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Exclusionary Behaviors

Exclusionary behaviors are comments or actions that subtly and often unconsciously and unintentionally express a stereotypical or prejudiced attitude toward a  member of a marginalized group.  Exclusionary language can have a profound effect on campus members, the words and behaviors can be incredibly damaging to others, especially those who have been historically underrepresented or misrepresented (Yetunde, 2022). Often exclusionary language goes way beyond the understanding and application of grammar and is embedded with a deeper meaning (Yetunde, 2022). It is often sprinkled with a shared history, values, experiences, class, gender, and in much more overt and covert ways. In most cases, it is so ingrained in people that it may take a lifetime to unlearn. 

How Exclusionary Behaviors Show Up on Campus

Exclusionary language and behaviors can take on many forms, both subtle and overt. The behaviors may be conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional.  Whatever the form or context, it can be damaging for others on campus.  For the campus member experiencing exclusionary behaviors it can be isolating and offending. Exclusionary behaviors can affect a campus member's ability to complete daily tasks or experience positive interactions with colleagues or classmates. This may impact if a campus member feels valued or a sense of belonging at Austin Peay State University. 

Examples of Exclusionary Behaviors:

Austin Peay State University does not accept any discriminatory behaviors towards any member of our campus community (Policy 6:001). 

Ways to Enable Inclusive Language:


APSU 6:001 Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination  Policy for all Faculty, Students, Staff, Applicants, and Third Parties. Issued November 19, 2020. 

Hofmann, Yetunde (2022). How to Identify and Eliminate Exclusionary Language at Work. Harvard Law Review.