News Details

A message from the dean

Caster building of Penn's School of Social Policy & Practice

Authored by: Dean Sara S. Bachman

Student Life


This message was sent to SP2 students, faculty, and staff.

Dear Members of the SP2 Community,

Yesterday brought news of Liz Magill’s and Scott Bok’s decisions to resign from their University positions. Although this is a difficult time in the trajectory of the University, I am confident that we will weather this storm, and that this is especially true for SP2.

Antisemitism and all forms of hate, bias, and discrimination are not consistent with our values, and have no place at SP2. They negatively impact health, learning, and the work environment and will not be tolerated. As I have previously stated, we will continue our work to eradicate antisemitism. Of course, this is not all we will be doing since hate and oppression show up everywhere. In the coming weeks we will be moving forward with plans to provide education and safe spaces to discuss the many forms of hate and oppression that humans inflict on one another in addition to antisemitism: racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and, regretfully, on and on. There is no limit to the harm we can impose on one another unless we focus on empathy, kindness, respect, and a drive to do better in all our work.

In our constant effort to mitigate harm, our school embodies a steadfast commitment to advance social justice, equity, and inclusion and an unyielding drive to tackle society’s toughest challenges through scholarship, education, practice, research, and engagement. A central imperative for us to meet this goal is the fundamental need to think inclusively about our own identities and experiences, as well as those of the individuals, groups, and communities we serve. Given the diversity of our community and our work, we are constantly and necessarily interacting with people who are different from ourselves. Especially in this context, my expectation is that we will treat each other with kindness and respect. It is impossible to meet this expectation if some people are using hate speech or discriminating against one another. We must be aligned in our shared goal to stand up to and vigorously oppose the many ways that hate and oppression seep into our everyday activities.

At SP2, I am honored to lead a community that is dedicated to advancing social justice and human flourishing. We will be most effective if we can hold the difficulty and complexity of achieving this goal, consistently commit to promoting the well-being of all people, and are intentional in our desire to use our skills and knowledge to move forward with empathy, kindness, and respect. I am proudly confident that we will follow this path forward because I have seen, time and again, your commitment to our values in action.


Sally Bachman

Sara S. Bachman, Ph.D.


School of Social Policy & Practice

University of Pennsylvania