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Message from the Dean of Students

(Sent October 15, 2020)

Dear Viking students,

The Dean of Students’ office has received several reports of bias and inappropriate behavior, and I am concerned. As we progress through the 2020 presidential election and continue to have national crises related to race and justice, the pandemic, the economy and other important topics, the tone has become very polarized and often negative. I want to remind you that as a college student, you have chosen to participate in higher learning. I suspect that you have been faced with others on campus that disagree with your viewpoint or perspectives, and although it may be uncomfortable, it is allowed and often part of the student experience on a college campus. However, there are many behaviors that are not allowed including personal and verbal attacks, name-calling, threats of physical abuse, vandalism, and retaliation. These behaviors will not be tolerated on our campus, on social media, or by any student, staff or faculty member. 

I hope you will consider the following as you voice your opinions: 

  • Think about your statements and posts before speaking or posting them:
    • Am I stating my opinion about a topic or am I attacking a person or group of people in a derogatory manner?
    • What is the goal of my statement or post?  If it is to persuade others to understand your viewpoint, consider presenting facts and information versus offering negative comments about individuals and their identity. Express your opinions and concerns in a way that is respectful to others.
    • Find positive ways of expressing your opinions or concerns, including voting.
    • Take the opportunity to listen and learn from other viewpoints.
    • Engage in self-care and step away from media if it is too negative or contentious.
  • Review the social media policy. If you violate the policy, your posts will be removed and you may be referred to community standards for misconduct.
  • Reporting concerns:
    • University police for immediate response to incidents of concern: 978.542.6111
    • Online reporting:
    • Residence Life
  • Review the university community standards and Code of Conduct
  • Be kind and patient: You are all college students, struggling through your educational journey. The goal is to gain knowledge about your area of study, and also to learn about yourself and others. Who do you want to be during this challenging time in our nation, in our communities and on our campus?

There are several programs and events that have been organized to provide a space for discussion as well as support:

  • Viking Viewpoint – Do you have an opinion that you want to share? Viking Viewpoint is designed to provide an opportunity for the Salem State community to discuss a wide range of topics and increase the awareness and understanding of the ideas of others. The program is not designed as a debate, but to listen to the perspectives of others.
  • Brave Spaces: Time and space set aside to discuss the impact of acts and events that cause distress with the hope of healing and a sense of community.
    • to be scheduled for dates on November 3, 4, 5 and beyond
  • NCBI: Finding Common Ground: From Conflict to Coalition Building

Resources available to all students:


Carla Panzella, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President, Dean of Students

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