IT Connect
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Words Matter – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

April 19, 2021

A project to identify and replace words that might reflect bias or prejudice on UW-IT’s key websites, and create a new inclusive language guide for UW-IT, is underway — part of our organization’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The project team will audit of our websites, and communicate and work with content owners to replace problematic words found.

The audit of IT Connect, Inside UW-IT, the external organizational website, UW Connect’s Knowledge Base and the UW-IT Service Catalog will leverage a glossary of words that reflect racial or other discriminatory bias and are contrary to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization. These words undermine the inclusive environment we aim to create in UW-IT and in serving a diverse University community of approximately 60,000 students and about 40,000 faculty and staff. The glossary was developed over the past several months by the project team, with input and guidance from staff throughout UW-IT and with help from partners across the University. The project and this audit are supported by Aaron Powell and the Senior Leadership Team.

Staff with responsibilities for content on these affected sites will receive an email from one of the project team members that the audit is beginning. Then, during the audit, the project team member who manages the site being audited will flag words found and suggest alternatives to the content owner. The content owners, as subject matter experts, will work with the project team member on replacement words to ensure accuracy.

In creating this glossary and in conducting this audit, UW-IT joins many university IT departments across the country that are involved in their own assessments and efforts to expunge offensive words from their lexicons. Ultimately, we hope the glossary and final inclusive language guide can be used by individuals and teams to evaluate and discuss language on wikis and documentation and even those we may use in conversation.

Words matter. They can divide, but words can also bring us closer. Let’s strive for an equitable and inclusive workplace — using words that connect us.

Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing help@uw.edu with the subject line “UW-IT Communications team.”

Thank you for your support for this important work.

Project Team, DEI-Based Evaluation of UW-IT Websites:

  • Elizabeth Sharpe, Interim Director of Communications | Project Manager
  • Nick Rohde, Web and Content Developer | IT Connect service manager
  • Gretchen Konrady, Senior Web Information Specialist | Inside UW-IT system manager
  • Ignacio Lobos, Communications Manager | UW-IT organizational website system manager
  • William Stirling, Enterprise Service Desk Manager | Knowledge Base practice owner
  • Felicia Watson, Director, Communications Solutions & Relationship Management | IT Service Catalog service owner
Last reviewed April 19, 2021