STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTS
ASSOCIATION OF JESUIT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (AJCU)
(Issued at the Annual Meeting of the Board of the AJCU, October 8, 2001
September 11, 2001 represents a defining moment for all of us. The tragic events of that day pose
many individual and institutional challenges, perhaps especially for educational institutions such as
the Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States.
Like so many others, we have lost members of our college and university families, including students,
faculty, alums, parents, and friends.
We in Jesuit higher education are challenged to draw upon our many distinctive strengths to educate
for critical reflection and holistic, compassionate responses to the new reality before us.
As faith communities, we have turned to God to console those who mourn and to strengthen us in our
conviction that evil and death are never the final answer. Each of our campuses has held liturgies and
ecumenical services to mourn the dead and missing, to comfort those who have lost loved ones, to
celebrate the heroes and heroines on this horrific day, and to reach out to God and one another for
support and meaning.
As ecumenical and diverse communities, we reject any form of stereotyping, especially that which
endangers and threatens our blameless Muslim brothers and sisters. We re-commit ourselves to the
importance of international understanding made possible by the valued presence of international
students, faculty and staff on our campuses. So too we re-commit ourselves to the inter-religious
dialogue which is such an important component of that understanding.
Ac colleges and universities do, we have extensively discussed, debated and tried to understand
something of what happened and why, and what we should do. Discussions have engaged differing
viewpoints in respectful dialogue, and will continue to do so.
As academic communities with a commitment to justice grounded in faith, we know that our
government must seek out those guilty of taking innocent lives, not for revenge and retaliation, but to
protect other innocent lives and the basic fabric of society itself. Just as important, we know that we
ourselves must work even harder against the global injustice that provides fertile ground for terrorism
As part of an international network, Jesuit campuses around the world have reached out to one
another with concern and support, as we realize more than ever the many ties that bind us, and indeed
all of our sister colleges and universities around the nation and globe.
A year ago, the Superior General of the Jesuits, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., challenged us to
educate persons of solidarity with the real world. Little did we know that September 11 would, in a
few short moments, bring us all into solidarity with the millions and millions throughout the world
who are vulnerable and powerless.
As we mourn those we have lost, comfort those who mourn, pray for wisdom for our leaders, and
confront our vulnerability, we are challenged to an even more expansive quest for the justice that will
help remove the desperation that is the lot of far too many men and women around the globe. As
never before, “if we want peace, we need to work for justice.”