Month: November 2022

Dean’s Statement about Sexual Harassment

From the Office of Dean Heller

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to address several reports of sexual harassment by faculty and students who attended the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting (CSWE APM) 2022 last week. I want to thank those who came forward to share their experiences on social media, with CSWE, and with my office.

CSWE has stated that they are investigating and I will closely follow the outcome of their pledge to take action. Unfortunately, these kinds of behaviors have been more frequently occurring at professional conferences. Behaviors like this cannot be tolerated and must be dealt with swiftly. We firmly stand with the individuals who have had this distressing experience.

First and foremost, I would like to say that as the Dean of the School of Social Work, I unequivocally condemn any forms of sexual harassment toward students, faculty or staff. The fact that this offensive behavior took place off campus makes it no less serious or worth addressing. The safety and dignity of our students and faculty are paramount, and that safety should be ensured on our campus as well as at events where members of our community are engaged in work on behalf of the School.

I am especially troubled by the fact that students and junior faculty would have to endure unwelcome conduct at a point in their careers where they may not feel empowered to speak up or resist. Please know that the School of Social Work fully supports the reporting, anonymous or otherwise, of sexual harassment or violence by our students and faculty. Employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program for counseling or support.

As social workers, we stand firmly in defense of the dignity of all people. As a School, we also recognize that opposing sexual misconduct is part of our strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all members of our community.

In solidarity,

Nina Rovinelli Heller, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Zachs Chair in Social Work