Message from Dean Anderson

Dear Friends,
The past two weeks unfortunately have again bluntly presented us with the ugly specter of violence in America. The fact that much of this violence has been motivated by racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and political animosities adds another troubling dimension to what would be distressing in any event.

I join with my colleagues in the School of Social Work in being deeply disturbed by these events and their ramifications. I likewise am personally concerned with the escalating rhetoric that facilitates perceived acceptability to express oneself violently – provocative hate speech has no place in a civil society.

We want to reaffirm to all members of our School, our community, our alums, and the many other stakeholders that support us that we are committed to serving as a safe place for all people. Consistent with core social work values, we promote being a safe place of compassion for those who are victimized, a safe space for the constructive expression and discussion of diverse views, and a home for thinking about positive actions we as a community and society can take to move forward.

Social work is a profession built on values that include action and advocacy to improve our society. While we acknowledge the need to recognize and openly discuss tragic events, we likewise seek to do more to respond to root problems that underlie them. We therefore welcome ideas that our many partners and friends may have for engaging our communities in actions designed to prevent the ongoing violence in which our society is immersed. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to others in our School with suggestions in this respect. It is a critical time for all of us to bond together to support those most vulnerable to violence, and more generally to build healthier communities.

Steve Anderson
Dean, School of Social Work