Statements on the incident at Charlottesville
and the general state of affairs in the Country

 

Universities

Adelphi University

Baylor University

Boston College School of Social Work

Boston University School of Social
Work

Brown School

Bryn Mawr College

California State University Monterey
Bay

California State University, Los Angeles

Colorado State University

Columbia University

Jane Addams College of Social Work

Loyola University Chicago

Michigan State University

Monmouth University School of Social
Work

Ohio State University

Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey

San Diego State University

Southern Connecticut State University

The University of Mississippi

The University of Oklahoma Anne &
Henry Zarrow School of Social Work

The University of Texas at Austin

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

University at Buffalo

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

University of California at Berkeley

University of Connecticut School of
Social Work

University of Denver

University of Hawai`i at Manoa

University of Houston Graduate College
of Social Wor

University of Maryland School of Social
Work

University of Michigan

University of Missouri

University of Nevada Las Vegas

University of New England

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

USC Suzanne Dworak Peck School of
Social Work

University of Texas at Arlington

University of Utah

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Virginia Commonwealth University

Wayne State University

West Chester University

Widener University Center for Social
Work Education

Wurzweiler School of Social Work Yeshiva
University

 



Adelphi University

A Message from Dean Andrew W. Safyer

Dear Adelphi School of Social Work Community,

The events in Charlottesville–the violence and loss of
lives–are very disturbing. Bigotry and hatred on their own or using bigotry
and hatred as an occasion to rally and unite cannot be tolerated.

The core values of our profession–the dignity and worth of
all people and a commitment to social justice–are antithetical to beliefs of
White Supremacy and Neo-Nazism. As social workers, it is imperative to bring
clarity to the differences between acts of bigotry and hatred versus standing
up against those actions.

As dean, I believe it is important for all of us to come
together and discuss how we can best help and support each other through these
difficult times.

Whatever your reactions are to this weekend’s events, and
the subsequent violence, I want to invite you as a member of the Adelphi School
of Social Work community at each of our four sites to talk about our responses,
and listen to each other with compassion while exploring actions that we can
take to make a difference.

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Baylor
University

A Message from Dean Jon E. Singletary

“No one is born hating another person because of the color
of his skin or his background or his religion. … People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. … For love comes
more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." – Nelson Mandela,
Long Walk to Freedom

Dear Garland School students, faculty, and staff,

Welcome to the new academic year!

I am so grateful you are a part of the Diana R. Garland
School of Social Work at Baylor University. As we begin the academic year,
preparing you for the profession of social work, I am mindful of who we are and
what we value. Social Work is a profession that requires passion and
determination to help make the world a better place. My friend and president of
one of our social work organizations, Goutham Menon recently wrote: “Ours is
the only profession that can articulate that ‘Social Justice is a verb1’ –
albeit an unfinished verb. Ours is a profession that stands up to and takes
action on the myriad injustices that we see playing out before our eyes.” We
also know that as people of faith, God calls us “to do justice.”2 As we seek to
make sense of the ethical integration of faith and practice, we are often
responding to a call to pursue a career steeped in history, principles and
values of social justice – a career of responsible & empowering stewardship
of our individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations to promote
and maintain a just, global society.

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as
Speegleville, Texas, earlier this month serve as a reminder of what we still have
to do in working for justice. And, as we see the words of Nelson Mandela, we
know these actions remind us of our work in teaching people to love. Love and
justice are not sentimental notions. Rev. Reinhold Neibuhr preached
passionately about the reality of sin that prevents us from fulfilling these
virtues. More recently, African American scholar bell hooks writes about “a
shared belief in the transformative power of love.” She writes that beloved
community requires claiming the identities and cultural legacies that have
shaped us and allowing these roots to connect us in the hard work that must
grow into the struggle for racial justice. The desire to dominate, subjugate,
and control is developed as people learn to hate and the hatred rooted in white
supremacy remains all around us. Learning the power of love that can overcome
it requires a commitment to developing trust, listening deeply, working through
misunderstandings and toward a vision of solidarity and hope.

These are lofty tasks you are stepping into at the start of
the year, but they stem from a commitment we made last fall with these words:

The faculty and staff of the Diana R. Garland School of
Social Work at Baylor University are committed to the social work value of
diversity while also seeing it as a hallmark of Christian virtue. We join the
Baylor Faculty Senate in our embrace of diversity – of ideas, ways of thinking,
experiences, and, crucially, participation in the full spectrum of humanity.

Their statement continues: “Baylor’s mission as a
faith-based institution compels us to embrace diversity with love, compassion,
charity, respect, and with the humility that comes from being equal
participants in the shared human experience. We can in good spirit tolerate
disagreement; in fact, we must. But we cannot abide hatred, intimidation, or
marginalization. The Faculty Senate of Baylor University is committed to a
campus where differences lead to greater unity and understanding, and upon
which hatred has no foothold.”

The Garland School condemns any act of hatred, in any form,
and we reaffirm our commitment to social work principles of social justice,
integrity, and the dignity and worth of all people.

As we walk these roads, we affirm that we will provide an
environment where intellectual curiosity is nurtured, where you will have a
safe place to explore, articulate, debate, and empower yourself for the journey
ahead. You are a valued member of the Garland School and we are so glad you are
here.

I looking forward to seeing you soon.

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Boston College School of Social Work

A Message from Dean Gautam N. Yadama

Dear members of the BCSSW community,

Along with the faculty and staff, I look forward to seeing
current students and welcoming new students who are joining our community this
fall. As we prepare to come together, the events of Charlottesville are a
strong reminder that we must continually tend to an inclusive and welcoming
community. We condemn the racial violence, bigotry, and hatred that has been on
ugly display.

We are committed to building caring, inclusive, respectful,
and safe communities that prosper and flourish because of diversity—at the
school, in Boston, and around the globe. This is a core value of our profession
and our particular responsibility as a school of social work. In our studies,
our field placements, our partnerships, and our research, we must celebrate
each other’s differences and dignify each other’s worth and value in order to
advance the common good and create the type of communities we wish to see in
America today.

In this new academic year, let us redouble our commitment
to reach out to those who are feeling especially vulnerable. Let us engage with
dignity, respect, and empathy in what may at times be difficult conversations.
And let us model the power and strength of an inclusive, caring, and diverse
community.

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Boston
University School of Social Work

A Message from Dean Judith G.
Gonyea

August 21, 2017

“No one is born hating another person because of the color
of his skin or his background or his religion. … People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. … For love comes
more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." –Nelson Mandela

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must
never be a time when we fail to protest.” –Elie Wiesel

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and
uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common
life.”—Jane Adams

Dear Students of the Boston University School of Social
Work Community,

Welcome back to a new academic year. In the wake of the
recent events in Charlottesville, we begin the academic year with a strong
resolve to reaffirm that we at Boston University School of Social Work reject
hatred—whatever its form. We not only express our outrage at the violent
terrorism of the neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan and others in Charlottesville but
also condemn the absence of leadership and equivocation by the White House
which has distorted the issue and root causes. The structural racism
Americans see today — in policing, in housing, immigration policy, and
employment discrimination, in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate crimes — is a
legacy of earlier white supremacy. Indeed, if we are to be successful in
breaking the cycle of racism, we must connect these hateful acts and injustices
to their historical antecedents.

At the memorial service for Heather Heyer, the young woman
who was killed at the Charlottesville white nationalist rally, her mother Susan
Bro reminded the nation that the responsibility for changing today’s hate lies
with all of us:

“You need to find it in your heart that small spark of
accountability. You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done,
and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference
in the world."

Social work, a profession which has social justice as a core
principle and value, has a responsibility to publicly denounce ideologies and
agendas that denigrate individuals based on their race, religion, gender
identity, sexual orientation, and/or immigration history. What unites all
social workers is a commitment to empowering individuals, families, groups, and
communities to promote and maintain a just, global society. (See NASW Code of
Ethics https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default).

As you know, last year the School began the search for our
next Dean. I am pleased to share that Dr. Jorge Delva, who is currently a
professor at University of Michigan School of Social Work (and has also held
the positions of Associate Dean of Research and Associate Dean of Education),
has accepted the BU SSW Dean’s position and will join our faculty in January
2018. A native of Chile and national leader in social work, Dr. Delva has
devoted his entire career to conducting research focused on reducing health
disparities and improving the lives of low-income and racial and ethnic
minorities. [See the attached letter from Provost Morrison on selection of Dr.
Jorge and his outstanding credentials]. Until his arrival, Provost Morrison has
asked me to serve in the role of Dean ad Interim.

Dr. Delva and I are committed to working together to promote
BUSSW’s role in addressing issues of injustice and crafting solutions. A core
aspect of our School’s mission is to prepare the next generation of social
workers to be social change agents for a more just society in which all
individuals can achieve their full potential. To achieve this goal, we feel a
strong sense of responsibility to foster diversity and inclusion and create an
environment where every student feels respected and empowered to succeed.

Consistent with President Brown’s August 17th letter to the
BU community
(https://www.bu.edu/today/2017/bu-president-responds-to-charlottesville-violence/),
we welcome ideas and opportunities to partner with others to address social and
racial justice, locally and globally. During the academic year, we will reach
out to all members of the BU SSW community to help us develop effective and
sustainable actions in achieving this agenda.

As the Saturday, August 19th Boston march of approximately
40,000 persons protesting hate and promoting unity so powerfully demonstrated
we are always stronger together.

A Message from President Robert A. Brown

August 2017

Dear Members of the Boston University Community:

As has happened too often in recent years and months, our
nation has been shaken by an act of violence—this time the fatal motor vehicle
attack on counter-protesters at the demonstration in Charlottesville. We mourn
the tragic loss of life and deplore the attack and the hateful, explicitly
racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric that created the environment in which it was
perpetrated.

As we seek in our democracy—and our academic community—to
appreciate and understand difference, we speak of tolerance and the fundamental
importance of free speech and respect for diverse points of view. But tolerance
doesn’t necessarily imply or entail acceptance or approval. Palpably evil acts,
such as occurred in Charlottesville, invite the challenging question about what
is and is not tolerable or morally acceptable in speech and accompanying deeds.
It is clear to me, and I believe it a view that is broadly shared in our
community, that a claim of inherent racial or ethnic superiority is abhorrent.
We must, I believe, explicitly denounce white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups
that make such claims.

The obligation of our community must be to hold fast to the
values that are in our Boston University DNA. As we participate in broader
conversations in our society, we should seek to set a standard of civility and
generosity of spirit in discourse that perhaps over time will be an
illuminating counterpoint to the hate speech that threatens the very fabric of
our republic.

In a time when many individuals are using language in ways
intended to provoke and divide, it is almost natural to wish to limit speech.
The success of Boston University in fulfilling its vital mission in our society
depends on freedom of inquiry and speech—even when that speech is objectionable
to many.

We are likely to be tested again, either by rallies, such as
the one that will occur this Saturday in Boston, or by provocative speakers or
writings. I encourage members of our community to show that the values of our
University and the principles of the Constitution are an effective
counterweight to the behavior of a few who would seek to divide us and our
nation.

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Brown
School

A Message from Associate Dean, Tonya Edmond and Dean, Mary
McKay

Brown School statement on Charlottesville:

This message is the second one in just a very few days
related to race, ethnicity and social justice. We feel compelled to speak out
against those who legitimize racist speech and create conditions that lead to
violence and loss of life. The events of this weekend in Charlottesville,
Virginia are heartbreaking. While many across our nation are speaking out
against those who wish to divide us by race, an analysis of historical and
current events suggests that without systematically dismantling the processes
and structures that perpetuate marginalizing others, little will change.

The values of our professions require us to continuously
confront racism and bigotry within our immediate community, as well as in the
larger society. It is imperative that as individuals, we create an action plan
to contribute to equity and justice. As a School, it is our collective
responsibility to lead in addressing the urgent need for social change. Without
activation, leadership, vision and discomfort, maintenance of systemic racism
is a certainty.

The Brown School stands with Charlottesville, the University
of Virginia and all those who insist that justice and equity are achievable
goals and deny the legitimacy of hate and division. We humbly pledge to
continue to use our voices to name racism, homophobia, xenophobia,
anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry when they occur, and to educate
members of our community so that we can collectively take actions needed to
bring about meaningful social change.

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Bryn
Mawr College

A Message from Dean Janet
Shapiro

Welcome to the Graduate School
of Social Work and Social Research. I am pleased to welcome you to our
community and share with you our mission of preparing scholars and
practitioners to engage with diverse groups in ways that support a critical
understanding of social responsibility and a commitment to social justice,
diversity and inclusion.

Recent events in
Charlottesville, and in other places within and outside of the United States,
challenge us as individuals and as a profession to further our efforts to stand
against violence, oppression, bigotry and discrimination. As the Dean of the
GSSWSR, I would like to highlight my support of a recent Bryn Mawr College
statement addressing these concerns. That statement reads, in part:

“We, on behalf of the Bryn Mawr
community, think it is important at this moment to affirm our commitment to
inclusion, equity, and social justice and to authentic exchange of views and
debate. We are also mindful that Bryn Mawr is not immune to prejudice, racism,
and bigotry. We will continue to carry out our mission to study and engage
multiple and diverse political views. We aspire to work together as a force for
positive change on our campus and in the world beyond Bryn Mawr. In doing so,
we seek to foster and welcome genuine debate, not hate.”*

*Kim Cassidy, President of Bryn
Mawr College
Jennifer Walters, Dean of the Undergraduate College
Sharon Burgmayer, Dean of Graduate Studies

I look forward to working with
students, faculty, staff and alumni in continuing a dialogue and working to
apply social work values, knowledge and skills to the challenging work ahead.

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California
State University Monterey Bay

A Message from Chair Karen Smith Rotabi

Dear CSUMB Department of Social Work Community:

I begin my new position as Department Chair as our nation
digests the Charlottesville protests and the hate perpetuated by white
supremacist and neo-Nazi groups here in the United States. Discrimination and
acts of racism are daily realities globally and even with the progress we have
made thus far, it is quite evident that we have much to continue to confront.

As a Department of Social Work faculty group, we are
prepared to respond in solidarity with those who have actively taken a stand in
Charlottesville; literally defending human rights on the front line of counter
protest. We also grieve for the lives lost during the Charlottesville event. We
join the social work community in reflecting on the senseless violence and hate
crimes that we saw intersect with core values of free speech and the right to
assembly.

As we all know, social work is a profession in which the
principles of human dignity and respect are non-negotiable. As we seek to
understand and support each other, across lines of color, ethnicity, faith, and
other aspects of diversity, we must be diligent in not only modeling
non-discriminatory behavior, but also in directly confronting oppression and
human rights abuses. As we seek constructive discussion and organizing for
social justice, as a profession, we have our work cut out as we draw upon our
skills across the range of intervention to include community organizing and
social action. Our solidarity most certainly includes our own local communities
and I encourage everyone to seek information from organizations such as the
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as we consider action steps. SPLC has
developed resources and guidance for organizing against racism and
discrimination, including a handbook for students. To view some of the good
activism lead by current MSW students please see the following https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_YQFmls7i4&feature=share

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California
State University, Los Angeles
 

Submitted to NADD by Director Evaon C. Wong-Kim

Cal State L.A. University President Covino’s Address at Convocation

Good morning and welcome to Fall Convocation 2017. . .

As we mark the start of a new academic year, we are acutely
aware of the ways in which national events unsettled our university community
last term, driving us to reaffirm our core ideals and ethics. We meet together
today to celebrate the dedication and goodwill that have defined this
university for seven decades, to reaffirm our collective mission, with an unrelenting
commitment to our students, our colleagues, and our community, and enthusiasm
for the future that we are creating together.

Let me be clear about current events. There is no moral
equivalency between those who embrace social justice rooted in inclusion, free
speech, and equity, and those who perpetuate a legacy of hate, violence,
misogyny, bigotry, antisemitism, hostility toward the LGBTQ Plus community, and
white supremacy.

The tragedy in Charlottesville reminds me that those of us
in higher education at public universities are here because we have a strong
stake in social, economic, and political equity and social justice. That’s what
we stand for and that’s what we will continue to stand for.

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Colorado
State University

A Message from Dean Audrey Shillington

8/21/2017

Dear Social
Work Community:

There is no better place than Colorado State University’s School of Social
Work to begin thinking about meaningful social change. President Tony Frank,
the administration, and the faculty embody the university’s long tradition
of addressing society’s most obstinate problems through inquiry and education.

As a School, we are outraged by the blatant show of racism and violence
in Charlottesville, VA.

Our social work faculty are dedicated to confronting racism and social
injustice. As social workers, we must identify all sources of inequity and
disparity, and be leaders in challenging both overt and covert white supremacy.

Yet today,
as we begin our journey into a new academic year, our social work values, and
the values of our society, are faced with a challenge following the recent
violent events. It is a subject on the forefront of our professional dialogue.
There are those who build their identity against an “other”—another tribe or
religion or race or gender or political party. As social workers, standing up
against bigotry and advancing rights and opportunities—for all—is why we do
what we do.

The values of our profession require us to continually confront racism in our
community, as well as in the larger society. It’s imperative that each one
of us creates an action plan to contribute to equity and justice. As a School,
it is our responsibility to meet the challenges of systemic racism with the
leadership, vision, and action needed to bring about meaningful social change.

I look
forward to continuing to empower our students, faculty, and staff to lead us,
but in the end, this isn’t just about what we do. It’s about who we are, and we
cannot be the people we are if we opt out of the challenges that face us on our
journey. Believing in change means committing ourselves to action.

I invite you all—and especially our new social work students—to join us now
with a sense of renewed purpose and optimism. When you think about a journey
you have to think about where to start. I hope you will begin by thinking
about the action you can take today, in the belief that justice and equity
are achievable goals.

This profession you are entering requires us to enhance human well-being and
promote social change. As social workers, we have chosen to work tirelessly
to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other social injustice. Get
involved, share ideas, roll up your sleeves, and forge impactful and sustainable
action to carry out our School mission and vision toward social, economic,
and environmental justice.

Get involved in your student groups MSWSA or SWA to start your social action
and be on the lookout for upcoming opportunities through the School. You will
hear soon from our Diversity and Human Rights Committee, who will share with
you many social action opportunities with which to be involved.

If you are in need of support or want to discuss concerns in confidence, students
are encouraged to reach out to the CSU Health Network Counseling Center at
(970) 491-6053, or any of our Student Diversity offices, which welcome all
members of our CSU community.

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Columbia
University

A Statement from Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel on Fighting
White Supremacy

Many of us watched in outrage and horror as white
supremacist and Nazi demonstrators marched on Charlottesville, VA, and took the
life of counter-protester Heather Heyer in a terrorist attack. At the Columbia
School of Social Work, we condemn their vicious bigotry. There are not “many
sides” to Nazi and white supremacist terror. These poisonous ideologies have no
place in a just society. The events of this weekend are another call to
confront the ugly reality of racism in our country. We must once again figure
out how to grieve, how to heal, and how to take action.

Within and beyond our own campus, we must organize in
opposition to violence perpetrated against people of color, especially Black
and African-American people. We must understand our country’s history of racist
oppression, and the ways in which people of color are demonized by politicians,
targeted by police, and disproportionately persecuted by our justice system in
the name of “law and order.” Those of us who benefit from white privilege must
commit to dismantling it. We must affirm that Black lives matter in our words
and deeds, amplify the voices of people of color, and reckon with racist
demagogues who undermine our values of pluralism and sanctuary. President Trump’s
reluctance to condemn racist violence is a sickening bow to white supremacists.
His eventual statement suggests that he did so only when people across the
partisan divide demanded a denunciation. This circumstance is a powerful
reminder that we share a duty, right and left alike, to rebuke white supremacy.

As social workers, we must engage with the trauma of this
moment while cultivating hope. Each of us came to Columbia to channel our
commitment to justice into action. Students and faculty at the School of Social
Work have long been on the frontlines of civil rights in America. Some have
even sacrificed their lives for this cause, like CSSW student Michael
Schwerner, who was murdered by the KKK while registering African-American
voters in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Many of our students
and faculty engage bravely in the struggle for racial justice today. In this
historic moment, we must perform the difficult work that will heal the wounds
of racism in our country, in our communities of origin and choice, and in our
hearts and minds. On behalf of the faculty and administration of the Columbia
School of Social Work, I commit to continuing that work with you.

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Jane
Addams College of Social Work

University of Chicago

A Message from Dean Creasie Finney Hairston

August 28, 2017

JACSW Faculty, Staff, and Students,

The beginning of fall semester is a wonderful time on
college campuses and UIC is no exception. It is great to see the campus
bustling with activity as students unload cars and trucks to move into
dormitories, move about the different buildings to find the right classrooms,
and engage in lively conversations about course syllabi, books, and program
expectations. It is a special pleasure to welcome new students and faculty to
JACSW and to welcome back faculty, staff, and students who have been away for
summer break. Judging from hallway conversations and many email messages,
summer went well and we are looking forward to having a very good year.

While things are very upbeat here, with good reason, we are
aware that this is not the case in communities hard hit by Hurricane Harvey,
tornadoes, and flooding that is expected to continue for several days. We know
that many families have lost all their personal possessions and are fortunate
to be alive. Regrouping and rebuilding will be a monumental task and our help
is needed. The Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and other organizations have made
it relatively easy for us to make donations via text, check, website, etc. All
amounts are appreciated.

We are also mindful of recent national events that go to the
heart of our mission and core social work values. Protests, demonstrations, and
rallies in Charlottesville, Phoenix, and Boston indicate that there are
individuals and groups who want to return to a time in history when
intimidation of different racial and ethnic groups was quite acceptable and
civil rights of different groups were neither protected nor granted. Emboldened
by the current political climate, many are openly expressing hatred, racism,
and bigotry. These protests and counter protests are likely to continue with
college campuses providing a major forum for speeches, debates and other
activity.

It is important for us here at JACSW to engage in
constructive dialogue about issues of race, discrimination, and intolerance. We
must do that in ways that are civil and respectful and that acknowledge
differences of opinion, and the difference between opinions and facts. There
are no such things as alternative facts, even if we think they can boost our
arguments, and even if they appear on social media. Our passion for justice or
a particular cause does not give us the freedom to make claims that cannot be
substantiated, to jump to conclusions without fact finding and analysis or to
simply follow the crowd. At the same time, we must stand firm in our opposition
to tactics undertaken to provoke violence and instill fear as well as those
that pit different marginalized populations against each other.

Throughout the year there will be many formal and informal
college and campus activities and events to help us deal more effectively with
these important social issues. These will include seminars, workshops, and
national speakers sponsored by different organizations. We will also distribute
a list of resources, some of which were provided by other schools of social
work, that can be used for discussion and the development of projects and
programs. Here at JACSW we will launch a series of open meetings to review the
State of the College and our plans for continuing to enhance diversity, equity
and social inclusion. The first meeting will be held in mid to late September
and will be posted on the website and JaneMail. Please watch for the time,
place, and date and do plan to attend.

Again, it is good to see you and always good to hear from
you. Assuring that JACSW is a great place to work and study is a College
priority. So if you have news to share about your experiences or ideas and
suggestions to enhance that experience, please drop me a line, attend a
meeting, call, or schedule an appointment. Let’s have a good year.

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Loyola
University Chicago

A Message from Dean Goutham Menon

8/19/2017

“No one is born hating another person because of the color
of his skin or his background or his religion. … People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. … For love comes
more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." – Nelson Mandela, Long
Walk to Freedom

Dear students,

Welcome to the new academic year!

Social Work is a profession that requires passion and
determination to help make the world a better place. Ours is the only
profession that can articulate that “Social Justice is a verb”. An unfinished
verb. It is a profession that stands up to and takes action on the myriad
injustices that we see playing out before our eyes.

We have all signed up to a noble career steeped in history,
principles and values of social justice…simply… a career of responsible &
empowering stewardship of our individuals, families, groups, communities, and
organizations to promote and maintain a just, global society.

The events in Charlottesville, VA on 8/11-12/2017, that
claimed the life of a brave soul, Heather Heyer, is a call for our profession
to “engage” to right wrong wherever we see it. This is not an issue of
Democrat/Republican; Conservative/Liberal; Urban/Rural; Inner cities/suburbs,
or any other false dichotomies society creates for a false narrative of certain
vulnerable individuals/groups. This is an issue of common decency in civic life
& discourse. These acts, done in the pretext of protecting “history”,
statues, monuments or symbols, exist only for two purposes. Power and Control.
To subjugate, belittle, hurt, injure and, honestly, terrorize the population we
are called to serve with respect, dignity, and purpose. These injustices are a
human rights issue that we CANNOT afford to ignore, but challenge where ever
and whenever we see it: in classrooms; in communities; in policies; within our
friends, professional and family circles. We are responsible to CALL IT out.

You and your classmates have a responsibility that I want
you all to take very seriously. It is easy to claim the right of the 1st amendment
of the constitution, which includes:

Freedom of Speech Freedom to Assemble Peaceably

Freedom of Religion Freedom to Petition the
Government for a Redress of Grievances

Freedom of the Press

But it comes with a responsibility. The responsibility of
being a citizen of conscience.

Some scholars highlight that there are some categories of
speech that are not protected. These being:

Obscenity Fighting words

Defamation (including libel and slander) Child Pornography

Perjury Blackmail

Incitement to imminent lawless action True Threats

Solicitations to commit crimes Treason (if committed
verbally)

Plagiarism (of copyrighted material)

Loyola University Chicago’s mission goes on to state:
“Jesuit education strives to seek the truth and to form each student into a
whole person of solidarity who will take responsibility for the real world. Our
students must have an educated awareness of society and culture, a sense of
being interrelated and interconnected, and a commitment to act for the rights
of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed”.
http://www.luc.edu/mission/index.shtml (Global Solidarity)

So, what is my “ask” of you? I ask that, YOU:

• Listen to understand, not to respond for “responding” sake

• Challenge ideas to grow intellectually &
professionally, not to prove a point

• Respect diversity in all its hues

• Invite the “quiet” one in your class to the discussions

• Engage to learn, to understand, to teach, to challenge…to
grow

• Learn to make your point & walk away. Today will not
solve all problems, there is always work for tomorrow. Be & stay safe to
take on the next day.

• Stand up to hate, to racism, to sexism, to antisemitism,
to intolerance, to bigotry, and to all forms of discriminatory actions that has
just one purpose: To make someone feel inferior and to injure the very essence
of life

• Create a learning experience that is full of lived
experiences and myriad worldviews

• Be humble and kind

Our promise to you is that we will always provide an
educational environment where intellectual curiosity is nurtured, where you
will have a safe place to explore, articulate, debate, and empower yourself for
the journey ahead. You are a valued member of the Loyola family.

We will keep our promise to you as faculty, staff, field
instructors, and other stakeholders every day. Every day. I ask, that you do so
also for our profession and the communities we serve.

I am looking forward to meeting many of you during your time
with us. I leave you with a prayer that I listen to on days I am troubled with
what I see around me. I call it an anthem for our profession.

Wishing you the best in your journey through the
complexities of life…

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Michigan
State University

A Message from Director Steve Anderson

Dear School of Social Work Students and Community Members,

As we begin another academic year, I want to welcome all new
and returning students to our School. Our faculty members and I hope that your
experience here will be exciting and productive, and it is our goal to work
with you to make sure this happens. It is an energizing time for all of us,
when we need to challenge ourselves both as teachers and as learners so that we
can make the most impact possible along our chosen paths.

I want to take a moment to comment on the continuing
divisive social events that are plaguing our country, which most recently were
dramatically manifested in the Charlottesville white supremacist violence and
related hateful speech and acts. I know that our faculty members join me in
abhorring this violence, and in denouncing racism, anti-Semitism, and other
forms of discrimination that divide us. As social workers, improving society
through social action is fundamental. Working toward social justice for all
groups is a core value that unites our profession, and it is more important
than ever in these difficult times. It is critical for us to stand up in
support of inclusive values, and against speech, policies, and actions that
belittle, demean, and disregard human dignity and intimidate the most
vulnerable groups in our society.

There will be many opportunities for constructive
conversations on these issues in your classes, dialogues, and other activities
in the School of Social Work and across Michigan State University. I hope you
will fully engage with your classmates, faculty members, and community members
to raise our collective consciousness and to develop constructive solutions to
the problems we face as a society. Emotions rightly run very high around both
current events and the ideologies that underlie them. I ask that, consistent
with social work values, you respect the opinions of others in these
discussions, and reach out to and try to understand persons with perspectives
that differ from your own. While this is a time of far-reaching challenges, I
remain optimistic that it can be one of substantial growth as well.

Best wishes to all of you for a great year on behalf of our
School!

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Monmouth
University School of Social Work

A Message from President Grey J. Dimenna, Esq.

In the last few weeks, Monmouth students and employees
received a very important message

from our President, Grey Dimenna in which he stressed the
University’s commitment to a community that encompasses mutual caring, respect,
diversity and integrity, along with an active commitment to “ensuring a safe
and inclusive environment for every individual, without exception”.

 

The School of Social Work at Monmouth University remains
steadfast in our commitment to social and economic justice and human rights in
these troubling times. We stand up and speak out against White Supremacy,
Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant racism,
heterosexism, sexism, classism and all forms of oppression. As a profession, we
are committed to working for and with vulnerable populations to create
inclusive, welcoming, safe and socially just communities in which all
individuals and families can thrive. We stand in solidarity with our friends,
neighbors, colleagues, students, alumni and all vulnerable populations that
have been targeted by acts of hatred, violence, bigotry and policies of racial
profiling. We also realize that without economic justice the lives of many in
this country will experience continued suffering. We know that this work begins
within ourselves, our profession, and our families and communities and requires
courage, honesty, leadership, and action.

We must all take action, wherever and whenever we can.
Adapting some suggestions from our social work colleagues at the University of
Iowa, we share this list:

1. Call your elected officials and demand real action
against White Supremacy and hate groups;

2. Recommit to your own personal efforts in fighting
oppression on campus and in your home communities;

3. Educate yourself and others by attending and
organizing sit-ins, discussions, and other advocacy events;

4. Use social media to voice your concerns and by calling
out “Domestic Terrorism”. Help turn the tide against euphemisms that soften the
tone of violent acts against members of marginalized groups;

5. Refuse to be a bystander….use your voice and skills to
confront oppression when you see it;

6. Support and join fellow faculty members who have
organized PUSH – Professors United for a

Safe Haven;

7. If issues related to discrimination, oppression,
racism or any of the other forms of oppression

mentioned above occur during your field internship,
please notify the Office of Field and Professional Education and the Dean. We
will work with you and other University resources to provide support and
direction.

8. If you need additional support, please contact the
Monmouth University Counseling and Psychological Services Department to make an
appointment at: 732-571-7517 or by emailing mucounseling@monmouth.edu or by
visiting the office on the 3rd floor of the Stafford Student Center. Counseling
and Psychological Services encourages you to contact them with any questions or
concerns you may have. Please keep in mind that e-mail and voice messages
should NOT be used to convey urgent, time-sensitive information as an immediate
receipt/response is not guaranteed. Walk-in services are available during
office hours for urgent matters.

 

Letter from the President:

 

Dear students, friends and colleagues:

Our shared commitment to building a community of mutual
caring and respect, diversity, and integrity does not stop when classes are
finished, or take a pause before the new academic year begins.

The sad and shocking events in Charlottesville, Va., this
past weekend are a stark reminder that our educational mission is vital, and
perhaps more important than ever, to extinguish bigotry and violence, and to
affect positive change in the world.

As an academic enterprise based on exploration of diverse
thought, we must balance freedom of expression with an active commitment to
ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for every individual, without
exception.

As we prepare to come together on campus in just a few
short weeks, I know you will join me in condemning hatred, bigotry, and
violence in all forms as well as offering support to those who may be feeling
vulnerable. I look forward to working with all of you to ensure a diverse, inclusive,
and welcoming campus for all.

 

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Ohio
State University

A Message from Dean Tom Gregoire

August 12, 2017

Dear Social Work community –

We are distraught about the violence and loss of life in
Charlottesville and disturbed that some in our country find hatred and bigotry
as a cause around which to rally and unite. It is an affront to the countless
courageous and diverse individuals who have worked, prayed, fought and died
together as one people to promote justice for all in our country.

Justice and the dignity and worth of all people are core
values of our profession. There does not exist a valid counter argument to
those principles.

Whatever your response may be to both the circumstances that
gave rise to today’s events, and the subsequent violence, we invite you to both
fully experience and talk about those emotions, and to extend compassion and
love to yourself, and to others you encounter.

Kindness, perhaps because it takes so little effort, is
often undervalued. But a deep sense of caring about others is what called most
of us to this profession. Staying in touch with that is important for moving
forward, especially when things feel dark.

 

A message
from our Chief Diversity Officer Carla Curtis

August 13,
2017

This Saturday a white supremacist rally resulted in the death of one counter
protester and serious injuries to numerous others according to news reports.
The suspect, who has been apprehended, deliberately drove into the crowd of
counter protesters.

This aggressive act of hate resulting in death and multiple
injuries should be condemned from the highest office of our government. Instead
the President of the United States issued a statement inferring the "Unite
the Right" rally participants and the counter protestors were equal in the
expression of intolerance.

Bigotry directed to those who look different, behave
differently, or express love differently is based in hate and intolerance. This
is more than different minded people disagreeing or the expression of political
differences. We must not condone violent intolerance nor allow it to become a
‘norm’ we are numb to or fail to speak out against.

Hear your own voice and allow others to know your position
on issues that matter!

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Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey

A Message from Dean Cathryn Potter: Charlottesville, Social
Work, and Patriotism

August 18, 2017

Some things go without saying. Or at least, that is what we
a lulled into believing. Nevertheless, every American generation has defining
moments; clear opportunities to patriotically defend the core of our nation’s
ideals. This is such a moment in our history.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men
are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness (United States Declaration of Independence)."

Did Thomas Jefferson fully understand or live up to the
meaning of the words he penned? Did America take another century to abolish
slavery? Was it not until the 20th century that women were also given the vote?
Did the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s represent the first real
attack on Jim Crow society that perpetuated the remnants of slavery? Did
McCarthyism follow on the heels of the successful battle against fascism and
Nazi ideology? Has our history of oppression of sexual diversity been shameful?
Do we have much work to do as a people? Of course! America never fully lives up
to the ideals upon which it was founded, but that is not the story.

The American story is about how we strive to do so. Boldly
and righteously sometimes and haltingly and cowardly at others, but ultimately
striving to “bend the arc of history toward justice.”

Let’s be very clear about a few things. The white
supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies we saw on display in Charlottesville are
supremely un-American. There is no question about this. To argue that there are
two equal sides is akin to arguing, as it was indeed argued historically, that
Civil Rights advocates and the KKK held equally valid points of view about
America. Or perhaps to argue that German Jewish people and the Nazis were just
two groups of good people with different ideas. Americans have fought against
fascism in its many forms during our history, because fascism is always
incompatible with democracy and with the ideals of our country.

Social workers stand firmly against the alt-right agenda.
Social workers resist ideologies and agendas from neo-Nazis, white
supremacists, homophobes, misogynist anti-feminists, those who denigrate any
religion, all hate speech and actions, and indeed any un-American attempt to
separate human beings from their unalienable rights. Social workers are always
called to resist in ways small and large.

Two stories have been with me during the past few days.
First, during the election season, I was impressed with Khizr Khan, the father
of the deceased soldier whose story of carrying extra copies of the U.S.
Constitution to give fellow Americans was so powerful. It matters not what
party he supported; he stood for the Constitution. Please take the time to read
our Constitution and its amendments, along with the Declaration of
Independence. Along the way, take a look at the NASW Code of Ethics. This is
who we choose to be as Americans and as social workers.

Second, during a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington
D.C. the year that it opened, I remember clearly reading the names and
occupations of some of those designated as righteous, non-Jewish people who
acted to rescue Jewish people, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. To my
eye, there were a disproportionate number of social workers named there, and I
was humbled and proud to be a social worker.

May we never see dark days like those during the Holocaust
and our own slavery and Jim Crow history. May we also be clear that a new
holocaust, and the subjugation of non-whites and those not attuned to an
alt-right ideology is precisely the goal of the alt-right. Their goals are
un-American. Many have died in resistance throughout history, including Heather
Heyer last week in Charlottesville.

Choosing resistance is unsettling and frightening, but our
profession chooses social justice, and freedom has always required defenders.
This is one such time in history. We are professionally and patriotically
called to each find our way to “bend the arc of history toward justice.”

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San
Diego State University

A Message from Dean Mindy Hohman

Dear Social Work and Gerontology students,

Greetings and welcome to the School of Social Work! We are
looking forward to another exciting and learning-filled year.

These recent months have been a difficult time in our
country as we have seen a rise in racism, antisemitism, intolerance, and in
some cases, violence. This in turn has impacted all of us, personally but also
as social workers, for we stand for social justice and protection of the
vulnerable. Students often come to social work education thinking that they
want to work with individuals or families, perhaps as therapists, and yet the
macro environment is incredibly important now as we see policies being passed
that increase the already daily stressors and strains that our clients
experience. Advocacy and social change are urgent in the areas of environmental
justice, voting rights, and immigration, to name a few. Social workers and gerontologists
with the knowledge and skills to advance positive social change are needed now
more than ever.

As our country becomes more divided, social workers also
need to promote listening to understand how we got to where we are. You may
have classmates whose opinions differ from yours, and I urge you to listen
carefully and treat one another with respect. When we do this, it doesn’t mean
that we agree.

Beyond being culturally competent, we need to move into
cultural humility, where we recognize that each person has a “story” that
deserves to be listened to. Your classmates may be experiencing personal
concerns regarding immigration status or food insecurity or family violence or
racism or religious intolerance. Being humble means we don’t have all the answers
or even know what the person is experiencing, and it is the willingness to
create a safe space to learn their “story”.

You may make some lifelong friends in school. Find someone
who looks different from you and get to know him or her. Listen to their
“story”. Learning about others with humility and empathy will make you an even
better social worker/gerontologist.

Please know that my office is always open to students. Feel
free to come by to introduce yourself or if you have a concern that you want to
talk about. I also will be holding “open house coffees” on 9/20, 10/17, and
11/27 from 9:30 to 11am. If you can’t make it then, please do come another
time.

I wish you
all a very successful semester.

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Southern
Connecticut State University

A Message from Chairperson Elizabeth King Keenan

BSW
and MSW students:

Welcome
to those of you who are joining our programs and welcome back to those of you
continuing on with your learning and preparation for social work practice!
We’re facing heightened challenges as hatred, bigotry, and White nationalism is
escalating in our nation.  

As
social workers, we are well-equipped to respond with our profession’s values,
knowledge-base and practice strategies. I ask that you think about these
connections between what you are learning in your specific courses and
internships and the profession’s call to promote human rights and social
justice.  Here are some key connections to start with:

Anchoring in Social Work Values and Ethics  The first place to start
is to remember that our Code of Ethics includes “social workers’ ethical
responsibilities to the broader society” (NASW, 2008, p. 26). This includes
actions that “promote social, economic, political, and cultural values and
institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.”
Bigotry, deportations, anti-Semitism, racism, Islamophobia and infringes on
LGBT rights are not compatible with a socially just world.

Creating inclusive participatory cultures  Our responsibility
includes not only speaking out against such injustices, but also acting in ways
that promote socially just environments. We know that cultures are socially
constructed, and the values and social practices that enact those values only
continue to occur when groups of people repeatedly engage in them together. I
encourage you to pay attention to the cultures you co-create with each other in
your classrooms, and also look for opportunities to publicly participate in
events that deepen understanding and gratitude for the wide range of diverse
groups in our communities. I invite you to join me in reflecting on how we
create spaces that allow for new learning and understanding, for sharing and
considering ideas we have not considered, for looking for the ways that
ecological and social diversity enrich our experiences and communities. 

Building capacity to deepen understanding and challenge injustices
 
Uncertainty,
coupled with verbal and physical violence can trigger fight, flight and freeze
stress responses (reactive survival mechanisms from the “reptilian,” or
earliest developed part of our brains). These reactions to fight (with words or
physical violence), flee (to be with those who are similar to us, isolationism,
or avoidance), or freeze (out of shock), are being fueled by remarks from key
public officials and others via social media. 

An
alternative response is to FACE a situation by connecting with oneself and
others using the social engagement systems of the brain that engage the
pre-frontal and frontal cortex (making it possible to be present to oneself and
others, to reflect, to communicate with words, etc.)  Given the
heightened, intense stress levels, these alternative responses need to be
intentionally chosen and practiced. 

I
invite you to commit to stretching yourself, to expand your capacity to
respectfully engage in conversations that involve disagreement, tension, or
conflict. We have many practice strategies the help us FACE and respond to
hateful actions in the classroom, internships, and our communities. 

Working towards a socially just world  The divisiveness in our
country centers around two fundamental questions: Who belongs and who is
“deserving” of rights and the resources for well-being? The profession stands
for inclusion and equity – all are worthy of respect and all have the right to
safety, food, shelter, education, healthcare, and a living wage/income. I
encourage you to identify opportunities to effectively speak up about
injustices and advocate for socially just discourse, laws, policies, and
programs in their internships and communities as well as at the state and
national levels of government. 

Developing knowledge I invite you to continue to inform yourself
about the ways these social issues are manifesting themselves now. Here is one
source of information regarding White nationalists and strategies for college
campuses from the Southern Poverty Law Center regarding the Alt-right on
campus: https://www.splcenter.org/20170810/alt-right-campus-what-students-need-know 

Department Initiatives  S.M. Tomczak, Mark Cameron, and I, with
strong leadership from Rebecca Eisenberg, Alice Simmel, and other students,
launched a Rapid Response Team last semester,
culminating in a presentation about immigrant and refugee services. A
 Facebook page (Southern Social Work Rapid Response) shares information
and face-to-face meetings occur on Tuesdays from 4-4:45 in the Lang
lounge
. The
team welcomes participation from BSW and MSW students and full and adjunct
faculty.

 University-wide
initiatives  
President Joe has repeatedly stated that he wants the
university to promote dignity, respect, kindness, civility, and compassion. At
his encouragement, the university-wide commitment to social justice will expand
to include a month of activities in November. Several of our faculty will be
participating in the planning of those events.  Watch your emails for more
information.

As
the semester unfolds, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any
questions or concerns. Thank you for choosing Southern, for your commitment to
the profession, and for your desire to promote a just and equitable world.

With
all good wishes for a fruitful and productive semester

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The
University of Mississippi

A Message from Dean Jeffrey S. Vitter

August 22 2017

I am so pleased to welcome everyone back to an exciting new
academic year. Our campuses come alive with optimism and energy each August
when our full student body returns — students truly form the heart of our Ole
Miss community.

Our excitement for the new year, however, is tempered by
feelings of shock, disgust, and sorrow from the recent tragedy in
Charlottesville, Virginia. We are all struggling with the horrific events that
unfolded when white supremacist groups incited violence, hatred, and even death
in a college town with a vibrant and diverse community similar to our own.

The University of Mississippi emphatically condemns and
rejects racism and bigotry. There is no place for violence and hate — not in
our communities, on our campuses, or in our country. Diversity enriches the
educational environment and experiences of all our campus constituents. I urge
all members of the university community to embrace the tenets of the UM Creed
with a commitment to respect, civility, and integrity, and to be on the
forefront in condemning hate, bigotry, and violence.

Our highest priority is maintaining a safe and welcoming
environment for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to our campus. We
are always vigilant about protecting our campus from violence and harm. With
our superb partners in law enforcement, legal affairs, and government in the
City of Oxford, Lafayette County, the State of Mississippi, and the Federal
Government, we are actively working together to ensure that our community is
safe and that we turn away those with violent or malevolent intent.

The events in Charlottesville have heightened the national
dialogue about social injustice and race. At Ole Miss we do not shy away from
difficult topics. In fact, our university community has engaged in deliberate
discussions for many years about how to confront our past while forging a
vibrant future — to make clear that we reject past attitudes that do not
reflect who we are today. As an educational institution, our guiding principle
was that we have a duty to learn and teach from history, and contextualization
was determined to be the most effective approach. We recently completed a
15-month endeavor with the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and
Context to identify and contextualize the physical sites where we needed to
offer more history and put the past into context. The effort involved both an
academic review and broad community participation.

The fundamental responsibility of a university is to foster
learning, innovation, and strong communities. Working together, we will
continue to have positive impact. In future letters and blogs, I will write
with details about some exciting upcoming events and initiatives:

The second annual Tech Summit August 30, including a keynote
by renowned Silicon Valley pioneer Jim Clark.

Our second annual Town Hall meeting which will feature the
results of our strategic planning efforts over the past year.

A major
event in November to feature the Flagship Constellation research initiatives. Launching
of the M Partner program in January to strengthen Mississippi communities. Please
be watching for more information about these programs and initiatives in the
coming weeks. And please accept my gratitude for all you do to help us fulfill
our role as a flagship university.

As an academic community, the exchange of ideas and open dialogue are core
to our culture. We will always engage in frank and open discussions of important
issues to our community, so that collectively as a community we can come together
and realize our flagship aspirations — to transform lives, communities, and
the world.

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The
University of Oklahoma Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work

A Message from Director Julie E. Miller-Cribbs

The School of Social Work at OU stands for social justice.
The multiple acts of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville Virginia bring to
light the types of bigotry and hatred social workers are committed to fight
against. Our code of ethics directly calls for us to advocate for the dignity,
worth, autonomy, and empowerment of all people. While we recognize a statement
will not take the place of direct action, we want to be clear on where we stand
as well as on our commitment to those we serve. First, we stand for and are
committed to the inclusion and respect of all people regardless of race,
ethnicity, gender expression, religion, or any other demographic or social
factor. We believe multilayered diversity is a core strength of our community,
we recognize our privilege, and we are committed to the inclusion and
acceptance of all people. Second, we will openly stand on the front lines in
opposition to any and all forms of bigotry, hatred, oppression, and violence
directed toward any person, group, or community. We will not accept the
marginalization of any member of our community, and we will not be silent as
those around us dehumanize our neighbors. We are committed to standing against
injustice and to actively collaborating to make our communities inclusive,
respectful, and accepting of difference. As Dr. King said, “In the end we will
remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

We will not be silent.

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The
University of Texas at Austin
 

A Message from Dean Luis H. Zayas

Dear Social Work Students:

I want to extend my warmest
welcome to all of you: those who are new to the School of Social Work and those
who are returning.  It is always refreshing to meet you and see and feel
the energy that you bring to the school.  You are the reason we exist and
it is what drives us to be a better school and better teachers. 

The
start of this school year is unlike any other in recent memory.  The
events in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead, many injured,
and millions of us shocked and dismayed, are reminders of the danger of hate
speech, symbols, and actions.  In the past few years, videos of police
abuse and killings of African America
ns tell
the ongoing story of what it’s like to be black in America.  Witness, too,
the demonization of immigrants and refugees in the United States and so
many other countries.  Look right here in Texas to see the imprisonment of
mothers and children who flee from violent countries in South America, Africa,
the Middle East, and other places seeking security.  They find themselves
detained for months in privately run prisons, stripped of their human rights,
threatened with separation, and often deported before they have had a chance to
see an attorney.

For
social workers, ongoing injustices and recent events like those in
Charlottesville, are reminder
s of our duty to
speak up and oppose language and acts that are intended to humiliate,
subjugate, oppress, terrorize, and hurt others.  Our university, wisely,
is removing statues that celebrate Confeder
ate
leaders,
monuments that have become symbols of
modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism

It is but one step toward a more socially just campus and nation.  As
social workers we are committed to taking action to make this world a just
one. 

We are
proud that you have made a decision to pursue a career in social work.  It
is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.  Social
work is a profession that is like a calling, a calling to serve others and
improve lives.  For that reason, social work has been called the
“altruistic” profession.  It has been said as well that social work is the
only profession that converts the concept of social justice into a verb: social
work puts social justice into action. We choose to become social workers
because we carry an optimism, a hope that we can make things better than they
are now.  We can say that social work is really hope in motion
The philosopher Cornell West often says—and I paraphrase him—that “social
justice is the public expression of love.”  More directly he says, “Never
forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”  

It’s an uphill fight for social
justice.  It’s not easy.  And for that reason, the altruism, hope and
optimism we all have as social workers are some of our mightiest weapons in the
fight for social justice. 

Let us commit ourselves to working
together to stand up for basic human rights and demonstrate our
solidarity with those who are most vulnerable.  We should be prepared to
stand up to social injustice wherever we see it: on the street, in our
profession’s meetings, among our family and friends, in the classrooms of our
campus, and in the policies that are enacted by our government and our
institutions.  In our faculty and staff, and your fellow students, you
will find comrades who will work alongside you as we all take action to
make this a more safe and equitable world.  While we want you to
complete your studies successfully, we also want you to remain deeply involved
in what’s going on in the world.

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UCLA
Luskin School of Public Affairs

A Message
from Dean Gary Segura

My friends in the Luskin community,

For the kind of work that we do here at Luskin, the tragic
and horrific events in Charlottesville last weekend cut very close to home. The
forces of division are strong and, for the first time in a generation, they are
being legitimized, and endorsed by the highest powers in the country. Our
nation is in mourning, as adherents of the abhorrent ideology of white
supremacy murdered a woman (and injured dozens) in broad daylight in a
university town. Heather Heyer is among the most recent and visible casualties
of racism, but she is not the first and I am sadly certain she will not be the
last.

That racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, anti-Semitism
and white supremacy kill is hardly news. Their effects are everywhere, if only
you are willing to look. Racial disparities in political representation,
educational opportunity, net wealth, access to affordable health care, home
ownership, and contact with the carceral state are manifest and written into
institutional arrangements that preserve social inequalities rather than
disrupt them.

Women face wage and health care discrimination, mosques
burned as Muslims are banned, Jews denounced by white men wearing swastikas,
gays and lesbians beaten and murdered, transsexual persons demonized and
legislated against, and undocumented immigrants who do some of the hardest jobs
in the society described as rapists and drug mules by the President of the
United States and deported at an accelerating pace.

All of these things were true on the day before the
Charlottesville marches and murder last weekend. These affronts to human
dignity and well-being are what makes our work so important. At Luskin we train
scholars, policymakers and community leaders who work hard—together—every day
to alleviate and transform these social injustices. We must continue to produce
state of the art research in the service of all of our communities. In Los
Angeles, we know that our diversity is not a weakness; in fact, it is our
strength.

It is my fervent hope that these tragic events become a
tipping point. We should be more motivated than we have ever been. We should be
more fully mobilized than we have ever been. And we should work even harder to
bring the tools of our professions, our training as applied social scientists,
our insights, our skills at distilling fact from propaganda to this struggle.

In a spirit of hope and action, we remain deeply committed
to engaging in the kind of work that creates a better future for all
communities. And we must fight like hell to achieve that goal.

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University
at Buffalo

A Message from Dean Nancy J. Smyth, Hilary N. Weaver, Diane
E. Elze, Laina Y. Bay-Cheng

Given recent and ongoing events in our nation, and the
world, we, the School of Social Work’s academic leadership team, wanted to add
our voices to that of UB’s President (and our social work colleagues around
the nation) in reaffirming our School’s core values:

We are a School of Social Work dedicated to promoting
social and economic justice, human rights, and a trauma-informed perspective.

• As an institution of learning, we seek to understand
complex problems, to engage differing viewpoints, and to provide a platform for
constructive dialogue. We believe that knowledge infused with compassion can
create positive, transformative change to the benefit of all.

• As social workers, we commit ourselves to upholding the
dignity and equal rights of all people. We have an ethical obligation to oppose
ideologies, policies, and practices that dehumanize any other individual,
group, or community. We stand as allies with those facing oppression and
injustice.

For all of these reasons, we abhor the white supremacist
ideology and violence that we saw in Charlottesville earlier this month. This
incident – along with those preceding it and with those we fear may still come
– redoubles our commitment to learn and to act on behalf of social justice.
Finally, we stand with UB President Tripathi, emphasizing our commitment to the
constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Speech: “We acknowledge differing
viewpoints and do not tolerate repression of expression, even if particular
views may be diametrically opposed to those of members of our university or the
wider community”…and yet, “bigotry, racism and hatred will not be tolerated and
should be denounced in the most unambiguous terms…If acts spurred by bigotry,
racism and hatred take place here, we will respond swiftly to protect the
safety and well-being of our entire university community.”

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University
of Arkansas at Fayetteville

A Message from Director Yvette Murphy-Erby

Dear UA School of Social Work Students, Faculty and Staff,

Today is full of excitement; the solar eclipse, the first
day of classes, and the joy of learning that is a buzz in the air.  In
light of the recent, sad and disturbing events in Charlottesville, Virginia,
today is also a perfect time to reflect on the core values and ethical
principles that comprise the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of
Ethics.  Although these values represent an ethical responsibility that
social workers are required to uphold, they are values that we expect all members
of our School of Social Work community to uphold.  Thus, as we all
reflect, I challenge every one of us: students, faculty, and staff, to consider
how we can live these values in our day-to-day actions.

  • Service- Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need
    and to address social problems.
  • Social justice – Social workers challenge social injustice.
  • Dignity and worth of the person: Social workers respect the
    inherent dignity and worth of the person.
  • Importance of human relationships: Social workers recognize the
    central importance of human relationships.
  • Integrity: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.
  • Competence: Social workers practice within their areas of
    competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise. 

The UA School of Social Work is committed to upholding these
values and ensuring that we maintain a culture and climate that is inclusive,
inviting, and free of hatred and bigotry.  I thank each of you for the
roles you have played and will continue to play in promoting these values in
all that we say and do and to reflect our steadfast commitment to valuing the
dignity and worth of all individuals and promoting social justice for
all. 

Have a wonderful semester!

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University
of California at Berkeley

A Message from Dean Jeffrey L. Edleson

Dear Social Welfare Students,

I want to welcome each and every one of you to our School of
Social Welfare community. If you are returning or new to the School, this
promises to be an exciting year of learning, discussion and growth. 

Berkeley Social Welfare has repeatedly been ranked one of
the top social welfare programs in the country. Our undergraduate program has
been ranked #1 and our MSW program #3 in the country in recent rankings. Our
faculty and PhD graduates are repeatedly ranked the top scholars in the country
and our MSW field program is seen as perhaps the best in North America. And YOU
have been selected into our School because of your outstanding academic
achievements and your concern for the important social issues of our time.

We hope this is a safe but challenging learning environment
and that you not only learn from your instructors but from your fellow students
as well as soak up all that Berkeley and the Bay Area have to offer. When I was
a Social Welfare major here at Berkeley and then a MSW and doctoral student at
the University of Wisconsin I think I learned as much or more outside the
classroom than within it. It is in interaction with your classmates, faculty
and field supervisors where a lot of your learning will occur. So I encourage
you to become fully engaged in the life of the School and campus.

Safe and challenging is a theme on campus as well. This is
certainly a very trying time for our country as we experience a failure of
leadership and encouragement of the most hateful elements in our society. The
Berkeley campus, as have campuses around the country, has become fodder for
violent right wing elements in our society. 

I strongly encourage you to read through the attached
student guide to responding to hate groups on campus just developed by the
Southern Poverty Law Center. And if you are interested, watch the amazing
speech Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans gave in May of this year on why
symbols of the Confederacy must come down. Here is a link via the Washington
Post to his speech. It is worth every minute of the 20 minutes of video.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/full-speech-mitch-landrieu-addresses-removal-of-confederate-statues/2017/05/31/cbc3b3a2-4618-11e7-8de1-cec59a9bf4b1_video.html?utm_term=.e1612fdffced

Finally, I urge you to act with love even in the face of
hate. Here is a link to a story about a non-violent alternative that one city
in Germany developed to counter hate groups:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/opinion/how-to-make-fun-of-nazis.html?_r=0

In peace,
Dean Edleson

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University
of Connecticut School of Social Work

A Message from Dean Nina Rovinelli Heller

Dear Student Colleagues,

In a few days, your SSW faculty
and staff will welcome you to the start of the new academic year. This is an
exciting time for those of you who are returning and for those of you who are
just beginning your journey at the school, now located in downtown Hartford.
There are many opportunities awaiting you, not the least of which is a vibrant
neighborhood and beautiful new facilities.

At the same time, we all face
significant challenges as human beings and as social workers. I know that you
are all aware of the horrifying events in Charlottesville last weekend and the
social and political contexts that gave rise to, emboldened, and validated
racist, anti-Semitic, anti GLBTQ, misogynistic, and xenophobic sentiments,
movements and violence. These events and attitudes are wholly unacceptable to
us as social workers and as people. While the counter-protest in Boston on
Saturday gave us some hope about the scope of resistance to hateful groups, we
have much work to do, as a nation and in our communities.

Your faculty and staff are well
prepared to help you and each other navigate these tumultuous times. I ask that
we begin this semester with a heightened awareness of the impact that events
like this have on each other, particularly on those whose identities are
targeted by these kinds of actions and words. We stand ready to provide
assistance, compassion and expertise in navigating these minefields. Many of
our faculty have devoted their careers and lives to the study and eradication
of injustice and inequality. The social work profession itself provides
multiple lenses through which we can understand and challenge the structural
systems, which have resulted in gross and entrenched inequities and pain on
people and communities. Indeed, our professional code of ethics requires our
action to advocate politically.

6.04 Social and Political
Action

(a) Social workers should engage
in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal
access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require
to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be
aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for
changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet
basic human needs and promote social justice.

(b) Social workers should act to
expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for
vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups.

(c) Social workers should promote
conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the
United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and
practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of
cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that
demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights
of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.

(d) Social workers should act to
prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination
against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national
origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age,
marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or
physical disability.

We have in place several groups
and mechanisms for addressing these issues. Your Graduate Student Organization
is a strong advocate for justice through engagement and action. Watch for their
notices of meetings and get involved! The SSW also has a Just Community
Committee,
http://ssw.uconn.edu/our-community/social-justice-efforts/, chaired by Milagros Marrero-Johnson and Lisa WerkmeisterRozas. They and the
rest of the committee have been working hard to develop programming that is
both responsive and timely. Please find ways to engage with this ongoing
initiative.

We will begin addressing some of
these issues at our convocation for new students on Friday morning. Your
classrooms will be venues in which you can learn, struggle, debate and
challenge your own and others’ understandings of the problems in our country
now. We are committed to creating space for engaged and respectful dialogue
within our classrooms and school and community events.

This is an exciting time to be continuing
with or embarking on a noble career in social work. This critical juncture
provides an imperative for committed learning. We welcome you to the community
and very much look forward to exploring many of these challenges together.

I look forward to engaging with
you all about the challenges that we face as a nation – and to identify the
ways that we can engage each other and our social and political structures – on
behalf of all people and their human rights.

Welcome!

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University
of Denver

A Message from Dean Amanda Moore McBride

GSSW community,

The United States is fractured. Politicians and individual
residents alike are expressing hate, prejudice, and discrimination through
words and actions. The trauma is both historical and now ever present and raw.

Social work is a unique profession and discipline in that we
act from an ethic of respect for all peoples. Social justice is central to
social work’s foundation and must be our driving force today. Our challenge as
social workers is to “do the work.”

I invite you to join the GSSW community as we offer
opportunities for us to challenge ourselves and create positive social
impact.

Tomorrow and next week we will offer time for students,
staff, and faculty to come together to process recent events.

• On Friday, August 18, 11am to 1pm, the Office of Student
and Career Services is holding space in the first floor lounge.

• On Wednesday, August 23, faculty will lead a dialogue
session. The time and location are forthcoming.

We are offering a range of community programming. These
events are nearly sold out since their announcement earlier this week. Please
sign up soon.

• GSSW’s 2017-18 Catalyst Series for Social Justice begins
on September 27 with an event on White Fragility.

• GSSW is co-sponsoring a series on Courageous Conversations
About Race, including a finale event with Tim Wise.

• GSSW’s series on civic education for civic engagement will
also resume in the fall quarter. We will share information on those workshops
as they are available.

Please consider participating in other community events.
For example, on Saturday, August 19, from 9:30am to 11:30am at Shorter AME
Church an event is planned featuring Professors Erica Chenoweth and Marie Berry
from DU’s Korbel School for International Studies.

I also hope you will seek out support services as necessary
to care for yourself.

• Students: Health and Counseling Center, 303-871-2205

• Employees: Employee Assistance Program, 303-871-2205

• All members of the DU community: Religious and Spiritual
Life , 303-871-4488

For our students, staff, and faculty who are new to our
community, please read GSSW’s solidarity statement, which we wrote in February
2017. It will orient you to the values that guide our work every day.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the GSSW community is
resolved in our commitment to social justice.

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University
of Hawai`i at Manoa

A Message from Dean Noreen Mokuau

E komo mai – welcome to the start of the 2017-2018 academic
year at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. Social work and public
health are committed to social justice and health equity with a fundamental
core established in human rights, respect for and inclusion of diverse peoples,
and environmental stewardship.

Recent tumultuous events, such as the one in
Charlottesville, Virginia, remind us that violence and hatred are not
diminished even when we are an ocean and continent away. We chose our
professions so that we could have a positive impact on promoting a just and
global society.

When students, staff, faculty and our community partners
work collectively, the authority of mana for a just and healthy world is
greater. E holomua kākou.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color
of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and
if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more
naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to
Freedom)

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University
of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

A Message from Dean Alan Dettlaff

The events in Charlottesville this past weekend and the
responses from the White House have become an all too familiar echo as the
current political climate is demanding all of us to come to terms with the ever
visible fault lines that expose the deep reckoning and work we must do around
race in America.

We condemn the actions of this weekend in the strongest
possible terms and stand united with all who have expressed outrage at the act
of violent terrorism that claimed the life of Heather Heyer. We condemn the
absence of leadership and equivocation that distorts the issues and the root
causes.

To be clear, there is not a problem on "both
sides." White supremacists are the problem, and the failure to condemn
their actions, to acknowledge them as racists, and to disavow their support
only continues to empower them.

As a College of Social Work, we recognize racism and
structural racism are at the root of myriad problems we have faced historically
and continue to face. They are directly responsible for many of the injustices
all social workers have taken an oath to combat in our communities.

As social workers, we must call out White supremacy,
racism, and structural racism directly, by name. We must do so when others,
and particularly those in positions of leadership, won’t. We must do so now. We
must do so unequivocally.

At the GCSW we are ever committed to addressing these
issues and crafting solutions. I am both proud of the work we have already done
and look forward to continuing to empower our students, faculty, and staff to
lead in this area. It was just one year ago when incidents of police brutality
against unarmed African Americans inspired the creation of the Social Justice
Solutions event by GCSW student Maranda Harris. Then, last spring we held an
advocacy event, Amplify Your Voice, for social workers and community activists
to organize and understand changes in policy in the face of a changing
political climate.

Before the events of this past weekend, there were already
plans to continue both events. Today we stand even firmer and ever more
resolute to continue this work and to lead.

We recognize that we must be both dedicated and vigilant in
providing a safe space for all in our College and our community. We welcome
ideas and opportunities to partner with others to address social, racial,
economic, and political justice, local to global. It is the vision that guides
our work every day. It is what we do. It is who we are. We invite you to join
us, to share your ideas, and to help us develop effective, sustainable actions
to achieve our vision of social, racial, economic, and political justice for
all.

Together we can do this. Indeed, it is up to us. All of us.

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University
of Maryland School of Social Work

A Message
from Dean Richard P. Barth

Dear SSW Community,

I wanted to follow President Perman’s expression of outrage and call to action
(included below for those who might not have received it), with one of my
own about the violence perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators in Charlottesville,
this weekend, as a consequence of racism, domestic terrorism, and hate-filled
white supremacist and Neo Nazi ideology.

This pre-meditated violence is shocking and runs completely
counter to our School’s shared commitment to the fundamental values of mutual
respect and inclusion. These disturbing and disheartening events demonstrate
that our work as social workers and concerned citizens–to protect hard won
civil rights and achieve greater social justice–is never-ending and more
important now than ever.

I am proud of the work we do and look forward to my next
chance to tout the work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to
strengthen society. Today my thoughts and prayers are with those in
Charlottesville most directly affected by these acts of terror, and to all of
you connected with the School of Social Work community who are also deeply
upset by these tragic events. Please know helpful resources are available
online at the School’s SSW Responds web site
(https://www.sswresponds.info/resources).

I know that you join me in efforts to push forward and
engage in the hard work to achieve a far more just, anti-racist, and equal
society—one that protects the right to march and speak freely without
intimidation on behalf of these shared goals.

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University
of Michigan

A Message from Dean Lynn Videka

Dear Colleagues,

My heart is heavy in the wake of the Charlottesville events
and their aftermath. I offer my condolences to the family of Heather Heyer who
was killed in a violent attack by a white supremacist. I reject the abddication
of moral leadership, including the tacit support of hate, by our nation’s
president. I am stunned and horrified by the undeniable presence of deep
bigotry in our country. At the same time I am heartened and I applaud the
actions of caring Americans — the peaceful vigils, rallies, and other signs of
solidarity among those who reject racism, anti-semitism, and bigotry in any
form.

As the semester begins, our community will join together to
show our solidarity for the basic human values that are the core of the social
work profession — social justice, respect for the dignity and worth of all
persons, and the importance of human relationships. As a first step, a list of
resources for students, faculty and concerned citizens are listed below. There
is no room for bigotry and hatred in our society. I ask you to think about how
you can contribute to end of bigotry and to demand respect for all people in
our community, our nation, and the world. It is a responsibility for each and
every one of us to reach out, raise hope and change society.

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University
of Missouri

A Message from Director Dale Fitch

8/12/2017

Dear Colleagues,

Today’s events in Charlottesville are reprehensible and
condemnable. The lack of leadership from the White House is deplorable. Much like
the events at Mizzou in the Fall 2015 led to other protests across our country,
it is safe to assume that similar protests/counter protests will occur once
universities across the nation resume in the next few weeks.

Social work has always been in a pivotal position in our
society and perhaps even more so now than in recent decades. Our leadership
will be critical. How we educate our students will be pivotal.

Dear Students,

We know racism has no place in our society. There will never
be a valid argument that denounces the inherent dignity and worth of all
people, one of Social Work’s core values. While we oftentimes find ourselves
working with the survivors of oppression, we somehow have to find a way to
engage those individuals who perpetrate race based oppression. It makes no
sense to us why any rational person would act out their race based oppression
through violence. Nevertheless, our job as social workers is to find out how it
makes sense to them and we can only do that through dialogue.

While the First Amendment protects free speech, even hate
speech, we can still set ground rules for when and where that speech will occur
and also restrict speech that incites violence and personal harm. Setting those
ground rules allows us to explore someone’s motivation for race based
oppression such that we can address the root causes.

However, under no circumstance should our dialogue with
racists, sexists, and other oppressors be viewed as an end in itself. Our call
to social justice requires us to confront and dismantle systems of oppression.
One goal of your coursework this year will be to better identify and understand
those systems. This is not an academic exercise; it is fundamental in our Code
of Ethics to be competent. One person died and dozens were injured this weekend
because of racism. We must have a working knowledge of the mechanisms that
foment this mindset. However, just to clarify, we do not have to engage these
individuals with the goal of changing them. At this point, we simply need to
engage to have dialogue. To better understand their human behavior within the
context of their social environment.

While the White House finally denounced the KKK, white
nationalists, and other hate groups; and while laws are being introduced in
various state legislatures to curb their activities (an excellent policy
initiative), none of that will address the root causes of their behavior. If
and when those opportunities arise on campus this year, we need to have these
dialogues. Let’s support each other in those events and lead the way to forming
an understanding that reduces the violence that hate brings.

This year, the School of Social Work pledges to work to
dismantle racism by confronting systems of oppression and lending support to
those who feel its effects. Let’s support each other by participating in
university and campus events that have this goal. If you are aware of any
events, please let me know so I can get the word out to organize our efforts.

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University
of Nevada Las Vegas

A Message from Director Carlton D. Craig

Dear Social Work Students:

I wish to welcome you to the 2017-2018 academic school year
here at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Our faculty, staff, and team here
at the school of social work is anticipating a great year and hope to meet and
work with each and every one of you.

The beginning of this school year unfortunately falls on the
heels of a national tragedy in which an individual lost her life and 35 others
were injured protesting Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, anti-Semitic, and
xenophobic hatred. Furthermore, comments that were made by the national
leadership further fanned the flames of hatred and discrimination. I want to
make it perfectly clear that the UNLV School of Social Work in no way, shape,
or form supports comments or actions that do not completely condemn the hatred
and bigotry that was demonstrated during August 12-13 in Charlottesville, VA.
The UNLV School of Social Work strongly supports and is dedicated to the
following action that is stated in our NASW Code of Ethics:

6.04 Social and Political Action

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political
action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources,
employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human
needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the
political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and
legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and
promote social justice.

(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and
opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged,
oppressed, and exploited people and groups.

(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage
respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and
globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate
respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and
resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural
competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm
equity and social justice for all people.

(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate
domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group,
or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political
belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability

In this regard, we look forward to working with you in the
classroom and the community to promote kindness and benevolence to our fellow
human beings including developing interventions that can begin to debrief,
treat, and prevent the insidiousness of hatred and bigotry. In the year to come
and well beyond your graduation, it will be important to keep a dialogue open
that will spread a deeper kind of understanding and caring for the human
condition.

Please join me in solidarity and compassion to make this a
peaceful and understanding school year that promotes kindness, understanding,
and warmth in the aversive face of hatred and bigotry. Together, we can
collaborate, lead, and innovate to address these issues and in so doing be different,
daring, and diverse.

Thank you for choosing UNLV School of Social Work and I look
forward to meeting you.

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University
of New England

A Message from Dean Shelley Cohen Konrad

Happy New Year. The beginning of the academic year reminds
me of renewal and promise. Promise of enriching conversations, motivation and
the all-important, continual struggle to help people. Helping people. That is
at the core of social work practice. We are in challenging times and there is
no greater need for educated and motivated social workers than now.

The School of Social Work community is pleased to welcome
incoming and returning students ready to engage in fantastic, interactional,
and inspiring learning. You have thoughtfully chosen a field dedicated to
service; one that requires insight, determination, and passion. Social work is
also a challenging profession, but we are never deterred from our historical
mission – to make the world a better place for all people. As I reflect on the
beginning of the new school year, I am inspired by a quote from Nelson
Mandella’s book, Long Walk to Freedom:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color
of his skin or his background or his religion. … People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. … For love comes
more naturally to the heart than its opposite."

This quote has been repeated by leaders around the world.
Some in the context of race, others in the context of hate. In fact, a similar
version of this quote is included in Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s South Pacific
musical.

Whether aiming for careers in clinical, community, or
integrated practice, by the time you exit the program, you will be fully involved
in activism, advocacy, social empowerment, and social inclusion with
individuals, families, groups, and communities. And there is no more urgent
time than now to promote social agency. The power of hate was startlingly
evident in the tragedies that took place in Charlottesville and Barcelona. From
Ferguson to Baton Rouge to Paris; from targeting Black youth and LGBTQ groups
to taking aim at police officers, the collective losses have mounted. How
indeed do we change the narratives and actions of hate?

As members of the UNE Social Work community, I ask that you
take our vision statement to heart and into action:

The University of New England School of Social Work
envisions a world where social workers are at the forefront of advocating with
individuals and communities for human dignity and social inclusion by
mobilizing efforts to end inequities, exploitation and violence.

Here are some suggestions for the coming year:

• Question hate that is expressed in any form; don’t let a
learning moment slip away

• Practice listening with openness and willingness to
understand the views of others, whether they are the same or different from
your own

• Be curious and practice respectful inquiry

• Embrace diversity in all its beauty and complexity

• Consciously invite all views in the classroom, including
those of your “quiet” classmates

• Focus on learning for knowledge, not for grades

• Be part of creating a safe space for learning

• Always be kind

• Seek out immediate support from faculty, staff, or
administration if you have observed or personally experienced disrespect or
otherwise upsetting actions

Earning an MSW is a remarkably rich experience. But you
should also expect that it will be trying at times, complex, messy and
challenging. The faculty is ready to make sure that frustration and reward
will balance out and lead to greater learning. I assure you it’s all worth it,
but just in case I’m here to remind you that we are here for you every day.
Let’s build relationship and begin the conversation.

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University
of North Carolina at Charlotte

A Message from Director Schnavia
Smith Hatcher

The School of Social Work at the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte affirms its commitment to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating
all forms of racism and ethnic oppression. We focus on engaging and
collaborating in teaching, service, and scholarship that challenges oppressive
and unjust forces. We work to reduce racial injustices both within the academy
and the broader community. The School of Social Work faculty, staff, and
administrators are united in the pursuit to end racial and ethnic bias and to
empower our students towards this collective goal.

We acknowledge that regardless of one’s own race or
ethnicity, individuals are at various points along an anti-racist journey. We
also understand that bias can be unconscious or unintentional and that racism
is the combination of social and institutional power plus racial prejudice.
Identifying these two specific forms of oppression and disparate outcomes does
not automatically mean that those involved intended negative impact and having
these conversations requires courage, respect, and compassion, and may not
always be or seek to be comfortable. However, as an anti-racist and ethnically
unbiased community we will purposefully strive to identify, discuss, and
challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity and the impact(s) they have on
students, faculty, and staff members.

We Stand Committed:

1.To affirm explicitly and in united solidarity our identity
as an anti-racist academic unit.

2. To individual and institutional exploration and
examination of implicit bias and systemic advantage/oppression such that our
anti-racism commitment be reflected in the life and culture of the School of
Social Work through our policies, programs, and practices as we continue to
learn about racism and ethnic oppression.

3.To the development and implementation of strategies and
best-practices that dismantle racism and ethnic oppression within all aspects
of our academic unit, college, university, community, and society.

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USC
Suzanne Dworak Peck School of Social Work

University of Southern California

A Message from Dean Marilyn L. Flynn

OPEN LETTER TO FACULTY, STUDENTS, STAFF, ALUMNI AND FRIENDS
OF THE SCHOOL

Our first week of classes has concluded amidst two
dramatically opposed national experiences – violence and bigotry in
Charlottesville, Virginia and alternatively, universally shared excitement
with the eclipse.

We can expect to be whipsawed in coming months between
confrontation and opportunities for connection like these, all within the
context of national and international instability.

As a school, we can use this tension as an opportunity to
probe the meanings of democracy, diversity, and social reform more deeply.

We must begin, of course, with absolute detestation –
intellectual, professional, and personal – for hatred and bigotry and any force
that destroys and denigrates other human beings. Storm troopers with assault
rifles are an anathema on our streets.

But from this point of departure, the problems become more
complicated.

As social workers, we have the tough job of making life
better, of resolving conflict in intractable situations. We can’t settle for
slogans, because we actually have to get the work of social change done.

This means that in classes, faculty meetings, and our
engagement with others here and elsewhere in the country, we have a special
obligation. We will need to model civility, reasoned argument, use of
evidence, and attention to other viewpoints.

We are here to preserve respect for the individual and to
promote reform through democratic means. This means disagreement and
compromise. We are obligated to examine alternatives carefully, even when
solutions are not simple. We can support each other through shared values
while having very different opinions about problem definition and strategy.

In coming weeks, the school will be examining options for
shared dialog. We will be building opportunities for better online
connectivity to allow for expanded and ongoing discussion of issues. We will
collaborate with other schools at USC in establishing forums for in-person
meetings. We will rethink how we can make our diversity and inclusion
initiative more powerful, especially through All School Day. We will try to
develop better evidence to support policy options through our programs of
research in the Roybal Institute, the Center for Research And Innovation for Veterans
and Military Families, and other programs. We will work with NASW to strengthen
our impact and voice in the community, here and nationally.

Now, in this special time when values and the very
foundations of our society seem challenged, social work must attend more than
ever to implementing principles of respect for diversity and inclusion, social
equity, and democratic problem-solving. Science will be our guide, ethics our
mainstay, and belief in human potential our inspiration.

I look forward to the coming year and joining with all of
you in our common purpose.

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University
of Texas at Arlington

A Message from Dean Scott D. Ryan

First, I want to welcome our new and returning social work
students. In addition to welcoming our largest class ever, we are welcoming 10
new full-time faculty members and one staff member.

Welcome to the fall semester and a new academic year. This
year we celebrate our 50th anniversary and each of you are here at an historic
time for our school. I’m excited about the upcoming year and look forward to
opportunities to re-connect with alumni and interacting with faculty, staff and
students.

However, I would be remiss, if I did not share with you my
thoughts on the recent events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.

As social workers, more than any other profession, we
recognize the importance and strength of diversity and inclusion. We understand
the importance of standing up against hatred and bigotry.

I know many of you are rightfully upset about the incidents
in Charlottesville, Virginia and about other similar events happening in our
country. Racism, discrimination, white nationalism, neo-Nazism, violence and
hate in any form is unacceptable behavior and must be immediately and strongly
denounced.

When confronted with this evil and disturbing ideology,
silence is not the answer.

We should all be reminded of the following often quoted
statement from Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak
out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not
speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak
for me.

Niemöller, a protestant German pastor, believed through
silence in the persecution and murder of millions of Jews during World War II,
he and others were in effect complicit in the crimes committed by Nazi
Germany.

I expect all of you to continue to uphold the core values
and ethical principles and standards of the social work profession. As I
stated following last year’s presidential election, our school and classrooms
must always be a learning environment that supports open dialogue, reflection,
personal development and professional growth.

Our classrooms should be where we engage in thoughtful
inquiry, scholarly research and respectful debate. Therefore, I expect everyone
to be respectful of the thoughts and feelings of others.

We will continue to be a place of tolerance and hope,
promoting respect and acceptance for all people, regardless of race, religion,
ethnicity, age, nationality or sexual orientation.

We take immense pride in the diversity of our students and
consider it to be one of our greatest strengths. As a school of social work, we
remain committed to maintaining a culture of acceptance, compassion and mutual
respect.

We are at our best when we come together committed to
advocating for social justice, helping the marginalized and disadvantaged and
protecting those threatened.

I look forward to working with all of you this year to
further our mission of developing students who are life-long learners and
leaders dedicated to challenging the present and enriching the future for
everyone.

Sincerely,

Scott D. Ryan
Dean and Jenkins Garrett Professor
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Arlington

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University
of Utah

A Message from Dean Martell Teasley

Dear Social Work Student Body,

Welcome to the new academic year!

I had the pleasure of meeting many of the incoming
undergraduate and graduate students, and there are many of you that I have yet
to meet. It will be my pleasure to meet and greet many of you as we cross paths
at the College of Social Work. Social work education is a wonderful experience
that you will remember for the rest of your lives. I challenge all of you to
make new friends and network with as many of your peers as possible. The
faculty and staff at the College of Social Work are excited about the return of
students and the new academic year. We all promise to work hard and to provide
you with a wonderful and enriching educational experience.

As a profession based on humanitarian values and social
justice, social work professionals are consciously aware of events in our
society that call into question our professional values and that challenge
human rights. The recent events in Charlottesville, VA have sparked much
debate and commentary throughout our country. There is no doubt that social
issues will emerge in the classroom as part of teaching and learning. In such
conversations, it is important that we all respect the rights of others. Ours
is a country that values freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment of the
Constitution. However, freedom of speech does not give any of us the right to
degrade, hurt, or belittle people we disagree with. In conversations where
there are disagreements, it is important to respect the opinion of others; to
rebut with facts instead of personal conjecture; to maintain a tone that is
consistent with civil discourse; and to always consider social work values as
part of our discourse. I’m sure that listening to others will provide greater
insight into why people think the way that they do, which will promote greater
understanding.

In promoting diversity and understanding difference, talk to
your peers who have different backgrounds than you; get outside of your comfort
zone and work with someone you do not know; share stories about your
individual pathways to social work education and your vision as a social work
professional. Take full advance of the many resources that the University has
in order to maximize your time at the “U.”

I look forward to an exciting academic year and meeting many
of you.

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University
of Washington

A Message from Dean Eddie Uehara

Dearest Colleagues and Friends:

The white supremacist violence evidenced in Charlottesville
during the past several days is anathema to everything we stand for as social
workers, as members of the School of Social Work, and as participants in an
inclusive democracy.  The dean’s team will be working with school
leadership groups to compose a statement for the SSW website that strongly
condemns this violence, and supports the
many who are standing against it. We will also express our deep sorrow for
those who lost their lives or suffered injury in Virginia this week.

The brutal expressions of racism, antisemitism, and bigotry exhibited
by the white supremacist hate groups assembled in Virginia over the weekend has
no place in a civil society. 

In solidarity with you all,

School of Social Work issues open letter denouncing white
supremacist violence

The following is an open letter from the UW School of Social
Work: "We strongly denounce the white supremacist violence witnessed on
the weekend of Aug. 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia. These types of domestic
terrorist acts and hate-based events are against everything we stand for as
social workers, as members of the School of Social Work community, and as
people fighting for an inclusive democracy. We deeply appreciate the statement
of UW president Ana Mari Cauce, and stand in solidarity with her and others in
rejecting the brutal expressions of racism, antisemitism, xenophobia,
homophobia, transphobia and bigotry.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone whose lives have
been touched by this senseless tragedy especially those who lost their lives or
suffered injuries in Charlottesville.

These are challenging times for many in our community. We
have many excellent services to support students, staff, and faculty on our
campus who may have been impacted by these events. Please feel free to reach
out to us to connect with these services.

For students: The Counseling Center (206-543-1240) is free
for students and offers professional services for stress management, coping
strategies, and ways to manage conditions like anxiety and depression. They
also have same-day appointments. Hall Health Mental Health (206-543-5030)
offers similar services and also provide medication evaluation and management,
group therapy, and other services. For faculty and staff, there are resources
available through UW HR WorkLife resources.

As our School prepares for a new academic year, we continue
to emphatically reject hate and bigotry. It is more critical than ever that we
stand together against attempts to divide us from each other, and embrace our
mission of social justice, diversity and inclusion."

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University
of Wisconsin-Madison
 

A Message from Director and Professor Stephanie Robert

Members and friends of the School of Social Work:

Unfortunately, what happened in Charlottesville is not
surprising to us. It is yet another outward manifestation of what we know to be
true – hatred and violence are both tolerated and fostered in our country.

The School of Social Work joins the University leaders in
condemning the racist and anti-Semitic ideologies and violence witnessed this
week in Charlottesville. In their recent letter to the campus, the Chancellor,
Provost, Chief Diversity Officer, and Dean of Students state:

“The use of violence in the service of racist and
anti-Semitic ideology is cowardly and against the ideals this country has
fought to preserve for generations. We unambiguously reject violence and the
ideologies of white supremacist groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis that express
hatred of people because of their identities. These organizations are antithetical
to the values that this campus represents.”

In the letter, the UW-Madison leadership recommits itself
to preserving the safety of our campus community, valuing diversity, and
promoting the free expression of viewpoints (that do not include threats or
violence).

As members and friends of the School of Social Work, we
have additional commitments to make.

As social workers, we must unequivocally call out White
supremacy, racism, and anti-Semitism by name. But that is not enough. We must
also directly confront the root causes of racism, sexism, heterosexism,
ableism, and every other dimension of systematic oppression and hatred that
are, sadly, too long to list.

How do we do this? As individuals and as a social work
community, we need to recommit to action plans that better contribute to equity
and justice. We need to step up our game. We need to ask ourselves: What will
we do differently moving forward? What will we do to question and recognize our
own contributions to the maintenance of systematic oppression? How will we
model for others that social workers take a stand as both individuals and as a
profession to actively combat oppression in small and large ways? What new
collaborations will we form, expand, or join to mobilize the diverse voices and
talents that will be needed to move us forward to address systematic and
institutionalized oppression?

At the School of Social Work, we will continue to examine
our own contributions to the maintenance of systematic oppression. And we will
continue our commitment to training students and partnering with others to
address racial, economic, and social injustice. We invite you to join us as we
move forward. We need to do better as individuals and as a social work
community. We all need to step up our game.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve
the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the
day." – E.B. White

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Virginia Commonwealth
University

A Message from Dean Tim L. Davey

Dear VCU School of Social Work student community,

The recent and destructive events in Charlottesville, Va.,
serve as a stark reminder that higher education is not immune to the effects of
those who promote hate, intolerance and oppression. Many members of our
community have been impacted by what happened in Charlottesville, and the harsh
reality is that we still live in a flawed society that is deeply divided.

The VCU School of Social Work takes an open and active
stance against white supremacy, racism, hate speech, anti-Semitism and any
other forms of oppressive action and rhetoric that attempt to minimize the
inherent dignity and worth of people. We condemn, in the strongest way
possible, any act of social injustice, including those recently witnessed in
Charlottesville.

As professional social workers, present and future, we have
a responsibility to uphold our social work core values — to take action for
social justice, to respect the worth and dignity of all people and to challenge
hatred, racism and bigotry wherever it is found. We remain true to our core
values and continue to learn and grow as a school working together to determine
the most effective and proactive paths of advocacy.

We acknowledge that our country and immediate communities
have a complex history of individual and institutional racism, but we do not
accept the continuation of this racism, or any form of bigotry in contemporary
society. We stand with all VCU School of Social Work students, faculty, staff,
alumni and community partners who are speaking out against those attempting to
divide us based on our differences.

We are steadfast in our mission to prepare the next
generation of social change agents for the betterment of the human condition.
We will continue to foster diversity and inclusion and provide safe spaces
where ideas may flourish and where every student feels respected and emboldened
to succeed.

As you take the next steps in your academic journey, please
know that we are committed to supporting the whole student — both your personal
and academic wellness — in whatever ways that you need. If you find yourself
grappling with societal events or feel you need academic advisement, we
encourage you to use the supports listed below so that you may grow your
knowledge, skill and empathy to make better the communities where we live and
serve. If you are looking for opportunities to further engage in our
communities, we encourage you to connect with a faculty member or join the VCU
School of Social Work Black Lives Matter Student, Faculty and Alumni
Collective.

Ongoing student resources and support:

• VCU University Counseling Services

• VCU Global Education Office

• The Wellness Resource Center

• VCU School of Social Work Student Success
Advisers

• The Student Success Resource Wire, a bi-weekly
Office of Student Success student support newsletter. In this effort, we are
together, and together we will succeed.

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Wayne
State University

A Message from Dean Jerry Brandell

August 17,
2017

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Members of the School of
Social Work Community: I had expected on this day, my first official day as
your Interim Dean, that I would be offering my greetings, and perhaps a few
words of encouragement as we begin the academic year. Instead, in light of the
very recent tragedy in Charlottesville and the deeply disturbing reaction of
our President, an enveloping darkness has settled over our country, and this
seems to call for a very different sort of communication from me.

As social workers, we know first of all, that new meanings
may arise from crisis; moreover, while it may not be possible to avert trauma,
its most damaging sequelae may be mitigated by the right kind of intervention.
I believe that we are currently experiencing what could almost be described as
“a return of the repressed.” White supremacy, virulent race hatred, flagrant
antisemitism – while it is no doubt true that these destructive and
anti-American ideologies have always existed, they have suddenly emerged
full-blown from the shadows, simultaneously re-evoking terrifying images not
only from America’s past, but also those of Germany in the 1930s. This is truly
a defining moment in history, and how we respond, as social work students,
faculty and staff, carries great potential meaning.

I therefore offer you reassurance, reaffirmation, unwavering
commitment, hope, and resolve:

Reassurance that those ideas and principles that have guided
our social work mission from its earliest origins in the Charity Organization
Movement, to the rich tableau of social services that we now offer individuals,
families, neighborhoods, communities, and the broader society, are perhaps more
important now than ever before;

Reaffirmation of our commitment to social justice, and to
fighting oppression, racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism,
and all forms of ethnic, cultural, racial, LGBTQ, and religious intolerance and
hatred;

Unwavering commitment to the scientific traditions in our
field that have supported and enriched our capacity to alleviate human
suffering, build stronger communities, and transform the lives of those in our
society who are disadvantaged, oppressed, dispirited, or marginalized;

Hope that our teaching, research, and service will continue
to shape and advance the practice of social work as we prepare the next
generation of social work professionals for the great challenges they will face
in the troubled world outside our institution;

Resolve that we will vigorously oppose and vanquish the dark
forces that threaten to undermine or diminish our democratic ideals, our love
of freedom and equality, our commitment to social justice, and the abiding
liberal and progressive traditions that we as social workers have always
championed.

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West
Chester University

A Message from Chair Tina Chiarelli-Helminiak

 

Dear MSW students, alumni, colleagues, and fellow
activists,

I am compelled to respond to the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville,
VA this weekend. As an activist, I understand the risks taken when engaging
in public protests, but even when death is the price one pays for standing up for what one believes, I will remain steadfast and
not step back due to fear. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The ultimate
tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Therefore, I will not be silent.
I will honor the lives of Heather Heyer, VA State Police Lieutenant H Jay.
Cullen, and Trooper‐Pilot Berke M. M. Bates and I will use my voice to confront hate and bigotry.

The National Association of Social Workers’ (2008) Code of Ethics does not
give social workers the option to be silent. In the Preamble, our Code of
Ethics demands that we “strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty,
and other forms of social injustice.” We are mandated to respond to conditions
that allow others to be oppressed and marginalized regardless of our practice
setting or focus. The events in Charlottesville this past weekend compel us
to respond to and raise awareness of the ongoing racism, xenophobia, anti‐Semitism,
and other forms of hatred still prevalent and emboldened in the United States
of America today.

We must not be silent and should collectively raise our voices to let it
be known that social workers will continue to advocate for the end of racist
ideologies. During the Civil Rights Movement, activists faced fear of violence
in order to shift the paradigm. We must learn from history that we can overcome
hate and fear. Social workers must be part of the change.

I encourage you to reflect on a poem entitled, We Should be Furious, by Cali
Chacon (2017), recently published online in The New Social Worker. Chacon’s
words are so relevant today. As social workers, we should all be furious that
white supremacy is even remotely tolerated in this country.

I also encourage you to utilize the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (2015)
Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry. This resource provides examples
of responding to bigotry in a variety of scenarios as well as reflecting on
personal biases.

I ask you to stand together with me as a united front of social workers for
social justice. Show the world that hate has no place in our profession.

Not in silence, but in solidary.

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Widener
University Center for Social Work Education

A Message from Dean Beth I. Barol

Hello dear members of the Widener Center for Social Work Education
Community,

I feel compelled to reach out to you in the face of the
atrocious events occurring in our country, and the perceived permission for
intolerance, injustice, and violence. We, in the Center for Social Work
Education, will continue the intensified efforts we started a year ago,
partnering with our students to plan our agenda and honor the lived experience
of our diverse Widener Social Work family. Our focus is on providing training
and leadership toward transforming hatred; teaching and modeling positive
interventions; interpersonally, in our communities, and society at large.

We have already initiated a mandatory participation
requirement for all incoming MSW students, and voluntary attendance for BSW
students in two experiential events, prior to graduation, that are geared to
increasing our tool box as social workers to help address and overcome
injustice whenever it occurs.

Our first scheduled event is on October 30th. The
Philadelphia-based Theater of the Oppressed group will be facilitating the
training for students and faculty and as space allows, members of our social
work community.

We will be holding a second workshop in the spring.

We are also continuing to offer Continuing Education events
all year, open to everyone, a detailed list of offerings will follow.

It is more important than ever that we are prepared to deal
with the growing experience of vicarious traumatization, feelings of danger,
and helplessness, in our clients, our communities, and in ourselves as social
workers. With that in mind, in addition to our curricular focus on trauma, we
are also offering, for the first time, a post graduate certificate in trauma.

We need more than ever, to show mutual support and join
together to figure out micro to macro approaches and interventions to support
all of the people we are committed to as social workers. Our Transforming
Hatred Committee will continue its work. We invite anyone who is interested to
join us, or to share concerns and recommendations with me to take to the committee.
Our next meeting will be held on August 30th at 11 am. Please send me an email
if you plan to attend — so I can arrange for a large enough room if our
numbers burgeon.

Together, we can make a difference. I look forward towards
hearing from you.

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Wurzweiler
School of Social Work Yeshiva University

A Message from Dean Dorothy and David Schachne, Danielle
Wozniak

September 1, 2017

Dear Students,

The events this summer in Charlottesville tell us that our
work to repair of our broken world is crucial to the survival of our nation and
to the health of our citizenry. As a university and as a school we stand
together against hatred. But as social workers, we must do more than stand
against it—we must stand up to it and work together for change. My colleague,
Goutham Menon, Dean and Professor at Loyola University reminds us that, “Ours
is the only profession that can articulate ‘social justice’ as a verb.” This is
important because when we use social justice as a verb it connects our passion,
our values and our ethics to action.

My letter to you is a call to social justice; a call to
action. I encourage each of you to take decisive, declarative and constant
action as individuals, as students and as social workers to address
intolerance, bigotry, and divisiveness whether it is embedded subtly in
interpersonal interactions that must be called out, or entrenched in tightly
woven law and policy that must be changed. It is time to act. Whether that
means marching in protest, attending Campaign School in November at WSSW to
learn how to run for political office or whether it means intentional kindness
that refutes the divisions imposed on us, I ask you to make sure that every day
you act for what is morally and ethically right. In the face of deliberate
cruelty, hatred, and bigotry there are no sidelines. There is no moral
ambiguity.

This year, get involved with the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation
League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, NASW, the Association of Black Social
Workers, or the myriad religious groups that act against moral decay. If our
nation has lost its way, be assured that we as a profession have not. Now more
than ever we are called to be a beacon in a light-deprived world and to guide
others. On top of everything else you are asked, be a guide.

Take this quote by author, Margaret Weiss, with you on your
journey. “We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies.
That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability
to shape the destiny of the universe.”

This year, join me, your faculty and your fellow students in
shaping the destiny of the universe.

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