Suggested Syllabus Language for Inclusion and Equity
Faculty who are interested in including language on their syllabi about the University's commitment to inclusion and equity and/or their own commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming classroom environment are encouraged to use the following language. Faculty may adopt portions of this language as they see fit.
Commitment to Inclusion & Equity & University Anti-Harassment/Non-Discrimination
As adopted by the Board of Trustees, in University Policies 9.1, Grand Valley State University is committed to inclusion and equity, and strives to establish a climate that welcomes and affirms the contributions of all students and employees. The University is guided by values for inclusiveness and community which are integral to our mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies, and to enrich the community through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service. The University strives to provide all members of its community an inclusive environment and equitable opportunities for success.
The University is also committed to maintaining a climate conducive to an educational, living, and employment environment that is free from unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination, as well as those defined by this policy. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. It is neither the purpose nor intent of this policy to infringe on the First Amendment or academic freedom as defined by the University.
The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution, consistent with its obligations as a federal contractor. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. It is committed to protecting the constitutional and statutory civil rights of persons connected with the University.
Members of the University community, including students, employees, faculty, staff, administrators, Board members, consultants, vendors, others engaged to do business with the University, candidates for employment or admissions, and visitors or guests have the right to be free from acts of harassment and discrimination, including sexual misconduct, as defined by this policy. In accordance with applicable federal and state law and this policy, acts of discrimination or harassment by members of the campus community are prohibited if they discriminate or harass on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, veteran or active duty military status or weight. This includes inappropriate limitation of, access to, or participation in educational, employment, athletic, social, cultural, or other university programs and activities. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Limitations are lawful if they are: directly related to a legitimate university purpose, required by law, or lawfully required by a grant or contract between the university and the state or federal government. For the purposes of this policy, sex-/gender-based harassment includes sexual misconduct, sexual assault, interpersonal or relationship violence, and stalking.
Creating an Equitable and Inclusive Learning Environment
As an instructor, I will strive to create an equitable and inclusive learning environment in our class. It is my and the university’s goal that you feel able to share information about your experiences as a student. University faculty and staff will seek to keep information you share private to the greatest extent possible. There is some information that may need to be shared with the university, especially regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on GVSU’s campus. Below are additional resources available for support:
- Title IX, Sexual Misconduct Policy, and Gender- and Sexual-Based Harassment Policy: Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition also protects students from discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. If you or someone you know has been harassed, assaulted, or denied services on the basis of sex or gender, you can find the appropriate resources at www.gvsu.edu/titleix or contact the University’s Interim Director and Title IX Coordinator, Ann James at (616) 331-9530 or [email protected].
- Disabilities Support Resources: If you have special needs because of a learning, physical or other disability, please contact the instructor as well as Disability Support Resources (DSR) at (616) 331-2490 for assistance as soon as possible. Even if you have already documented your disability with DSR, please make an appointment with your faculty member to discuss your specific needs. Furthermore, if you have a disability and think you will need assistance evacuating the classroom and/or building in an emergency during in-person meetings, please make your instructor aware so that the university can develop a plan to assist you. You may also access resources at https://www.gvsu.edu/dsr. The university is eager to work with you to meet your learning goals. All discussions related to disabilities will remain confidential.
- Gender Expression and Identity: At Grand Valley State University we recognize that an individual may wish to be identified by a professional, personal, preferred, display or use name without making an official legal name change. Students, faculty, and staff may use the myName process to update Banner and some related systems with such a name. The myName process will allow students, faculty, and staff to have the chosen name appear anywhere a legal name is not required.
- Bias Incidents or Harassment: Anytime you or anyone in the GVSU community feels belittled, disrespected, threatened, or unsafe because of who you are, the entire university community is diminished. That's why it’s important to report all bias incidents--even those intended as jokes. While Grand Valley safeguards individuals’ constitutional rights and protected speech, the university is also committed to inclusion and equity. Grand Valley exercises the right to engage in educational dialogue and seeks constructive responses to address bias incidents. Go to https://gvsu-advocate.symplicity.com/public_report/index.php to report bias incidents or for more information. In addition, for faculty/staff related complaints, you can file an informal complaint with the Division of Inclusion and Equity at [email protected] or (616) 331-3296. For student related complaints, you can also contact the Dean of Students office at (616) 331-3585.
- Student Well-Being: As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can negatively impact your learning, such as anxiety, depression, interpersonal or sexual violence, difficulty eating or sleeping, loss/grief, and/or alcohol/drug problems. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance and affect your ability to participate in day-to-day activities. In order to support you during such challenging times, GVSU provides a number of confidential resources to all enrolled students, including the University Counseling Center (https://www.gvsu.edu/counsel/ or (616) 331-3266) and the Student Ombuds, Takeelia Garrett ([email protected]).