Course Catalog 2023-2024

800 SSW Campus Life and Responsibilities

800.1 Social Events Accessibility Policy

Smith College Social Events Accessibility Policy

800.2 Using Social Media in Professional & Educational Endeavors

Social media offers quick and effective ways to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues. It is vibrant and immediate. It also offers many ways to make new connections and has been widely used to promote political advocacy and social justice. Social media can be a valuable part of professional and personal activities, but must be used thoughtfully and in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics (2008), within the confines of agency policies, the policies of the Smith College School for Social Work, and all local, state and federal laws.

When used in relation to one's professional activities, social media deserves some careful consideration. There are legal risks, ethical risks and pragmatic risks along with social media's many merits. Be mindful that once information is posted on social media it may be impossible to delete. The technology for capturing online information is already well developed. You may not be able to retract or correct any information you post - forever. Recent newspaper reports indicate that employers are increasingly checking job applicants' social media sites and using the data they find for formal and informal decision-making. Both your personal and professional information may be checked by employers and others.

First, discussion or disclosure of client information without documented client consent is prohibited by law and institutional policies. Federal HIPPA regulations, state licensure and practice laws and agency policies all prohibit disclosure of client information to others not directly charged with the client's care. Professional advice should never be offered outside an agency or practice setting. Social workers should always practice in their areas of competence in defined relationships to clients (NASW Code of Ethics, Section 104).

Second, social work professional ethics also prohibit discussion of client information outside of direct work activities. It is inappropriate to refer to clients, client situations, supervisors or field agencies on social media regardless of efforts to restrict or limit access to the information. The NASW Code of Ethics, Section 1.07 (i) states that "Social workers should not discuss confidential information in any setting unless privacy can be ensured. Social workers should not discuss confidential information in public or semipublic areas such as hallways, waiting rooms, elevators, and restaurants." Social media are effectively public or semipublic locations. The Code also states that "(k) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients when responding to requests from members of the media." Even restricted access social media sites may be viewed as media outlets. If you are speaking for an agency or group, (and only ever with explicit written permission and direction from that group) you should use their name to be transparent to other users. Only use your institutional affiliation when you are making professional postings, never for personal ones.

Third, the NASW Code of Ethics, Section 2.01 states that: "(a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues, and (b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals”. Postings on social media about other professionals and about professional matters should be respectful, fair, accurate, and without undue criticism, including field agencies and their personnel. Your colleagues deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as social worker treat our clients. Hasty social media postings may violate these standards, make the evidence of such an infraction widely known, and may be difficult or impossible to undo.

Agencies and institutions have the authority to ask social media organizations to refuse, or to terminate, social media groups that use their institutional names. The reputation and social 'face' of an institution may be enhanced or undermined by social media sites, and thus these institutions have rights to limit how their names and images are used. Many names and images are copyrighted or trademarked.

Finally, any academic process or information that is considered confidential should not be shared publicly on social media. This includes, but is not limited to, academic review proceedings or information about other student’s academic performance.

Failing to use professional judgment when using social media may harm you, colleagues and clients. Professional conduct on social media deserves appropriate care. Failing to meet the policies of Smith School for Social Work, laws, agency policies, NASW Code of Ethics and can lead to consultation, review and potentially dismissal from the program. It may also lead to external actions through professional sanction or legal suit. Use social media wisely and with care when it has any link to your professional activities.

800.3 Religious Accommodation (formerly Pref.)

Students in an educational institution who, because of their religious beliefs, are unable to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which they may have missed because of that absence, provided that the make-up examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the school. No fee of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to students this opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students availing themselves of the provision of this section.

800.4 Smith College School for Social Work Policy on Alcohol

No alcohol shall be allowed in the classroom.

800.5 Communications from the School

Important information will be communicated to you via their Smith email account. It is the student's responsibility to check this account on a regular basis; students will be held accountable for this information. Please note that the school will use this account exclusively; no personal email accounts will be used. Students should be sure to monitor this account regularly.

800.6 CSWE Curriculum Policy Statement

Council on Social Work Education: Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

800.7 Housing

800.7.1 Community Living and Responsibility

Residential life at Smith is considered an important part of community life. Smith is committed to a co-curricular environment that enhances and enriches the academic program: residential living is an integral part of that education. At its best, residential living fosters a sense of community and encourages a wide range of ideas. Each house guest is challenged to balance the freedom of an individual with their own self-direction and respect for the rights of others. These expectations are not always reached however, as interpersonal tensions, value conflicts and discomfort caused by close community living are not unusual. Learning to respond, to take responsibility for oneself and to overcome adversity are important elements of personal growth and of the Smith education. Every member of the Smith community is entitled to be treated with respect. Behaviors that show disrespect for individuals or groups will not be tolerated. The ability to deal with complex issues and to resolve conflict will serve each member of our residential community well at Smith and in the wider world.

Residential community members (residents) are responsible for meeting all deadlines and reading all published information, which includes but is not limited to: email messages, the housing contract, eDigest and other posted notices. 

The college reserves the right to move a guest from one house to another, to remove them from campus housing or even to dismiss them from the college if it is found that they cannot function as a cooperative member of their house or of the college community.

Residents members who do not accept the responsibilities of community living may be referred to a variety of college proceedings. Referral may be made to local law-enforcement agencies, Campus Safety, the Office of Equity and Inclusion or the dean of the SSW  depending on the nature of the behavior. 

800.7.2 Housing Policies

All requests for housing must be made by the published housing request deadline. Housing may not be guaranteed for those who request housing after the deadline. 

Housing is only extended to enrolled students or to those who are teaching on campus. All information about house opening, closing and key pick-up will be made available in the communication that confirms housing assignments and is also available on the SSW website. Residents who are delayed in vacating their room by the assigned date will be charged a fee.

The college reserves the right to enter any room at any time deemed necessary, whether or not the resident residing in the room is available. The purposes for entry include inspection for compliance with college policies including health and fire regulations, inspection and inventory of college property, maintenance of security and necessary building maintenance. Every reasonable effort will be made to respect the privacy of the occupant(s). Persons other than designated college officials should under no circumstances enter a resident’s room without permission.

800.7.3 House Rules

Each resident is responsible for appropriate use of the living rooms, study areas and recreational rooms in the house. Viewing of or participation in the production of pornographic materials, or in hosting a stripper, in public areas of the house is strictly forbidden. Common area spaces may not be used for personal storage or overnight guest lodging. Twenty-four-hour courtesy hours are always in effect in all houses. Courtesy hours are defined as noise being heard no further than two doors away from a resident’s room whose door is closed. Each house will have a minimum of 8 quiet hours a night. Quiet Hours cannot start later than 11pm on weekdays and 1am on weekends (Friday and Saturday). Quiet Hours are defined as noise that can be heard outside of a resident’s room when the door is closed. Quiet hours in each house will be voted upon by the house at the beginning of each semester. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action.

Posters, notes, signs, table tents and other flyers posted in houses are to be signed by the individual person or organizational group posting them. These items will be removed if unsigned. House meetings are mandatory for all residents.

Residents of a house must abide by college regulations and house regulations established in accordance with college policy.  

In any group living situation, there may be times when individuals infringe on the rights of others. (Excessive noise and inappropriate guests are examples of this.) Residents are responsible for communicating any concerns directly to the other individuals involved in a constructive and reasonable way.

Sometimes a resident may be uneasy about how to approach a particular person or deal with a specific situation. The House Resident, the Housing Coordinator or the Associate Dean for Student Services are all available to assist if necessary.

If a resident's initial attempt does not resolve the problem, or if any individual or group is repeatedly disrespectful of the rights of others or fails to abide by the college's expectations or the regulations established by the house, the following may be used to deal with the situation:

  1. The House Resident may speak to the individual or group involved.

  2. The Associate Dean for Student Services can reach out to the Sotomayor Fellows to help mediate the issue

  3. If the conflict continues, the Housing Coordinator, the House Resident and/or the resident may consult with the Associate Dean for Student Services for additional assistance or intervention.

Residents should make themselves knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities within the dorm/house. If a resident feels that the house community is not functioning effectively or responsive to their concerns, they should consult with the House Resident or the Housing Coordinator for assistance.

Physical altercations or assaults by residents or guests will not be tolerated. Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.

Theft of personal or college property is illegal. Persons in violation of this policy will be subject to campus disciplinary action and/or Massachusetts state law.

800.7.4  House Security

The safety and security of residents and their houses are matters of serious concern, and all residents share the responsibility for house security. Exterior house doors are always kept locked and should not be held open by props or wedges. Visitors are expected to call the person they want to see and be escorted at all times they are in or around the building.

Abuse of house regulations resulting in behavior that causes hazard, injury or inconvenience to members of the community or to the college is subject to disciplinary action. These matters may be referred to the Deans’ Office for resolution.  

Residents must not violate provisions of a Massachusetts buildings code or state fire and health regulations. Residents are not permitted on the roofs, ledges or balconies above the first floor of buildings. Fire escapes should be used only for emergency exits. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action.