A Message from President Aceves

Dear Colleagues, 

On August 15, 2023 the Jesuit university in Nicaragua, the Universidad Centroamericana (known as UCA Nicaragua), was illegally seized and closed by the Nicaraguan government.

The seizure of UCA Nicaragua has been widely condemned by the AJCU, Jesuit university networks in Latin America and internationally, Jesuit provincials and the Superior General in Rome, the international press, US government representatives, and a wide range of academic leaders. I am grateful to Fr. Kevin Burke, S.J. Vice President for Mission, who agreed to participate in a multi-pronged strategy in partnership with Seattle University to raise awareness.  

I asked Fr. Burke to reflect on the repression in Nicaragua.

“When we look at our world these days we see burning skies and broken cities. The disastrous war in Ukraine. The complex sorrows of Israel and Palestine. The breakdown of civic discourse in our own nation, with signs of cultural decline, confusion, and despair all around us. It can be difficult to take in one more crisis. Nevertheless, I wish to call our attention to the terrible situation currently unfolding in Nicaragua, because it hits close to home in its impact on one of our sister institutions.

In August of this year, the Ortega-Murillo government of Nicaragua expelled the Jesuits from the Universidad Centroamericana Managua (UCA). They closed the University, seized properties and assets belonging to Jesuits, stripped faculty and staff members of their jobs, and froze the University’s records so that students can no longer access their transcripts. Many of the students have left their country to try to complete their studies at the UCA-San Salvador in El Salvador, or at the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, but they are stuck without resources or records of their prior studies.

Meanwhile, the national situation in Nicaragua grows increasingly critical. The actions of the Ortega-Murillo regime threaten basic rights such as religious freedom and freedom of expression, as well as economic and political stability in Nicaragua and the broader Central American region. The government has forced thousands of Nicaraguans into exile, with others leaving the country due to their inability to live a free, dignified life. Many have been threatened and attacked for their opposition to the current government. Many others have suffered from gripping poverty that led them to leave the country. Catholic leaders have been forced into exile and Bishop Rolando Alvarez has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for speaking out against the repression. Civic groups and individuals critical of the government have faced threats, censorship, and various forms of retaliation. Police forces have cracked down violently on protestors critical of the government, and hundreds have died as a result.

Regis President, Salvador Aceves, has joined the Presidents of Jesuit Universities in the United States, Canada, and Belize in signing a statement of solidarity with our colleagues at the UCA-Managua. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is seeking creative and effective ways to protest these gross injustices and to support the people of Nicaragua. Our Regis mission statement calls us “to build a more just and humane world,” and we do so as part of a larger family of institutions committed to education for justice. For this reason, we are proud to lend our voices to the cause of justice in Nicaragua and, together with our sister institutions in the AJCU, to support the faculty, staff, and students from the University of Central America in Managua in the #TodosSomosUCA campaign. You can learn more by going to Seattle Univeristy's website.

Many thanks, Fr. Burke. The Todos Somos UCA campaign expresses the reality that we are all members of one global Ignatian family and stand with one another in times of severe trial. Soon, you will hear more about our efforts to help the more than 2,400 students who are seeking to continue their academic studies.


Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D