It's another matter when the social work faculty at Smith College catch on. In this case, the Distressed Material is applying to do the Master's in Social Work.
“Why do you, as administrators, continue to offer differential outcomes to students of color, in spite of overwhelming data that demonstrates that many of our students, including white-identified students, cannot offer clients a social work intervention that is based upon competence, skills and ethics,” [professor Dennis] Miehls said in his letter. Miehls went so far as to call the admissions process “tainted” because of how willing it was to admit unprepared non-white students.A second letter to the administration, from the adjunct faculty (who are probably on the front line dealing with the Distressed Material -- in a graduate program? Downsizing is a false economy even among the Seven Sisters.) goes so far as to suggest that social work requires skill sets. "But beyond that, we must acknowledge that social work — like every other kind of work — is not for everyone, and we have to stop pretending that it can be."
Predictably, the social justice warriors are on the case.
Christopher Watkins, a protest leader, complained that a “disproportionate amount” of black and Hispanic students at the school have been placed under academic review, which seems to reflect the situation the letters complained about. The protesting students, though, believe their poorer performance reflects systemic racism in the school, rather than lower overall readiness.That "disproportionate amount" says everything the literate reader needs to know about college readiness. But after all the rhetoric, it's business as usual in social work.
On Wednesday, after this article was published, Marianne Yoshioka, dean of the social work school, released a statement that said in part, "The Smith College School for Social Work is one of the most selective social work programs in the country. Our standards are exceptionally high for those we admit, and we take pride in each of our highly intelligent, capable and compassionate students, particularly throughout the recent campus involvement they have encouraged. For the past year, prompted by these students, we as a community have been engaged in important, productive and collaborative work to continually evolve as an antiracism organization. Social work is not a profession that effectively operates within the status quo. We are clinical professionals specifically committed to social justice and systemic change. The determination brought by our students, the courage they have shown and the accountability they have demanded will challenge us to fulfill our commitment alongside the next generation of social workers."We have much to look forward to. The Daily Caller coverage leaves as undetermined the status of disciplinary action against those troublesome letter-writers.