Join the campaign to raise funds for Jesuit university students from Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua whose campus was illegally seized and closed on August 15, 2023. All donations help UCA in Exile students continue their studies at sister Jesuit universities in El Salvador or Guatemala.
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is sponsoring this campaign from November 1 to December 31, 2023. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Nicaraguan context and the illegal seizure and closure of UCA Nicaragua please visit the SU Central America Initiative website.
On August 15, 2023 the Jesuit university in Nicaragua, the Universidad Centroamericana (known as UCA Nicaragua) was illegally seized and closed by the Nicaraguan government. Using fabricated charges of “terrorism”, this unprecedented action included the occupation of campus, the seizure of all financial assets, the renaming of the institution, the installation of government party leaders, the expulsion of the Jesuit campus community, the withholding of salary payments to faculty and staff, and the withholding of student scholarships and academic records.
The seizure is the latest expression of a repressive Nicaraguan government that over the past five years has closed an additional 27 universities in the country, expelled 5,000 non-governmental organizations, and violated human rights in many ways including imprisoning political opponents and representatives of the church including priests and a bishop. In that same five-year period, the government suppressed academic freedom at UCA Nicaragua by exiling selected academic leaders, exerting increasing economic pressure, and periodically surrounding or entering campus with military personnel.
The seizure of UCA Nicaragua has been widely condemned by the AJCU, Jesuit university networks in Latin America and internationally, Jesuit provincials and the Superior General in Rome, the international press, US government representatives, and a wide range of academic leaders.
The Central American Province of the Society of Jesus is coordinating the response to the crisis, as UCA Nicaragua is part of the province. The Jesuit universities in Latin America have expressed their welcome to what are now being referred to as “UCA in Exile” students, and currently more than 2,400 of these students are seeking to continue their academic studies at one of the two other Central American Province institutions, the UCA El Salvador and the Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala. Many have fled Nicaragua and seek to enroll in person, and a number of others seek to attend remotely from other countries including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and others.
It costs approximately $2,000 per semester for tuition, plus a an additional $2,000 per semester for room and board costs at either UCA El Salvador or Rafael Landivar. UCA in Exile students have lost all scholarships, and in many cases must now pay for room and board where they previously attended from home.
The Todos Somos UCA campaign expresses the reality that we are all members of one global Ignatian family, and that we stand with one another in times of severe trial. It is an effort to express solidarity both by raising funds for student needs, and by raising awareness of the reality of the repression in Nicaragua.
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is sponsoring this campaign from November 1 to December 31, 2023.
Special thanks to the Audiovisual Department of UCA El Salvador for creating this video.