CSWE dismisses discrimination suit against University

by Sam Kean

The Council on Social Work Education officially dismissed a discrimination charge against the University’s School of Social Work last week, ensuring the school will face no penalties.

At a CSWE meeting June 30, professors of social work from around the country upheld CSWE director of accreditation Nancy Randolph’s recommendation to drop the complaints and pursue no further action against the school.

In 1998 the SSW admitted a disabled student but prevented her from obtaining an internship – a critical part of the SSW degree program. The school later reversed this decision and said it has been supportive in helping her since.

The student claims no such support existed and said the reversal does not excuse previous actions.

In April, Randolph and another CSWE official conducted interviews at the University to investigate the complaint. School visits to follow up on complaints are not common for the CSWE.

However, CSWE determined the SSW does meet all accreditation requirements: namely, the school has an internal policy against discrimination and ensures students and faculty are aware of the policy.

Accompanying this, Randolph said, is the assumption SSW practices that policy.

SSW director Jean Quam said the school had no additional comments, as SSW associate director James Reinardy made a statement when CSWE released its initial recommendation.

According to Reinardy’s statement, the CSWE letter “verifies that our policies are within accreditation standards … The School always cooperates fully with these procedures (to file grievances) and respects the rights of students to bring forth grievances.”

This supported SSW’s initial claim that it never discriminated against this, or any other, student.

The student who filed the grievance expressed disappointment at the initial recommendation because she said she had hoped her evidence was enough to spur CSWE to action. Currently, the student is working through other channels to resolve the dispute.


Sam Kean encourages comments at [email protected]