Chapter 7: Diversity & Inclusion

Equity & Civility @ MCC

Diversity and inclusion resources at MCC

MCC has several other resources that support diversity and inclusion. Research at least two of the following to find out how they contribute to diversity and inclusion at MCC.

Diverse group of friends smile and post in a line outside

Be the change you want to see in the world.  –Gandhi


Defining Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

In the last section, we looked at various definitions of diversity. Here’s how MCC defines diversity, equity, and inclusion:


Diversity refers to ensuring that we welcome and embrace all individuals while valuing their individual differences. Individual differences may include factors such as personality, learning styles, life experiences, race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations.

Equity includes the creation of opportunities and programs for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participation in educational programs that are intended to close the achievement gap in student success and completion. Equity programs are designed to assist underrepresented groups in achieving success in school and the workplace.

Inclusion is more than a simple numerical representation of various groups in the organization; rather, it is the active engagement of all viewpoints and individuals in the discussions and decisions that are made within the organization. All members of the College community must feel valued and heard for the College to achieve its goal of creating an inclusive learning environment.

Where do you see yourself in these definitions? How will the ideas in the definitions shape your time at MCC and prepare you for your career?

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at MCC

MCC is an academic community made up of individuals who reflect differences in sex, gender, nationality, culture, ethnicity, religion, color, race, skill, physical ability, country of origin, migration status, and sexual orientation. For more than 60 years, the College has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and our community. MCC is proud of the efforts thus far and is deeply committed to continuing to grow as a community that becomes more inclusive moving forward.

Valuing diversity requires a willingness to respect and understand the full range of thought, feeling, and viewpoints of all members of the College community. To achieve these ends, MCC strives to maintain open minds; we suspend judgment and seek others’ views and insights for consideration when making decisions and reaching conclusions. The MCC community supports learning activities that enhance our knowledge, awareness, and appreciation of diversity. To this end, we seek to expand our efforts to eradicate unconscious bias along the lines of misogyny, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, racism, ableism, class bias, and biases based on religiosity and country of origin.

Try suspending judgment

The first step to suspending judgment is awareness. Try the following activities to see if you are holding on to false beliefs or rushing to make a judgment.

  1. Think about a strong opinion you hold.
    • Are you an expert in the area in which you have the opinion? What evidence do you have to support your opinion? Do you have some direct experience in the area? Do you find yourself arguing with others about the opinion? Do you feel like you need to defend this opinion?
    • Stop, reflect, and ask yourself: What other perspectives could be true about this opinion?
    • As you analyze the opinion, you may find it isn’t held up by facts. Then, you might be able to recognize that your opinion is really your perspective, and other perspectives may be of equal value.
  2. The next time you find yourself making a judgment, try asking more questions and seeking understanding. You might not be able to stop yourself from making the initial judgment, but you can pause and think before taking any action. Upon further analysis, you may find your judgment was unfounded or that the situation is more complicated than you thought.

MCC’S Commitment to You

Incidents involving police violence, racism and discrimination do not reflect the type of College community we strive to build and are contrary to MCC’s values of community, inclusiveness, integrity, excellence, empowerment, and stewardship. MCC provides access to academic study and economic opportunities on safe, welcoming and inclusive campuses. Led by our Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Calvin Gantt, MCC fosters dialogue and takes action on equity and empowerment to effect change. Incidents in Rochester and across the nation remind us that we all need to be part of the solution. We are all responsible for ensuring an equitable and welcoming learning environment for the full diversity of our community.

As a College, we take our roles and responsibilities as educators seriously, and we recognize that the sense of family that MCC provides to our community is needed now more than ever. As we remain focused on achieving educational equity, we must stay attentive to our students and their path to success. We must act on our values with purpose and integrity and live them every single day. This is how we move forward, together.

MCC diversity, equity, and inclusion statement

Monroe Community College expects and upholds equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging in our educational programs, policies, campus life, employment, and community involvement. We believe that diversity enriches our lives and leads to understanding and appreciation of our differences and commonalities. In order to achieve academic and institutional excellence, we actively recruit, engage, and retain students, faculty, staff, and community partners who represent the diversity of our region, nation, and world

The Diversity Council at MCC

One way MCC works to create a mindful and inclusive community is by empowering the Diversity Council, a representative group of College faculty, staff, and administrators, to challenge the College community to explore how it can embrace diversity and further create an environment of inclusion.

The Diversity Council strives to elevate diversity and inclusiveness as a core value embraced throughout the organization and to utilize the strategic planning model with the purpose to:

  • Develop and regularly review progress of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to ensure continual improvement.
  • Provide an annual summary to institutional leaders, students, faculty, staff, and the community on the progress of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan’s annual and multi-year goals.
  • Actively promote and celebrate a culture that values diversity, inclusion, and equity.
  • Formally recognize institutional leaders, students, faculty, staff, and the community who contribute to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College.
  • Listen to and engage with the College community and its shared governance groups to foster an environment of shared responsibility and accountability in the implementation of the Diversity Action Plan and Strategic Plan as they relate to diversity.
  • Plan, implement, and support activities and events which help to heighten awareness of issues related to diversity and provide greater opportunities for individuals to interact around issues of diversity and the search for shared meaning.

Where have you seen the efforts of the Diversity Council evident at MCC?

Bias Incident Report: If You See Something, Say Something

An online Bias Incident Report Form has been established at MCC to help combat bias and racism. When a member of the MCC community submits a bias incident report, the Bias Response Team evaluates the report and works collaboratively to develop and implement a response. Bias incident reports may be submitted anonymously. The Bias Response Team takes all reports of bias incidents seriously, but its ability to resolve an issue will be limited if it is reported anonymously. While the Bias Response Team will endeavor to maintain the privacy of reporters, consistent with College policy and the law, details of a bias incident report may need to be shared (including the identity of the reporter) in certain circumstances for the College to take appropriate action. If you have questions about completing a Bias Incident Report or your reporting options, please contact the Office of Student Services at or 585-292-2052.

If your immediate safety is at risk, if you are witnessing violence, or if you perceive imminent harm to yourself or others, please immediately dial Public Safety at 585-292-2911.


How we choose to describe ourselves and others is important because the words we use have consequences. Words affect our relationships both positively and negatively. Choosing the correct language to use in diverse situations is an important educational endeavor that can and should be explored on all college campuses. The depiction of race and gender through language and is a topic addressed in a conversation between Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle, and it’s something we should all be talking about.

As you read the list of terms below, remember that language is always changing and evolving. Being curious, not making assumptions, and asking those you interact with about how they would like to be addressed can go a long way in making connections.

Safe Zone Project core vocabulary

The Safe Zone Project (SZP) is a free online resource providing curriculaactivities, and other resources for educators facilitating Safe Zone training (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions), and learners who are hoping to explore these concepts on their own. Co-created by Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann in 2013, the SZP has become the go-to resource for anyone looking to add some Safe Zone to their life.

Ally – (noun) a (typically straight‐ or cis‐identified) person who supports, and respects for members of the LGBTQ community.

Asexual – (adj) having a lack of (or low level of) sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest or desire for sex or sexual partners. Asexuality exists on a spectrum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex to those who experience low levels and only after significant amounts of time, many of these different places on the spectrum have their own identity labels. Another term used within the asexual community is “ace,” meaning someone who is asexual.

Biological Sex – (noun) a medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned [or designated] at birth.”

Biphobia – (noun) a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have/express towards bisexual individuals. Biphobia can come from and be seen within the queer community as well as straight society.

Biphobic – (adj) a word used to describe an individual who harbors some elements of this range of negative attitudes towards bisexual people. Many of our “stereotypes” of bisexual people ‐ they’re overly sexual, greedy, it’s just a phase ‐ are negative and stigmatizing (and therefore biphobic) and that gay, straight, and many other queer individuals harbor these beliefs.

Bisexual – (adj) a person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to male/men and females/women. Other individuals may use this to indicate an attraction to individuals who identify outside of the gender binary as well and may use bisexual as a way to indicate an interest in more than one gender or sex (i.e. men and genderqueer people). Can simply be shortened to bi.

Cisgender – (adj; pronounced “siss‐jendur”) a person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align (e.g., man and male‐assigned).

Coming Out – (1) the process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity (to “come out” to oneself). (2) The process by which one shares one’s sexuality or gender identity with others (to “come out” to friends, etc.).

Gay – (adj) (1) a term used to describe individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. More commonly used when referring to males/men‐identified ppl who are attracted to males/men‐identified ppl, but can be applied to females/women‐identified ppl as well. (2) An umbrella term used to refer to the queer community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

Gender Expression – (noun) the external display of one’s gender, through a combination of dress, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally measured on scales of masculinity and femininity. Also referred to as “gender presentation.”

Gender Identity – (noun) the internal perception of an one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Common identity labels include man, woman, genderqueer, trans, and more.

Genderqueer ‐ (adj) a gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with the binary of man/woman; or as an umbrella term for many gender non­conforming or non­binary identities (e.g., agender, bigender, genderfluid).

Heteronormativity – (noun) the assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Leads to invisibility and stigmatizing of other sexualities.

Homophobia – (noun) an umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have towards members of LGBTQ community. The term can also connote a fear, disgust, or dislike of being perceived as LGBTQ. The term is extended to bisexual and transgender people as well; however, the terms biphobia and transphobia are used to emphasize the specific biases against individuals of bisexual and transgender communities. May be experienced inwardly as an individual begins to question their own sexuality

Homosexual – (adj) a [medical] term used to describe a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender. This term is considered stigmatizing due to its history as a category of mental illness, and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead).

Intersex – (adj) someone whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. In the medical care of infants the initialism DSD (“Differing/Disorders of Sex Development”). Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic), but these terms are now considered outdated and derogatory.

Lesbian – (noun/adj) a term used to describe females/women‐identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other females/women ‐identified people.

LGBTQ / GSM / DSG / + ‐ (adj) initialisms used as shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non‐normative (or queer) gender or sexuality, there are many different initialisms people prefer. LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer and/or Questioning (sometimes people at a + at the end in an effort to be more inclusive); GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities; DSG is Diverse Genders and Sexualities. 5 Other popular options include the initialism GLBT and the acronym QUILTBAG (Queer [or Questioning] Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans* Bisexual Asexual [or Allied] and Gay [or Genderqueer]).

Pansexual – (adj) a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions. Sometimes shortened to pan.

Passing – (verb) (1) a term for trans* people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self‐identified gender/sex identity (regardless of birth sex) without being identified as trans*. (2) An LGB/queer individual who is believed to be or perceived as straight.

Queer – (adj) used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight. Also used to describe people who have non‐normative gender identity or as a political affiliation. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQ community. The term queer can often be use interchangeably with LGBTQ.  If a person tells you they are not comfortable with you referring to them as queer, don’t. Always respect individual’s preferences when it comes to identity labels, particularly contentious ones (or ones with troubled histories) like this.

Questioning ­ (verb & adjective) an individual who or when someone is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.

Romantic Attraction ‐ (noun) an affinity for someone that evokes the want to engage in relational intimate behavior (e.g., flirting, dating, marriage), experienced in varying degrees (from little‐to‐non, to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction or emotional/spiritual attraction.

Sexual Attraction ‐ (noun) an affinity for someone that evokes the want to engage in physical intimate behavior (e.g., kissing, touching, intercourse), experienced in varying degrees (from little‐to‐non, to intense). Often conflated with romantic attraction or emotional/spiritual attraction.

Sexual Orientation – (noun) the type of sexual, romantic, emotional/spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to (often mistakenly referred to as sexual preference)

Straight – (adj) a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to people who are not their same sex/gender. A more colloquial term for the word heterosexual.

Trans*/Transgender – (adj) (1) An umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms. Trans with an * is often used to indicate that you are referring to the larger group nature of the term. (2) A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex.

Transphobia – (noun) the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of trans* people, the trans* community, or gender ambiguity. Transphobia can be seen within the queer community, as well as in general society. Transphobia is often manifested in violent and deadly means. While the exact numbers and percentages aren’t incredibly solid on this, it’s safe to say that trans* people are far more likely than their cisgender peers (including LGB people) to be the victims of violent crimes and murder.

Adapted from Safe Zone Project core vocabulary 

Civility at MCC

Civility refers to polite and courteous speech and behavior. The College has a Civility Committee whose mission is “to help create a respectful learning community that values integrity, courtesy, compassion, and responsibility.” This dedicated community of learners has adopted the tagline, “Making Courtesy Common.” The group posts informational materials and sponsors events such as the annual Enough is Enough campaign and the Thankfulness Drive to help the community focus on appreciation and gratitude.

MCC’s Civility Committee affirms the following core values to guide their actions and behaviors:

  • Creating  an environment where we value and respect each other;
  • Promoting a community that encourages the tolerance of divergent opinions and constructive resolution of conflict;
  • Exchanging ideas and enriching our lives through the exploration of our multifaceted culture;
  • Embracing responsibility, integrity, and courtesy;
  • Respecting the dignity, rights, and freedoms of every community member;
  • Respecting the intellectual and physical property of others; and
  • Respecting college property including both public and private spaces.

What examples can you give of being treated civilly at MCC? How do you contribute to a civil environment at the College?

Pay it forward

We can all pay kindness forward every day; even small acts can make the world a better place. If each one of us paid kindness forward every day, imagine the ripple effect of goodwill that would be felt. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about what you could do to pay it forward:

  • buy someone coffee
  • tutor someone
  • give someone the closer parking spot
  • leave a generous tip
  • compliment someone
  • hold open the door for the person behind you
  • pick up trash
  • text someone good morning or good night
  • send an encouraging email
  • donate gently used towels or blankets to a shelter
  • share your study guide
  • have a judgment free day
  • thank someone

Choose at least one way to pay it forward, either from the list above or your own idea, and commit to completing it this week.


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