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Dean Bowen's statement to our School of Social Work community about "Silent Sam"

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, Dean Gary Bowen sent the following statement to all School of Social Work faculty, staff and students, as well as to members of the School's advisory board:

Dear School of Social Work Community,

Dignity and worth of the person, the centrality of human relationships, and social justice: these core values from our Social Work Code of Ethics guide us in all that we do. Our community remains steadfast in our conviction that the artifact known as “Silent Sam” does not have a place on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. We also recognize that current state law provides few, if any, options for easy removal. The Chancellor and Trustees have put forth a proposal. The power to make choices about Silent Sam now rests with the UNC Board of Governors and the NC Historical Commission. 

As social workers, we believe that change and healing come through many avenues including fierce advocacy and nuanced dialogue. Each individual in our community must make their own choices about peaceful protest and other forms of speech. Yet, whatever happens to Silent Sam, this campus and our School of Social Work have work to do. We must all work to confront the legacies of pain, distrust, and continued inequity spawned by a past anchored in white supremacy, prejudice, and discrimination. 

As a School, we will begin immediately to collaborate with colleagues across campus to plan a series of events focused on racial reconciliation. Through learning and confronting our history, reflecting on our personal pasts, and listening to the experiences of others, we will forge new understanding, increase trust, and advance social work ideals. Further, we will increase equity in our School by providing more scholarship and institutional support to first generation graduate students and by continually improving our organizational culture to support faculty, staff, and students of color. 

In respect for all and with appreciation and gratitude for the strength of our social work community,

Gary

Gary L. Bowen, Ph.D., ACSW
Dean & Kenan Distinguished Professor

Date: 
12/05/2018