AJCU Presidents’ Statement

The following statement was released in January 2013 by 25 presidents from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), including former USF President Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J.:

We, the undersigned presidents of Jesuit colleges and universities, support the following statements in regard to the presence of undocumented individuals as students within our institutions:

First, that Catholic Social Teaching is clear in its insistence that every human person deserves dignity and the opportunity to better one’s state in life. Catholic Social Teaching supports the solidarity of interdependence and interconnection within the human community that allows a human being to flourish intellectually, socially, and spiritually. We oppose public policies that separate human families living peaceably in our midst, especially those involving students and/or minors, and urge all citizens to recognize and support those inhabitants of our nation who seek to contribute more fully to civic life and the common good through education and personal development.

Second, we recognize that the history of Jesuit institutions of higher education in this country is inextricably linked to first- and second-generation immigrant populations. Our schools have in the past been unique places of opportunity for some of the most disenfranchised and marginalized members of American society. Our own 2010 AJCU mission and apostolate statement makes clear that we “prioritize the education of these often vulnerable and underserved students,” as does the same year’s vision statement of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, in which we, as member institutions, “stand in solidarity with migrants, regardless of their immigration status.” We pledge to continue to respect this tradition and to foster cura personalis, care for the entire person, as a hallmark of our institutions of learning.

Lastly, we continue to affirm that Jesuit colleges and universities are morally committed environments, where our students are inspired and encouraged to understand and address issues of justice, fairness, political involvement, and a preferential option for those whom society has marginalized. We recognize that in 2013, one group that fits this category are those living without authorization in the United States. We will continue to support our students – both documented citizens and not – as full members of our campus communities and of society at large, where their voices and personal narratives deserve to be acknowledged.

Download the AJCU Presidents’ Statement [PDF] to view the full list of signatories.