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Peer Research Consultants

Training and information for PRCs


Diversity comes in many forms. This can be someone visibly different from us through race, disability, or appearance. However, it can also be an invisible thing. There are many hidden illnesses and disabilities, the part of the country or the world the person comes from, and the type of upbringing they received.

Please refer back to the Student Instructions Guide at and review the Diversity tab on the left side.

Also, please review the UND Diversity & Inclusion webpage for a variety of resources:

Diversity is important because:

  • We work one on one with individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and want to provide a safe and respectful environment for them
  • Students will have questions on various topics regarding diversity and we want to provide effective assistance with their topic 
  • You may not know whether a topic is for a class or whether it is for the individuals personal purposes
  • It is in compliance with the American Library Association Bill of Rights to put aside one's beliefs and views to help others
  • As a society we have evolved and what may have been seen as normal or okay previously may be considered offensive or disrespectful currently
  • How would you feel if you were being discriminated against for your age, sex, race/ethnicity, disability, etc. 

Things to say (or not)

  • To allow individuals to pick a spot to sit where they feel comfortable, simply say, "Have a seat wherever you like"
    • This allows patrons to choose where to sit and in what way makes them feel comfortable.
    • While some may have no preference to sit, many may have a preference as it correlates to any previous trauma experienced, light sensitivity, or simply because they just want to. 
  • When referring to an individual by their gender, refrain from associating their appearance with their gender
    • For example, using words such as: he, him, his, she, her, hers
    • Instead use words such as: they, them, their, theirs
    • They are gender neutral terms and does not force a patron to pick a gender
  • Refrain from using the term "you guys" when addressing groups of individuals.
    • Instead use words such as: you all or you
    • We help in ENGL 130 classes and not everyone in the class identifies as a male
      • It addresses non-binary, non-cisgender, transgender individuals, and females
  • When talking about relationships with patrons remember:
    • You do not know the patrons sexual orientation, use words such as: significant-other or partner
  • There are important concepts to consider when referring to individuals with a disability, whether it is physical, mental, or an illness
    • Do not refer to individuals whether it is a topic or a person by their disability first!
      • For example, do not say the depressed person or the hearing impaired person.
      • By stating an individuals disability first has a negative connotation to it being that the person can only be identified by their disability.
    • Instead refer to disabilities by using person first language
      • ‚ÄčFor example, the person by the computers or the person with the blue backpack
      • This same language is used when discussing topics
        • For example, children and adolescent with Autism Spectrum Disorder or people with hearing disabilities
    • Note: There may be instances where individuals with a disability may prefer being referred to by their disability first. In those cases respect their wishes. 
    • Never attempt to aide an individual with a disability unless it is requested 
      • For example helping individuals with a wheel chair by pushing it or helping them move to a different seat or help guiding an individual who has a visual impairment
      • While it shows that you do have their best interest at heart, they may perceive it as them being unable to take care of themselves
  • With individuals of different racial or ethnic backgrounds be respectful towards them.
    • Please remember that for those where English is not their first language have patience with them if you are unable to understand them
      • They are most likely as frustrated as you are that you cannot understand them!
    • It is important to understand that African-American is NOT the same as Black individuals
      • African-American has indication that the individual has close heritage and culture from Africa
      • Whereas Black individuals are those whose culture come from ancestors who have been brought to the United States through Slavery
    • Islam is a religion NOT a race or ethnicity
      • The term 'Muslim' refers to a person of the Islamic faith.
      • When researching topics pertaining to individuals from Middle-Eastern or Arabic backgrounds, the terms Muslim or Islamic do not reflect their race or ethnicity. 
        • In actuality many Middle-Eastern, Arabic, or African countries have a diverse make up when it comes to religion. So do not associate stereotypic views. 
        • 'Middle-Eastern' or 'Arabic' refers to ethnicity, while an individual of Middle-Eastern or Arabic heritage has, depending on the country they are from, their race as White or Asian.
    • Do not assume an individuals race or ethnicity
      • This goes along with assuming an individuals culture by the use of stereotypes. 
        • For example, an individual who may look Native-American, do not assume that they were raised on a reservation
    • When using terms such as Hispanic and Latinx
      • Latinx is used to describe individuals who consider themselves Latino or Latina.
      • Not every individual who comes from Spanish culture or heritage describes themselves as Latinx, it typically is used for individuals whose family comes from Latin America
      • Hispanic is used as a term to describe those who come from a culture who speaks Spanish
      • Also being Hispanic or Latinx is considered an ethnicity. Their race is considered to be White.
      • Chicano or Chicana is a term used to describe an individual of Mexican descent.
  • There is a difference between collectivist and individualistic culture. 
    • This is applied to when patron may appear to be "touchy" while it is important to respect their culture, your comfort and safety is more important. Can politely ask them to stop or simply get Karlene to help with the situation.
    • Collectivist culture focuses on the whole group rather than the individual. Many other cultures follow these dynamic for example Hispanic/ Latinx culture is collectivist. 
    • Individualistic culture is where the priority is on the individual rather than the whole group, they are independent and self-reliant. The United States is built on this concept.
  • If talking about Socio-Economic status, be aware of the language you use. 
    • Do not say poor people, less fortunate, underprivileged, rich people, privileged.
    • Instead use words such as low-income or high-income individuals.