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Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students

Contact: Deanna I. Howes, Director of Communications, AJCU | (202) 862-9893

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As Presidents of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities we feel spiritually and morally compelled to raise a collective voice confirming our values and commitments as Americans and educators. We represent colleges and universities from across our nation with more than 215,000 students and 21,000 faculty, and over 2 million living alumni.

Grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission, we are guided by our commitment to uphold the dignity of every person, to work for the common good of our nation, and to promote a living faith that works for justice. We see our work of teaching, scholarship and the formation of minds and spirits as a sacred trust.
That trust prompts us to labor for solidarity among all people, and especially with and for the poor and marginalized of our society. That trust calls us to embrace the entire human family, regardless of their immigration status (1) or religious allegiance. And experience has shown us that our communities are immeasurably enriched by the presence, intelligence, and committed contributions of undocumented students, as well as of faculty and staff of every color and from every faith tradition.

    Therefore, we will continue working:
•    To protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students on our campuses;
•    To promote retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA);
•    To support and stand with our students, faculty and staff regardless of their faith traditions;
•    To preserve the religious freedoms on which our nation was founded.

As we conclude this Year of Mercy, we make our own the aims enunciated by Pope Francis:
"Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved." (2)

We hope that this statement will inspire members of our University communities, as well as the larger national community, to promote efforts at welcome, dialogue, and reconciliation among all that share our land.  We welcome further conversation and commit ourselves to modeling the kind of discourse and debate that are at the heart of our nation’s ideals. And we promise to bring the best resources of our institutions – of intellect, reflection, and service – to bear in the task of fostering understanding in the United States at this particular time in our history.


Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.
College of the Holy Cross

Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.
Fairfield University

John J. DeGioia
Georgetown University

Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.
John Carroll University

Timothy Law Snyder
Loyola Marymount University

Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
Loyola University Maryland

Michael Lovell
Marquette University

Thomas Curran, S.J.
Rockhurst University

Fred P. Pestello
Saint Louis University

Michael E. Engh, S.J.
Santa Clara University

Christopher P. Puto
Spring Hill College

Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.
University of San Francisco

James Fleming, S.J.
Wheeling Jesuit University

Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

John J. Hurley
Canisius College

Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J.
Creighton University

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
Fordham University

Thayne M. McCulloh
Gonzaga University

Linda M. LeMura
Le Moyne College

Jo Ann Rooney
Loyola University Chicago

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J.
Loyola University New Orleans

John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J.
Regis University

Mark C. Reed
Saint Joseph's University

Eugene J. Cornacchia
Saint Peter's University

Stephen Sundborg, S.J.
Seattle University

Antoine M. Garibaldi
University of Detroit Mercy

Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
University of Scranton

Michael J. Graham, S.J.
Xavier University

(1) AJCU Presidents Statement in Support of Undocumented Individuals, January 2013 (
(2) Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for The World Day Of Migrants And Refugees (5 August 2014).


Teaching Together, Learning Together: The Encylical Comes to Life

In a new, team-taught course, THRS-3910-02 Earth Spirituality & Justice, students discuss Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ new encyclical, and its implications for our world today. To engage with scholarship and discussions beyond the classroom, students also attend the ICTC’s Catholic Heritage Lectures, tying the letter to questions of water access, indigenous peoples’ rights, cosmology, ecological sin, and globalism.

Co-taught by ICTC Director Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Psychology Professor and Chair of Catholic Studies Le Xuan Hy, Associate Drean of Academic Affairs in the School of Theology and Ministry Faustino Cruz, and Campus Ministry for Liturgy Bob Stephan, SJ, the course has become a place for students to weigh diverse perspectives and some of today’s most pressing concerns.

"The course inspired me to change not only the way I approach religious dialogue, but also renewed my sense of oneness between all humans and the earth. I now confidently approach environmental and political differences with an open heart, and have begun to create ways we can heal the planet by healing ourselves."
—Ashley Haynes-Gibson, Class of 2016, Psychology 
"This course has meant that I would have the ability to come together with a group of people diverse in age, area of study, and standpoint in life to speak of issues mentioned in the encyclical Laudato Si’, which not only addresses but affects every person in the planet. The opportunity to come together with such a diverse group […] has inspired me to seek this kind of dialogue with others so we may be more interconnected as the encyclical calls for." 
—Tiffany Leal 

"This course has inspired me to change my life in big ways, illustrating the tangible and concrete ways in which all things are profoundly connected, the ways individual small actions interact with the world, and the ways technology can interfere with that interaction. As a result, I've made a move to being more conscious of the ways that I use digital technology, with an aim of lessening my dependence upon it and perhaps inspiring others to desire the same."
—Fred Seymour, Class of 2018, Interdisciplinary Arts, Music Emphasis

Sr. Ilia Delio & Climate Change

Miss our Oct. 15 Catholic Heritage Lecture? Or want to learn more about Sr. Ilia Delio's perspectives on Laudato Si' and current conversations on ecological justice? Visit The Commons to read more.


Fr. Pat Howell's Reflection on Pope Francis' U.S. Visit

"Pope Francis Meets the American Catholic Church," by Fr. Pat Howell, S.J., ICTC Distinguished Professor in Residence, in America magazine, part of their issue dedicated to the visit.


Fr. Pat Kelly, S.J., Editor of New Book on Sport & Spirituality

In this innovative look at the issues and opportunities facing young athletes and families, Fr. Pat Kelly brings together diverse Catholic perspectives and invites us to consider the developmental and spiritual dimensions of sport. Check out The Commons to read more.



Earth, Spirituality & Justice: Student Reflection