Smith College removes the word 'field' from social work program, citing racist connotations

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Smith College, an elite university in Northampton, Massachusetts has announced that they are ending the use of the word “field” in the Smith College School of Social Work because of their commitment to anti-racism.

Fox News reports that the Smith College School of Social Work (SSW) made the announcement via email and said, “We are writing to let you know that, going forward, the Office of Field Education will be renamed the Office of Practicum Learning, in keeping with our values and our commitment to anti-racist work.”

“The college’s Toward Racial Justice Plan asks us to consider that Smith was not originally designed for the diverse students, staff and faculty that we have now, and calls us to reflect on our past and present to build a more just and inclusive future,” the email continued.

According to Mass Live, one student, Aina Endo, said, “I never really saw it that way before. Hearing about it now, I think the word has many different contexts and it’s the way that you use it that matters.”

The email said, “SSW’s Core Principles encourage us to center the lived and historical experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. We recognize that language is powerful and that phrases such as ‘going into the field’ or ‘field work’ may hold negative associations.”

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