Statements from Jesuit College and University Presidents on Executive Order

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of President Donald Trump's recent Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," Jesuit colleges and universities have issued statements to their students, faculty, staff and local communities. The following quotes are from each statement (click on the school names to read the full versions):

Boston College: "This Order undermines a key strength of our higher education system, as it turns away talented faculty and students who seek to immigrate to the United States. For decades, colleges and universities in America have benefited from such individuals, and our nation has enjoyed the fruits of having the world’s greatest post-secondary education system. The Order is also contrary to American understandings of this nation’s role as a refuge and its place as a society that does not discriminate on the basis of religion or national origin."

College of the Holy Cross: "The College's Mission Statement asks: 'What are our obligations to one another? What is our special responsibility to the world's poor and powerless?' The events of this past week invite us to discern how each of us is called, individually and collectively, to live this mission and to 'make the best of [our] own talents, to work together, to be sensitive to one another, to serve others, and to seek justice within and beyond the Holy Cross community.'”

Creighton University: "The Society of Jesus has a particularly rich history of engaging foreign cultures and customs and, in particular, working with people who are suffering and displaced. We have served as educators to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and people of no religion, sharing our humanist pedagogy, practice of discernment, and actions for peace and justice for hundreds of years. It is that very Catholic, Jesuit mission that invites us to reach out in support of immigrants and refugees."

Fairfield University: "As a Jesuit Catholic institution, Fairfield takes pride in our commitment to social responsibility, for as we know, embracing diversity is a distinguishing hallmark of Jesuit education and we will continue, as we have for the past 75 years, our commitment to build a community of learners from a diversity of social, economic, racial, cultural, national and religious backgrounds. The express purpose of a Fairfield education is the development of global citizens, forming men and women who are at home in the world, able to engage in any cultural circumstance with an open mind and the capacity to empathize with the perspective of others."

Fordham University: "Though we do not know the ultimate outcome of the president’s order (nor subsequent orders and legislation), please be assured that Fordham University stands with the tens of thousands of refugees and would-be immigrants affected by these laws. We have a long history as a University of and for immigrants, in a city and a nation built by immigrants."

Georgetown University: "We have been international since the days of our founding. Georgetown is 228 years old—founded in 1789, eight months before the republic itself. In our first classes, a quarter of our students came from other countries. Our first course catalogues in the 1790s were in three languages. Our international character is integral to our identity as a University, to the free exchange of ideas, and to our ability to support all of our students, staff, and faculty in contributing to our global community. Our Catholic and Jesuit identity provides the foundation for our lives together. Guided by our mission, we have placed a special emphasis on interreligious dialogue and our openness to different faith traditions and cultures. This includes our efforts to support a diverse and vibrant Muslim community on campus."

Gonzaga University: "The history of America is the history of a nation created by people from many different nations and cultural backgrounds across time. Often these individuals fled war, famine, and religious persecution and came to the United States in search of a better life. I [President Dr. Thayne McCulloh] am reminded of the words of Emma Lazarus’ poem, New Colossus, etched upon a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty: 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'...Gonzaga University will support those among us who are vulnerable and who are experiencing fear and tremendous anxiety during this time: our Muslim students, immigrant families from Middle Eastern nations, and our undocumented DACA students among them."

John Carroll University: "I [President Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J.] write to assure you that we join others in the worldwide higher education community to support those affected by President Trump’s executive order suspending entry into the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. As a Jesuit Catholic University, we remain committed to an inclusive and diverse community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. As I shared previously in the Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students, we will take every action within the law to protect all members of our community, including Muslim students, faculty, and staff who are here on visas. Consonant with our Jesuit heritage, we will care for these, our students and colleagues."

Le Moyne College: "Our Jesuit heritage, with its core commitment to the service of faith through the promotion of social justice, directs that we work to protect all members of our human family. Le Moyne's Student Development division is leading a college-wide effort to work with students from the affected countries to ensure they are supported during this time. Many have asked what they can do in support. Some suggestions: Donate to or volunteer at local agencies such as Catholic Charities and Interfaith Works, which support the resettlement of refugees to Syracuse; donate to the ACLU; and attend campus lectures and programs coordinated by the Muslim Student Association, Multicultural Affairs, and faculty on topics of inclusion."

Loyola Marymount University: "Members of our LMU family are persons for and with others; affiliating them with terrorists violates their dignity, along with what has made and continues to make America great. In my November 18 message, I [President Dr. Timothy Law Snyder] reaffirmed that 'our mission and our commitment to the dignity of all persons are pillars on which we rely.' I join educators and citizens nationwide and oppose an order that limits our ability to fulfill LMU’s educational mission in a global context and endangers the freedom of movement for the students, faculty, and scholars who vitally enrich our diverse and inclusive academic community, while also separating many of them from beloved, supporting family members."

Loyola University Chicago: "The last few weeks have highlighted numerous fault lines in our nation as a consequence of a divisive presidential election. The recent actions and executive orders of the new presidential administration are unprecedented and have left many outraged, confused, and fearful of their safety and future. I [President Dr. Jo Ann Rooney] want to reinforce that we are a community made stronger because of our diversity. All are equally valued, regardless of faith tradition, national origin, or immigration status. Secure in our Jesuit, Catholic identity, we understand and appreciate Loyola University Chicago as a home for all faiths, and the best traditions of our faith call upon us to welcome every person as a reflection of God."

Loyola University Maryland: "The plight of refugees fleeing war-torn regions and extreme oppression is very real, and the images we see in the news and on social media are deeply troubling. This is, however, no time to feel helpless. 'Many of those affected by our world’s greatest problems of violence and intolerance have become refugees, tragically forced from their homes, and denied their land and their freedom,' Pope Francis tells us. 'These are the people who need your help, who are crying out for you to hear them, and who are supremely worthy of our every effort on behalf of justice, peace, and solidarity.' Embracing our Jesuit, Catholic mission, Loyola actively works to support refugees and new immigrants in the Baltimore area. Each year hundreds of faculty, staff, administrators, and students partner with local organizations to offer assistance to those members of our local community. We are steadfastly committed to assisting them, as we are committed to all those who are marginalized."

Loyola University New Orleans: "Although only a few in our community have been directly impacted, this order is something that affects us all to our core. Our values support the need for nation-states to protect their citizens from legitimate threats. However, not only is the turning away of refugees in direct conflict with our Catholic, Jesuit values, but it is also contrary to our American ideals and constitutional rights as a free country that welcomes immigrants and does not discriminate on the basis of religion or national origin. And so, as a community that believes in social justice, we offer up these prayers for our society."

Marquette University: "More than 135 years ago, Marquette University came to life in the middle of downtown Milwaukee with a mission – to provide accessible education for all, not some. At that time, Marquette served a booming German population that fled failed revolutions in Europe and came to America in search of democracy and human rights. Today, in 2017, we educate and serve students who come from 72 countries around the world. While the makeup of our university has changed over the past century, our Catholic, Jesuit mission remains our anchor. We are writing to you today to address the current moment in our United States history, particularly as it relates to proposed changes in our immigration policies. Our Catholic and Jesuit tradition calls us to speak out. We stand with our international students and any other student whose family is impacted by this evolving situation."

Regis University: "This action has left many scared, confused and fearful for their safety and future. I [President Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J.] write to remind you that Regis University values everyone no matter their origin. It is our diversity that makes us stronger. Our values make us a place where people from all backgrounds can come together. As a premier Jesuit institution, I want to make it clear that we support all our international students, faculty and staff. Without support, guidance, acceptance or discourse we don't live up to our Jesuit, Catholic morals and principles."

Rockhurst University: "The recent executive order issued by President Trump suspending entry to the United States by those from seven countries has left many people scared and confused. While border security is of great concern to our nation and an obligation of our government to its citizens, I [President Rev. Thomas Curran, S.J.] hope we also recall the words of Pope Francis to a recent gathering of Jesuit alumni: 'Remember that authentic hospitality is a profound gospel value that nurtures love and is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.'"

Saint Joseph's University: "Our core values are strong. Saint Joseph’s University has, and always will, stand for the dignity of all human beings. Therefore, actions or language that deny or demean the dignity of any human being are in direct conflict with our mission and do not represent our values. Further, our mission statement in regard to inclusion and diversity is unequivocal and our commitment to it is as unwavering as ever: Striving to be an inclusive and diverse community that cares for the whole person…It is our intention to continue, now and always, to educate, support, promote and celebrate all of our students, faculty and staff, regardless of their nationality, citizenship, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression."

Saint Louis University: "At the end of last week, the President of the United States signed an executive order suspending entry into the U.S. from the countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. Since then, federal courts have issued stays of that order, but there is significant confusion over what will happen moving forward. Despite this uproar, I [President Dr. Fred Pestello] want it to be abundantly clear that Saint Louis University supports our students, faculty, physicians, and staff from the affected countries and all who are immigrants, refugees, asylees or otherwise at risk; you are part of the SLU community. You are not alone. We stand with you. You make our University stronger."

Saint Peter's University: "We are a nation of immigrants. My father was an immigrant. I [President Dr. Eugene Cornacchia] am the grandson of immigrants. My mother-in-law was an immigrant. In my time teaching at Saint Peter's University I have taught students from a wide variety of faith traditions and nationalities. They have greatly enriched the classroom experience for everyone and have also contributed to a richer social and cultural environment on campus, and in our nation and world. I am a better teacher, administrator, father and grandfather – a better human being – because I have come to know people of many different backgrounds." [Statement e-mailed to University community]

Santa Clara University: "Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 as a Jesuit, Catholic institution serving new immigrants, many of whom had been shut out by other institutions of higher learning. This executive order lies in sharp contrast to our mission to care for the most marginalized among us, and to cultivate the cross-cultural understanding that is necessary to address the tremendous problems facing our divided world. The actions of the White House have caused fear and anxiety among many of our international students, and we are committed to caring for them so they may continue their studies and pursue their dreams."

Seattle University: "As a Jesuit Catholic institution, Seattle University is deeply committed to the dignity and equality of every individual, to the common good and to developing leaders for a just and humane world. We are a welcoming and inclusive community that is steadfast in our commitment to provide a safe learning environment and support every student in our campus community—regardless of background, religion, beliefs, identity, country of origin or immigration status. We find enrichment and strength in our diversity. The university strongly opposes the discriminatory and misguided executive order issued by the Trump administration on non-U.S. citizens from select countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). We stand in full solidarity with our international students as well as faculty and staff who may be affected."

Spring Hill College: "Spring Hill College is committed to protecting the rights and safety of all students, staff and faculty. One of my most important duties as president of Spring Hill College is to foster a campus community that embraces diversity, facilitates learning and an open exchange of ideas, respects privacy, and cultivates a safe environment free of discrimination. Together as a community, may we find strength in the words of Pope Francis to, “...remember that authentic hospitality is a profound gospel value that nurtures love...” Finally, we must all strive to eliminate the animosity and disdain for contrary viewpoints that currently divide our nation. We must approach our challenges with open minds and respect for the dignity and well-being of all. That is what this nation is about, and these are our values as a Jesuit, Catholic college."

University of Detroit Mercy: "...We reaffirm at this time our essential mission to educate, serve and welcome everyone within our distinctive community as a Catholic university sponsored by the Jesuits and Sisters of Mercy in Detroit for 140 and 75 years, respectively. Our students’ and employees’ varied backgrounds – ethnic, racial, religious, socio-economic, gender and nationalities – are our strength as an institution and a community."

University of San Francisco: "As an academic community dedicated to the Jesuit commitments to social justice; free expression of inquiry, opinion, and ideas; and global scholarship, the University of San Francisco believes that the developments over the last few days regarding immigration and the treatment of refugees are in direct contradiction to our values. When the worldwide assembly of Jesuits gathered in Rome last year for its 36th General Congregation, they wrote that 'in the face of attitudes hostile to displaced persons [including refugees and migrants] our faith invites the Society of Jesus to promote everywhere a more generous culture of hospitality.'”

University of Scranton: "The University of Scranton, a Jesuit and Catholic university, is united with Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Jesuit organizations nationally and worldwide in standing in solidarity with refugees, both here in Scranton and those continuing to flee violence. Welcoming neighbors from distant shores aligns with our American ideals and is a bedrock of our history in Northeastern Pennsylvania as well. The humanitarian needs are urgent and our compassion should abound to help men, women and children who have fled their homes in pursuit of safety."

Xavier University: "We joined our fellow Jesuit and Catholic universities over the weekend in standing up against several executive orders related to immigration issues. Today, I [President Rev. Michael Graham, S.J.] want to specifically address the order that temporarily bars entry into the U.S. for all refugees, as well as citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. It’s important that as a community of learning and of faith, we support each other during this time, specifically members of our own international community here at Xavier."

Additional statements on the Executive Order have been shared by our colleagues at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, AUSJAL (Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Latin America)California and Oregon Provinces of the Society of JesusCatholic Charities USAIgnatian Solidarity NetworkJesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service / USA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This page will continue to be updated over the next few days. Please contact Deanna Howes, AJCU's Director of Communications, with any questions: dhowes@ajcunet.edu