Letter: UNC’s racism includes School of Social Work


With the nation now focused on calls for the removal of confederate monuments including Silent Sam, it is critical for us to consider more pervasive forms of racism affecting our country and, more specifically, affecting our campus. Although we tout ourselves as a liberal bastion, potentially free of racial bias and discrimination, we are not. Racism is present here, including in UNC’s School of Social Work. For the fifth year in a row, UNC’s School of Social Work Doctoral Program has not admitted a Black student. How do I know? I am one of two Black students remaining in the program. Yes, two. And we are both doctoral candidates who will graduate this academic year. In addition to a lack of representation among the doctoral student body, racism by omission is also evident among doctoral faculty and course curricula. First, our program lacks a recruitment strategy to attract racially and culturally diverse students although our MSW program has one. Second, we only have two faculty members who teach in the doctoral program; however, only one taught in the program before this upcoming semester. Third, although we are guided by a code of ethics that promotes social justice, our doctoral program does not have a social justice component within its course curricula. Our understanding of race is simply limited to how to code racial groups for quantitative data analysis. Despite trying to work with administration to change these trends, nothing has changed. This fight now needs to be made public. 

Charity Watkins

Doctoral Candidate

Social Work

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