Courageous Voices: Taking a Vocal Stand on Immigration Reform

College and university presidents occupy a unique position, able to use their status and visibility to call attention to critical issues. In 2013, more than 100 ACCU presidents signed a plea to Congress to exercise compassion and enact commonsense immigration reform. And in 2014, Marygrove College president David Fike appealed to President Obama to address the crisis of refugee children fleeing Central America, rallying over 50 ACCU presidents to sign a statement affirming their commitment to humanitarian support for the refugees.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Response to the Refugee Situation

The ACCU President and many presidents of ACCU member colleges and universities have signed a letter of support drawing attention to the child refugee crisis. This letter, The Plight of Child Refugees Tests the American Character: A Statement by Catholic Higher Education Leaders, highlights the urgency and the desperation of the situation of child refugees, drawing attention to our duty as a nation and as Catholics to care for the most vulnerable. Presidents of Catholic colleges and universities pledge to support child refugees, especially by raising awareness of the issue on campus.

ACCU and its member colleges were recently featured in an Inside Higher Ed article which drew attention to the letter of support.   Additionally, Catholic organizations have orchestrated humanitarian responses, created children’s services resources, and have created material to raise awareness about the refugee children and their situation.