Affirmative Action: A remedial concept, comprised of fully accountable, coordinated, and proactive efforts at all levels of the State System of Higher Education, designed to attain maximum equity group participation in the educational and economic opportunities offered by the System through strategies intended to eliminate historical inequities and to assure continuing equity group access and participation.
American Indian: Any of the original peoples of North America who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition. The term frequently is used interchangeably with Native American. However, the term American Indian is more prominently used in Pennsylvania.
Asian/Pacific Islander: All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific islands. There are more than 60 subgroups in this category, and wide variations amount the histories, traditions, cultures, and major issues of these subgroups.
Black: All persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. When used to refer to Americans, the term frequently is used interchangeably with African American.
Culture: "The totality socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristics of community or population" is the standard dictionary definition. Researchers such as W.W.Nobles expanded on this standard definition, writing that "...culture is the cast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals, ceremonies, and practices peculiar to a particular group of people which provides them with a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality...Culture is to humans what water is to fish. It is our total environment. As such, education as well as curriculum development are cultural phenomena."
Equity Groups: Those constituencies which historically have been excluded, under-served, or under served, including Blacks, Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians, women, persons with disabilities, and the economically disadvantaged. Although the animosity and exclusion to which Vietnam era veterans were subjected in earlier years appears now to have disappeared, all military veterans are included in the equity group category in recognition of their service to country and Commonwealth.
Still other groups, most prominently gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, remain frequent targets of harassment and discrimination. Such treatment is not merely condemned but is antithetical to the spirit, goals, and purpose of the Equity Plan. This is not to be construed, however, as an extension of protected class status to members of these groups, such as the extension of employment-related benefits beyond the traditional spouse.
Latino: All persons having their origins in the people of Mexico, Central or South America, or the islands of the Caribbean. Although the literature tends to address Latinos as a homogeneous population, this group includes people from very diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. The Census Bureau continues to use the term Hispanic, but Latino is the more accurately descriptive term of choice within the northeastern area of the United States. Latino does not include persons whose origins are in Spain.
Minority Business Enterprise (MBE): A business enterprise that is: a) a sole proprietorship, owned and controlled by a racial/ethnic minority; or b) a partnership or joint venture controlled by minorities (and/or women) in which 51 percent of the beneficial ownership interest is held by minorities (and/or women); or
c) a corporation or there entity controlled by minorities (and/or women) in which at least 51 percent of the voting interest and 51 percent of beneficial ownership interest are held by minorities (and/or women).
Multiculturalism: A multidimensional construct involving both philosophical and curricular issues, and which includes the study of topics as disparate as the life of various ethnic groups, racial diversity, gender differences, international issues, non-Western cultures, and cross-cultural methodologies.
Pluralism: A state or condition of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common community.
Sexual Harassment: As defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, especially when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights offers as a definition: Sexual harassment consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX.
Women's Business Enterprise (WBE): A business enterprise that is:
a. a sole proprietorship, owned and controlled by a woman or
b. a partnership or joint venture controlled by women (and/or minorities) in which 51 percent of the beneficial ownership interest are held by women (and/or minorities); or
c. a corporation or other entity controlled by women (and/or minorities) in which at least 51 percent of the voting interest and 51 percent of the beneficial ownership interest are held by women ( and/or minorities).