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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

GSSW Resolve

Recent events have made it clear that many communities are facing new threats of marginalization, discrimination and violence. As we respond to a changing social and political landscape, the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) at the University of Denver is resolved to uphold its longstanding commitment to core social work values and principles of social justice for all humans, living beings and systems. We also resolve to uphold the values and principles outlined in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.

Professional principles. The preamble of the NASW Code of Ethics (2008) specifically calls upon social workers to "enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty." It further states that we "promote social justice and social change" and "strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice" through activities that include "community organizing, advocacy, [and] social and political action." We, as social workers, are called upon to be active as advocates for and with marginalized communities.

One of six ethical principles in the NASW Code of Ethics is "social workers challenge social injustice." This requires us to "promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity." Additionally, we are to "promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally" (NASW, 2008, Section 6.04[c]).


Commitment to inclusion. We welcome and value our nearly 700 students, faculty, staff and over 600 community partners locally, nationally and around the globe; we embrace the rich diversity of our extended GSSW community. We will continue our work with the individuals and groups disproportionately impacted by governmental policies and will also condemn and work to change policies that specifically discriminate against individuals based on race, ethnicity, class, disability, age, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion/spirituality, national origin, and/or immigration status. We are committed to advocating for policies that ensure the health and well-being of the environment upon which all rely.

We stand by our mission and Solidarity Statement—originally written in 2015 and included below—as well as our diversity pledge.

GSSW Solidarity Statement for Diversity and Justice

The GSSW community values inclusion and stands in solidarity with immigrants, religious groups, people of color, indigenous communities, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual violence, members of the LGBTQ community, and all other communities whose civil rights have been threatened and/or violated. These communities have long resisted ongoing racism, bias and other intersecting forms of oppression. 

Oppression and marginalization can take many forms, from micro-aggressive comments to overt hate speech, from unjust distribution of resources to restrictions on international trade, and from aggression towards individuals to systemic barriers restricting services and access for communities.

As a school dedicated to the development of future social workers who will embody and represent the values and ethics of social justice, we commit ourselves to understanding our place in the larger context of institutional injustice and to "bending the arc" of history towards a more just world.

As part of our responsibility to confront and dismantle institutional and systemic oppression, we pledge to:

  1. Commit to direct conversations that honor historical and ongoing experiences and identify and enact just and responsive social work practices;
  2. Collaborate with and participate in community-led, mutually beneficial, non-exploitative relationships in our research and practice and to participate in non-violent actions that spur critical dialogue and embody anti-oppressive social work practice;
  3. Advocate for inclusive and transformative social, environmental and political change.

As an institution committed to the public good, we dedicate ourselves to developing a culture of critical consciousness that promotes anti-discriminatory programs and policies through our educational and scholarship efforts. We will continually address the intersectional nature of power, privilege and oppression in our interactions with clients, students, communities and each other.

This statement aligns with the GSSW diversity pledge originally written in 2006.

Updated February 2017