National College and University Chaplaincy Organizations’ Statement in Response to Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Xenophobia – PRESS RELEASE
September 13, 2017 (Tacoma, Washington) – On behalf of the respective executive committees for the Association for College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA) and the National Association of College & University Chaplains (NACUC), we affirm in the strongest possible terms that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia have no place in educational communities that claim to value freedom and liberty. As an expression of inclusivity and respect, we call upon all institutions of higher education to confront the efforts of those who seek to fuel hate, and collectively affirm and protect the dignity and rights of all people.
As leaders from a diversity of religious and spiritual traditions and philosophical foundations, we are called upon to accompany over one million students who live and learn on our campuses across the country. These students encompass a multitude of worldviews and an assortment of hopes, dreams, and aspirations. As college and university chaplains, deans, and directors for religious and spiritual life, our mission is not only to support the wellbeing of our students and colleagues, but to promote a culture of pluralism, respect, and reconciliation that reaches far beyond our campuses and into the global community. The right to free speech and open inquiry is a critical aspect of our overall aims. At the same time, basic civil and equal rights should be a given for all who are in our country, including the liberty and freedom of residence and to pursue education and work while providing for self and family. We believe that, when the rights and even existence of some are threatened, we all suffer.
As we begin the 2017-2018 academic year, we expect that some will continue to test the boundaries of free speech and assembly. We support the First Amendment, even when free speech makes some uncomfortable, as the open exchange of diverse views helps to generate knowledge and wisdom. However, violence can and should be resisted, and we must confront those whose words and actions are contrary to our shared values of diversity, inclusion, dignity, and respect.
At this critical time in our national and global history, we call upon all institutions of higher education to challenge the exploits of those who strive to inspire hatred. In doing so, from the foundation of our diversity, may we unite to promote and defend the dignity and rights of all people.
About NACUC and ACURA
NACUC and ACURA are independent professional organizations which work to support religious and spiritual life on college and university campuses across the United States. For more information, please visit NACUC and ACURA.
Imam Adeel Zeb, President, National Association of College and University Chaplains
Reverend David Wright, Past President, Association for College and University Religious Affairs