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Michigan State University

DEI Resources: Equality, Equity, & Social Justice


Equal opportunity: aims to ensure that all people have equal access, free of barriers, equal participation and equal benefit from whatever an organization has to offer. Note that equal opportunity extends beyond employment.

Equal treatment: treatment that brings about an equality of results and that may, in some instances, require different treatment. For example, to give all students equal treatment in entering a building, it may be necessary to provide a ramp for a student who uses a wheelchair.

Equitable: just or characterized by fairness or equity. Equitable treatment can at times differ from same treatment.

Equity: fairness, impartiality, even-handedness. A distinct process of recognizing differences within groups of individuals, and using this understanding to achieve substantive equality in all aspects of a person’s life.

Historical disadvantage: disadvantage resulting from historic patterns of institutionalized and other forms of systemic discrimination, sometimes legalized social, political, cultural, ethnic, religious and economic discrimination, as well as discrimination in employment. This also includes under-representation experienced by disadvantaged groups such as women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, LGBT persons and racialized people.

Social Justice: To take action as an advocate for a just society where all people have a right to fair and equitable treatment, support, and resources.

Diversity Resource Center. Diversity and Social Justice Glossary. University of Washington.

Ontario Human Rights Commission. Glossary of human rights terms.



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