News Archive
Vision and Voice for Catholic Higher Education      Learn More

ACCU Press Releases & Statements Archive


3/22/2019 ACCU Statement on the Value of Free Speech within Catholic Higher Education

First and foremost, a university is a community of scholars, where free speech contributes to the search for authentic knowledge. Within this community, Catholic campuses occupy a special place as platforms for uniting faith and reason. In 2018, Pope Francis affirmed this point of view when he told an audience, “Universities, by their very nature, are called to be workshops of dialogue and encounter in the service of truth, justice, and the defense of human dignity at every level. This is especially true of Catholic institutions.”

Embracing this calling, Catholic higher education strives to set an example of respectful, civil discourse. Our campuses bring together those with opposing viewpoints, while maintaining their responsibility to keep community members safe from physical harm. Open-minded exchanges that emphasize the moral and ethical dimensions of issues and allow space for witness to the faith have long had a place at Catholic colleges. It is through such dialogue that our institutions enable the personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth to which they are committed.



1/29/2019 ACCU Submits Comments on Title IX

Read the comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Education regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking on "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance."


12/4/2018 ACCU Announces Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM, as Its Next President

The association will welcome the former president of DePaul University as its next president in 2019. Read the press release.


11/16/2018 ACCU Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Higher Education

At its Annual Meeting in February 2019, the association will be honoring two individuals and one foundation that have advanced and supported Catholic colleges and universities for decades. Read the press release.


11/9/2018 Catholic College Presidents Sign Letter on Church Abuse Crisis

In light of developments over the last few months related to revelations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, 100 leaders in Catholic higher education have signed a letter authored by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, asking Pope Francis to take substantive action to address the crisis.  Read the full letter.


9/17/2018 ACCU Mourns the Passing of Former Executive Director

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities is saddened to hear of the passing of Alice Gallin, OSU. Sister Alice served as the Executive Director of ACCU from 1980 to 1992, and was a noted researcher and authority on Catholic higher education. Sr. Alice also won ACCU's Hesburgh Award in 1993. Her full obituary may be read online.


8/31/2018 ACCU Statement on Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church

Read the ACCU statement on recent events related to abuse in the Church.


7/16/2018 ACCU President Announces Retirement

Download the press release announcing the impending retirement of Michael Galligan-Stierle from the office of the ACCU presidency, or watch his video announcement below.



5/15/2018 ACCU Statement on the Violence in Nicaragua

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has followed with shock and dismay the reports of violence taking place in Nicaragua. After controversial reforms enacted by the Ortega government, it has been reported that a number of university students have led a movement for “more democracy, justice, and human rights.” But the initially peaceful demonstrations have grown increasingly more violent, with widespread accounts that the administration has responded with lethal force. One report stated that the majority of protester fatalities “have occurred among college students.”

The association joins with others of faith — both in Nicaragua and beyond — to call for a peaceful resolution to this situation. We commend the Nicaraguan government for assenting to the requests of the Nicaraguan Council of Bishops, which has requested an end to repression and the entrance of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to investigate protester deaths, and urge those goals be achieved quickly and before further bloodshed.

Catholic institutions of higher education are called to be places of truth, places that advance and protect human dignity, and places that serve the common good. Therefore, we pray that the country’s leaders may come together for the good of their people, to protect the poor and vulnerable and to build a society rooted in justice.


9/5/2017 ACCU Statement on the Rescinding of DACA
In the wake of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program today, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities calls upon the members of Congress to protect our vulnerable undocumented students.

We, along with 1,300 other Catholic educators, recently signed a letter to Chief of Staff General John Kelly regarding DACA. The letter urged, “It is a moral and policy failure when our government targets children and young adults who simply aspire to live the American dream. Breaking up families and communities undermines the best values of our nation.”

Those enrolled in the DACA program are here to study, to work, and to help build our country as they build their own futures. We express our profound hope that the DACA-enrolled students at our Catholic colleges and universities are able to continue their studies without interruption and that others in their situation will be welcomed to contribute their talents to our campuses.

Now is the time for our nation’s political leaders — particularly our Catholic politicians — to act morally, humanely, and in bipartisan fashion to protect the dreams of undocumented students and the promise of our country.


Other DACA Resources:


1/29/2017 ACCU Statement on Recent Executive Order by the President
Download the news release about this statement, which includes the names of ACCU member presidents who have signed to express their opposition to the Executive Order.

As the voice of Catholic higher education, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its strong opposition to the Executive Order signed by President Donald J. Trump concerning U.S. immigration policy. We stand in solidarity with other Catholic and higher education organizations that recognize the moral obligation of our country to assist migrants, particularly those who are fleeing any kind of persecution.

In referring to the order’s halt of refugee admissions, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, stated, "Pope Francis has said that “authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.” As ACCU gathers this weekend in Washington, DC to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue.


(Read Catholic Social Teaching on immigration...)

Read Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada issues statement opposing Executive Order...


1/23/2017   Association President Receives Highest Honor from Alma Mater

ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle received the 2017 Founders' Award from his alma mater, for "dedicating his life to the service of others as a teacher, campus minister, and in his current position" as head of the association.


11/30/2016  Catholic Higher Education Leaders Affirm Support of Undocumented Students 

Read the statement signed by more than 120 presidents of ACCU member colleges and universities.