October 4, 2018
Dear SSW Community members:
The current Supreme Court nomination hearing, and Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s testimony last week mark a profound moment in our country. These proceedings, occurring nearly a year since the social media launch of the decades-old, #MeToo movement, are a painful reminder of the extent of sexual assault and violence in our country.
We are grateful to be in a community of social workers, grounded by our social work values and mission: to serve those already harmed, to enact policies to protect those vulnerable to future harm and ultimately change the culture of sexual violence in our country, and to recognize that self and community care and communication are crucial as we work toward these goals for greater justice.
The hearings, testimony, and subsequent discussions in the news--including the victim blaming and survivor shaming expressed by many of our nation’s politicians and pundits--are difficult to hear and have certainly triggered and traumatized victims/survivors and their family/friends. (For instance, RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network], the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization that administers a sexual assault hotline, reported Blasey-Ford’s testimony as the busiest day in the hotline’s history, a 738% increase from its normal amount of daily calls.)
Please know there are many national and campus resources available should you seek additional support
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
You’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers can enter the ZIP code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.
Should you wish to speak with someone, in the UMSSW, please know that many faculty and staff at the school have experience in this area and will provide support and offer resources. Student Services Dean’s Dawn Shafer and Debbie Gioia (Room 2W14 410-706-7765) are also well-aware of available resources and ready to talk with you. We also write to highlight the services available on the UMB campus for our community members.
UMB Mental Health and Wellness
If you wish to report an incident of sexual misconduct related to your experience as a UMB student, please contact a member of the Title IX Compliance Team directly or you may file a report (anonymously if desired) through the UMB Ethics Point Hotline: Dial toll-free: 866-594-5220, or report online at
In case of emergency, please contact the local police at 911 or Campus Police at 711 (internal) or 410-706-3333 (external).
We recognize how difficult this time may be for many of you and hope you find support if you are feeling triggered or overwhelmed by any of this. Please continue to practice self-care and, if you notice that one of your peers/colleagues seems a little out of sorts, please check in with them. We hope that talking to each other, within our community and our allied organizations, can make a difference.
We at the University of Maryland School of Social Work stand with those all across our profession—and many others— to vehemently oppose sexual violence and harassment and for the just treatment of those who are involved.
Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, Dean
Megan Meyer, PhD, MSW, Senior Associate Dean
Jodi Frey, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor and Chair of the Faculty
Dawn Shafer, MSW, Interim Associate Dean of Student Services
Debbie Gioia, PhD, MSSW, Acting Assistant Dean for Student Affairs