Crafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan

With the support of School leadership (as represented by the CSSW Council of Deans), and in coordination with faculty, students, staff, and alums, the School has undertaken a major initiative to create a comprehensive anti-racism action plan, with specific goals, action steps, and expected timelines and deliverables, to address concerns of School climate and equity. This work began in the 2015-2016 academic year, when students raised issues about the culture of the School and presented a list of demands to the then-Council of Deans. The demands group was very effective, and prompted the School to undertake many new initiatives in response to the demands list, including the establishment of the DEI Office, consistent offerings and trainings for faculty and staff, and the launch of the PROP (power, racism, oppression, and privilege) course (Decolonizing Social Work Practice) for all students. This work is not done; rather, this work is and must be ongoing. As a recent example, we engaged a highly regarded and experienced facilitator to coordinate related workshops and processing groups for our constituencies, whose work began in earnest in April 2021 and will carry forward through the fall. This website has been created to share information, promote transparency, document our commitments and our process, and gather feedback from all community members.

The anti-racism action plan presents many elements in a multi-pronged effort towards greater diversity, equity, and an inclusive climate. These elements include: the recruitment of outstanding scholars of race and racism to our faculty; lecture series focused on race and racism scholarship; expanded faculty, staff, and student support spaces, affinity groups, town halls, and training opportunities; improved work conditions for our adjunct faculty colleagues; increased financial aid for students in need; the Student Emergency Relief Fund for students facing urgent situations; the addition of three full scholarships to be awarded to graduates of the CUNY undergraduate colleges – some of our most effective feeder schools for diverse applicants; reductions in student debt over the past three years; the piloting of a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for recent graduates; and the continued expansion of the power, racism, oppression, and privilege (PROP) lens throughout our curriculum (including a first-ever PROP course for PhD students).

We look forward to the fruits of this collective, community effort and reporting back on progress over the coming year. Come back to this website often to see updates.