Student reading a textbook

Language and how we express ourselves plays a vital role in culture and society as it not only identifies who we are and how we interpret the world, but it can also allow the listener to make assessments of your views.

In many cases papers written in academic courses should be non-gender specific unless they are being written about a specific person. This may be accomplished by viewing this as an opportunity for the student and faculty member to challenge gendered and racialized positions. Some terms that are more inclusive and preferred are "people who are racialized" and "person first" language when speaking about persons with disabilities (e.g. person who is blind).

There is an evolution of language so it is important to stay informed about current, preferred and appropriate use of identity terms. If in doubt about appropriate, inclusive terminology, faculty, staff and students may contact the Equity Office for further assistance.

Key Concepts


  • Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all.
  • It requires the identification and elimination of barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups.
  • The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations in the social areas of employment, the provision of goods and services, as well as living accommodations.
  • Redressing unbalanced conditions is needed to achieve equality of opportunity for all groups.


  • In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another.
  • It means respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, ability, sexual orientation, faith, socio-economic status and class.
  • But it’s more than this. It includes differences in life experiences, learning and working styles and personality types that can be engaged to achieve excellence in teaching, learning, research, scholarship and administrative and support services.


  • Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity, where each person is valued and provided with the opportunity to participate fully in creating a successful and thriving community.
  • It means creating value from the distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives of all members of our community, allowing us to leverage talent and foster both individual and organizational excellence.