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!
Director and Professor