Message to the Silberman Community…

Dear Silberman students, faculty, and staff,

As a community, we continue to process the tragic violence, and humanitarian crisis still unfolding in Israel and Palestine impacting millions of children, families, and individuals. We are also witnessing the intensification of Antisemitism and Islamophobia across the United States. We have an opportunity as the Silberman School of Social Work community to 1) create space for dialogue that helps us to think critically, 2) increase inclusivity, and 3) promote safe space for those within our school who would otherwise be marginalized. We see you and we hear you.


Social Work Core Values:

Over the past couple of weeks, among our school community, there have been reports of harassment, including bullying, bigotry and speech promoting violence on social media. Antisemitism and Islamophobia divides us as we strive to resolve conflicts without harmful rhetoric. Such language violates our core social work values and our profession’s Code of Ethics, which include 1) respect for the dignity and worth of every individual, 2) an ability to understand and appreciate the ways of life and the value system of others, and 3) the willingness to recognize, examine and change behavior when it interferes with work with clients/community members, instructors, fellow students, and other professionals. We can disagree, make informed critiques, and hold each other accountable regarding our core professional values without harm or threats. Students also sign an Agreement when they enter this program, committing to abide with ethical social work practice and professional behavior.

We want to foster an environment where divergent views are not only permissible but held and facilitated. We can engage in dialogue in respectful ways, hold complex and even conflicting views simultaneously, while always honoring each person’s humanity, including those most directly impacted. We support freedom of speech and expression, and those principles can thrive in an atmosphere that centers around respect and dignity for all human beings. There have been many examples of students, faculty, and staff creating this kind of approach and we greatly appreciate the care taken to generate this.


These are the expectations for public postings at Silberman:


Guidelines for Posting at Silberman SSW:

For student groups wishing to announce a meeting or event:

  • Students should send a template of the flyer to Student Services, and be sure to include the following information on the flyer:
    • “Silberman School of Social Work”
    • “All are welcome to attend”
  • The flyer will be reviewed and approved for posting


  • Students or Student groups who wish to post general announcements (events outside Silberman, city/national events) may do so
  • All flyers may only be posted in designated areas (bulletin boards outside classrooms, large bulletin boards in common areas on the 2nd and 3rd floor)



To ensure that our students and staff are supported, we are working to secure and provide resources. These supports will be tailored to respond to the expressed needs of our community:

  • Students requesting support should reach out to, noting “requesting support” on the subject line and indicating their Hunter email and phone number in the body of the email. Students will then be contacted via phone for a brief call so we can better understand and coordinate needed supports.
  • Faculty & Staff: We have held several forums for faculty and staff to share strategies, classroom management techniques, and discuss resources for students. Faculty and staff have also been directed for support to CUNY’s Employee Assistance Program at (800) 833–8707.

We approach this journey forward with humility. As administrators, faculty, staff, and students, we all have much to learn about how to show up to intergroup dialogues. We are listening and will continue to listen to you. In the coming days, we will identify additional approaches to increase our collective ability to navigate the systemic and interpersonal conflicts of our times. We want to create change and facilitate acceptance and want your help in doing so. We invite your input regarding what else may be helpful and look forward to cultivating a spirit of collaboration to reach our community ideals.


Mary M. Cavanaugh