A Simmons University professor recently received a racist flier in a faculty mailbox, according to a dean at the Boston school.
The troubling incident was detailed in an e-mail message that Dr. Stephanie Berzin, dean of Simmons’s College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice, addressed to the “Social Work Community” on Tuesday.
The note was obtained by the Globe. Berzin didn’t name the professor who was targeted.
“As some of you might know, an offensive and racist flyer was left in a faculty member’s mailbox last week in the School of Social Work mailboxes,” Berzin wrote. “No other flyers were found in any of the other mailboxes and Public Safety is doing an investigation.”
Berzin didn’t detail the contents of the bigoted message.
“It is critically important that we come together as a community at this time,” Berzin wrote, inviting recipients to attend a “community conversation” about the incident that was held on Wednesday. “I know this is deeply distressing news and might prompt a lot of thoughts and feelings. I encourage you to speak with faculty, social work leadership, the Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and Social Justice, Gary Bailey, or the campus counseling center.”
Berzin continued, “I’ll end by reminding us all that this incident goes against everything our School and Simmons stands for — and that we are working hard to respond, and to prevent these actions from occurring. Our goal is to build a strong, inclusive community and these actions will not be tolerated.”
Laura Wareck, a Simmons spokeswoman, released a statement Friday on the bigoted act from an assailant who so far remains anonymous.
“Simmons University’s Department of Public Safety is investigating a racist and offensive flyer that was found in a faculty member’s mailbox," Wareck said. "That investigation is currently ongoing. Simmons is committed to fostering a strong, inclusive community and we take this matter seriously. We have alerted the campus community, hosted a community meeting and will continue to offer support to our students and faculty impacted by this incident. We’ll also update the campus with additional information as we have it.”
Simmons is located in the Fenway section of Boston.
Its School of Social Work bills itself online as “distinguished in many ways — with nationally acclaimed faculty, a strong emphasis on clinical practice, and our ideal Boston location among world-renowned teaching hospitals and research facilities."
According to its site, the social work school’s “progressive, hands-on curriculum integrates education and practice with social justice values, multicultural perspectives and field work placements. Our students and alumnae/i share a devotion for empowering society’s most vulnerable members and protecting the health and well-being of their communities.”