GSSW Statements

As social workers, scholars, and educators, we at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) watch unfolding news with both heartbreak and outrage.

To stay silent at this moment is not an option.

GSSW Statement: Gun Violence

Posted Thursday, May 26, 2022

It is all simply staggering—one tragedy after another. Gun violence is killing us—our children, our older adults, our neighbors, our fellow humans. Racism, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and lack of leadership fuel this violence. As much as we may feel speechless, numb, and hopeless in the face of so much hate and inaction, I hope we will dedicate ourselves to action as social workers.

One of the lessons of the pandemic is that we are psychologically and physically moored through our social relationships and connections. Please do not go about life as usual. Name and acknowledge this humanitarian crisis, moor yourself, and support one another.  

Please review our short list of resources related to gun violence and legislative action to inform possible action. 

female with stop war help ukraine sign

GSSW Statement: Ukraine

Posted Monday, February 28, 2022

We recognize that a dire humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Europe— Russia has invaded Ukraine, a sovereign country with a democratically elected government, which violates international law as well as the human rights of the Ukrainian people. 

Already, more than 500,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes and crossed borders into Poland, Hungary, and neighboring countries, often carrying small children, pets and only those possessions that can fit into backpacks. Others have taken shelter with their families in underground rail stations and basements; many have lost their lives.

This crisis is not unprecedented, but instead is consistent with ongoing assaults on human rights and democracy in the U.S. and around the world. Please follow these organizations working to support Ukrainian refugees:

person hands rainbow ribbon

GSSW Statement: Anti-Trans Policy

Posted Monday, February 28, 2022

Policymakers in the US have sought to codify hateful and life-threatening restrictions on access to gender-affirming education and health care in states like Texas and Florida.

We stand in solidarity with the trans- and gender-nonconforming members of our community and with all those who are targeted by Opinion No. KP-0401, released this week by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. The opinion defines gender-affirming care for minors as child abuse and requires licensed child-serving professionals to report youth who have had gender-affirming medical care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

We are strongly opposed to this attempt to redefine child abuse, as it is a violation of evidence-based standards of care defined by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. For social workers in Texas, this non-binding legal opinion is not consistent with the current practices and rules that guide reports and investigations of child maltreatment. Any effort to comply with this opinion would be in direct violation of the profession’s Code of Ethics, as explained in a recent statement by the National Association of Social Workers—TX.

Second, we are outraged by legislative efforts in Florida, Tennessee, and other states to outlaw education about sexual orientation and gender identity, to block access to gender-affirming care for minors, and to restrict and censor educators teaching about the history of race, racism and other forms of systemic oppression in the US. The NASW Code of Ethics calls upon us to engage in political action and “advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice” (NASW, 2021).

Many in our community are actively working to defeat these bills and we encourage our graduates and social workers across the country to speak out in opposition to these and similar bills under consideration in several states across the U.S. Any effort to restrict education about and access to gender-affirming care is not only in violation of accepted medical standards of care but is also a direct threat to the health and well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming young people.

May we be fueled by our values and our commitment to action in response to these egregious violations of human rights. 

Resources for transgender and gender-nonconforming young people and their families in the US and Texas:

Organizations working to support transgender and gender-nonconforming young people:

 DU Resources: