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Dean's Statement on the Attack in Jersey City

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Dear GSS Community,

New York City is a wonderful place at any time of year. During the Christmas and Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) holiday season the City takes on a very special kind of glow. As we prepare for celebrations it was horrifying this past week, to witness the anti-Semitic attack perpetrated against our closest neighbors across the Hudson in Jersey City, NJ. The violent hateful crime left four innocent victims dead including three customers in a kosher supermarket and a law enforcement officer.

In my tenure as Dean, I have had to send far too many similar messages denouncing the increasing gun violence across our country, fueled by hate and intolerance. I know the social work community stands in solidarity with me against these acts of violence that violate our most deeply held values and beliefs. As difficult as the past year has been, we must not let those who work to foster intolerance win in our fight for an inclusive society. A society that embraces differences and in which every individual or group feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate.

I am grateful every day for the support and sense of community here at Fordham and at GSS. I ask all of you to join me in spreading this sense of support and community to every member of our extended community but especially those who are most vulnerable. I send a special message of support to any members of the GSS community who have personally felt the impact of this most recent attack so close to home. To our GSS students who may be in need of assistance, I encourage you to reach out to Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

Throughout the holiday season and far beyond, my faith is sustained knowing that everyday strong and committed social workers are working to combat ignorance and intolerance. For all of us, I pray for a year ahead that brings with it a sense of renewal and the kind of changes that reflect our most cherished values.


Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D.
Fordham University
Graduate School of Social Service