white people dominate society, typically to the exclusion or detriment of other racial and ethnic groups
- Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (American Psychological Association)
- Association of American Colleges & Universities
- Definitions and Resources (Augsburg)
- Foundational Concepts & Affirming Language (Harvard)
- Merriam Webster
- National Conference for Community and Justice, Intersectionality
- Intersex Society of North America
- interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth
- Ibram X. Kendi defines what it means to be an antiracist