Survey Terms and Definitions
Survey Terms and Definitions
Following are several terms and definitions that are used in the survey. These will be hyperlinked when they appear in the online survey. We recognize that language is continuously changing. All the terms offered here are intended as flexible, working definitions. The terms are defined below and in the hyperlinks in the survey. The classifications used here may differ from legal definitions. Culture, economic background, region, race, and age all influence how we talk about others and ourselves. Because of this, all language is subjective and culturally defined and most identity labels are dependent on personal interpretation and experience. This list strives to use the most inclusive language possible while also offering useful descriptions of community terms.
Ableist: Someone who practices discrimination or prejudice against an individual or group with a disability.
Ageist: Someone who practices discrimination or prejudice against an individual or group on the basis of their age.
American Indian (Native American): A person having origin in any of the original tribes of North America who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Androgynous: A person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.
Antisemitic: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward people who are Jewish that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and marginalization of Jewish people.
Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of an individual.
Assigned Birth Sex: The biological sex assigned (named) an individual baby at birth.
Biphobic: Someone who practices discrimination or prejudice against an individual or group who is bisexual.
Bisexual: A person who may be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
Bullied: Being subjected to unwanted offensive and malicious behavior that undermines, patronizes, intimidates, or demeans.
Classist: Someone who practices discrimination or prejudice against an individual or group based on social or economic class.
Climate: The current attitudes and behaviors of faculty, staff, administrators, and students, as well as institutional policies and procedures, which influence the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.
Cronyism: The hiring or promoting of friends or associates to positions without proper regard to their qualifications.
Disability: A physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities.
Discrimination: Discrimination refers to the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs rather than on individual merit. Discrimination can be the effect of some law or established practice that confers privilege or liability based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual identity, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.
Ethnicity: A socially constructed category about a group of people based on their shared culture. This can be reflected in language, religion, material culture such as clothing and cuisine, and cultural products such as music and art.
Ethnocentric: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward an individual or group’s culture based solely on the values and standards of one's own culture. Ethnocentric individuals judge other groups relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially with concern for language, behavior, customs, and religion.
FMLA: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide certain employees with job-protected unpaid leave due to situations such as the following: serious health conditions that make employees unable to perform their jobs; caring for a sick family member; or caring for a new child (including birth, adoption, or foster care).
Gender Identity: A person’s inner sense of being man, woman, both, or neither. Gender identity may or may not be expressed outwardly and may or may not correspond to one’s physical characteristics.
Gender Expression: The manner in which a person outwardly represents gender, regardless of the physical characteristics that might typically define the individual as man or woman.
Genderqueer: A person whose gender identity is outside of, not included within, or beyond the binary of woman and man, or who is gender nonconforming through expression, behavior, social roles, and/or identity.
Harassment: Unwelcomed behavior that demeans, threatens, or offends another person or group of people and results in a hostile environment for the targeted person/group.
Heterosexist: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward an individual or group based on a sexual orientation that is not heterosexual.
Homophobia: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward homosexual people and individuals who identify as or are perceived as homosexual.
Intersex: Any one of a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
Islamophobic: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and marginalization of Muslim people.
Nepotism: The hiring or promoting of family members to positions without proper regard to their qualifications.
Nonbinary: Any gender, or lack of gender, or mix of genders, that is not strictly man or woman.
Non-Native English Speakers: People for whom English is not their first language.
People of Color: People who self-identify as other than White.
Physical Characteristics: Term that refers to one’s appearance.
Pansexual: Fluid in sexual identity and is attracted to others regardless of their sexual identity or gender.
Position: The status one holds by virtue of her/his role/status within the institution (e.g., undergraduate student, staff, full-time faculty, part-time faculty, administrator).
Queer: A term used by some individuals to challenge static notions of gender and sexuality. The term is used to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires. “Queer” is also used as an umbrella term to refer to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Racial Identity: A socially constructed category about a group of people based on generalized physical features such as skin color, hair type, shape of eyes, physique, etc.
Racist: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward an individual or group based on their racial identity.
Sexist: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward an individual or group based on their assigned birth sex.
Sexual Identity: A personal characteristic based on the sex of people one tends to be emotionally, physically, and sexually attracted to; this is inclusive of, but not limited to, lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, heterosexual people, and those who identify as queer.
Sexual Assault: Unwanted sexual assault is any actual or attempted nonconsensual sexual activity including, but not limited to: sexual intercourse, or sexual touching, committed with coercion, threat, or intimidation (actual or implied) with or without physical force; exhibitionism; or sexual language of a threatening nature by a person(s) known or unknown to the victim. Forcible touching, a form of sexual assault, is defined as intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person or for gratifying sexual desires.
Socioeconomic Status: The status one holds in society based on one’s level of income, wealth, education, and familial background.
Transgender: An umbrella term referring to those whose gender identity or gender expression is different from that associated with their sex assigned at birth.
Transphobia: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward transgender, transsexual, and other gender nontraditional individuals because of their perceived gender identity or gender expression.
Unwanted Sexual Contact: Unwelcomed touching of a sexual nature that includes fondling (any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without consent); rape; sexual assault (including oral, anal, or vaginal penetration with a body part or an object); use of alcohol or other drugs to incapacitate; gang rape; and sexual harassment involving physical contact.
Xenophobic: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward an individual or group of people from other countries.