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

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



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

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 (, 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

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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


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


“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”. (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 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: 

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 Americans 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 reminders 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 Confederate 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.

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:

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,, 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.


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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 (

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


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


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.


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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