Affinity Groups are groups organized around social identity, shared characteristics, or life experiences. Affinity groups are generally initiated by employees or students and often involve or implicate protected classes, such as, but not limited to, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identify, gender expression, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, or political affiliation/philosophy.

Guidelines and Best Practices for Affinity Groups

• Ensure that membership in any affinity group and attendance at any affinity group meetings or activities are voluntary.

• Ensure that all employees or students are permitted to join or participate in any affinity group, regardless of that person’s race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identify, gender expression, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, political affiliation/philosophy, or other protected-class category. Affinity groups cannot make membership or participation in affinity group activities exclusive.

• Be consistent across protected categories when deciding which affinity groups to recognize.

• Do not treat members of certain affinity groups differently than members of other affinity groups when making educational or employment decisions (for example, regarding time off to attend meetings or other events.)

• Direct affinity group leaders to support services on campus.

• Direct affinity group leaders to remind their members of the university’s Discrimination and Harassment policy, definitions of protected classes, and reporting procedure about conduct that may violate the policy.

• Ensure that there is no adverse employment or educational action against employees or students for conduct in the context of an affinity group that may be considered protected activity. The university prohibits retaliation