Standing for diversity, equity & inclusion, DEI is an umbrella term describing the MSU commitment to a campus climate in which all community members feel welcomed, valued and empowered to succeed,

Disparate Impact

Often unintentional, disparate impact is a type of discrimination in which policy or practice may appear to be “equal,” but outcomes differ between groups (i.e., racial, ethnic, gender, etc.). While this may be an indicator of the influence of larger societal forces which are unavoidable, it is critical that policy owners and administrators weigh the business or educational need against the impact on underrepresented/underserved groups. Exploration of alternative policy language or changes in practice may identify methods to eliminate the disparate impact without sacrificing institutional goals.


Socially, the principle of diversity refers to the wide range of identities.  A broad definition includes race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, veteran status, physical appearance, etc.  It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.*


The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.  The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically excluded, underserved, and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist in the provision of adequate opportunities to all groups.  


The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a fully participating member.  An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences, provides safe places for difficult conversations, and offers respect in words and actions for all people. 


Literally meaning excluded or ignored, marginalization refers to the other-ing of particular groups or cultures in a community or society. While this may result from unspoken assumptions of commonality from the perspective of the dominant culture, the impact is that of relegating a person or group to the outer edges of a community.


More characteristic of historical and cultural access/opportunity, certain racial, ethnic and/or gender identities are often considered underrepresented. The term is a recognition of limited presence, lack of inclusion or inequitable levels of participation by one or more groups. Which groups are underrepresented can vary, depending on the organization; differences may even be noticeable between departments or subdivisions of one organization.
The concept of being underserved attends to the reality that, due to the nature of power and privilege, the presence of diversity may not alter the influence of a dominant culture on policy and practice. For this reason, individuals from historically underrepresented populations may experience barriers to success even when the minority becomes the majority.

*Definitions for diversity, equity, and inclusion are adapted from AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Justice, Equity, and Inclusion and Guidance for Implementation (2021).