February 4, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.

Recent events on campus and beyond

Dear CSSW Community,

With news headlines consumed by the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus, there have been reports of xenophobic reactions against Chinese, Chinese-American, and other Asian communities at Columbia University and beyond. Late last week, a note was found in one of our own School’s restrooms that contained offensive anti-Chinese rhetoric. This may have been linked to a larger pattern of recent bias incidents occurring at Columbia.

I want to take this opportunity to reiterate that the School of Social Work vehemently condemns bigotry in all its forms. Immediately upon learning of the note’s existence, our administration examined the restroom where it had been found, as well as other restrooms and public spaces throughout the School. Though the note had already been removed and no others were discovered, our staff has been working with the Office of University Life and Columbia Public Safety to investigate the issue.

If you have any information regarding this or any other incidents of intolerance, please do not hesitate to contact the Dean’s Office (cssw-dean@columbia.edu) or Michael Lovaglio, Associate Dean of Enrollment & Student Services (ml3992@columbia.edu). I encourage all in our community to unite and stand with one another against such vile and divisive acts.

I also want to express our support and concern for those who may be directly affected by the coronavirus, and those who may be worried about loved ones being in danger or at risk. Our thoughts are with you.

Best regards,



Melissa D. Begg
Dean & Professor
Columbia School of Social Work