Opinions, Op-Ed

The Closure of Universidad Centroamerica: A Call to Stand in Solidarity With UCA’s Students From 2023 Alpha Sigma Nu BC Chapter

Note: Vincent Sablich is writing on behalf of the members of Boston College’s Alpha Sigma Nu chapter.

Imagine putting in years of hard work toward an academic degree, just to have all that time and money go to waste. 

In August, the Jesuit Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua was forced to shut its doors after the Nicaraguan government labeled it a “center of terrorism,” as the university was a hub for protests against the regime of President Daniel Ortega. UCA’s closure left many students and educators displaced and in turmoil. 

As college students of a Jesuit institution, we must take a moment to think about this situation. The closure of Universidad Centroamericana is a stark reminder of the challenging political environment in which many universities around the world operate. In Nicaragua, political unrest and government crackdowns on dissent have taken a heavy toll on academic institutions, limiting academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. 

As students of Boston College, we must reflect. First, we should acknowledge the privilege of our own educational opportunities. Our academic freedom is cherished and protected. Closures like UCA’s can happen anywhere, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they do not. So we should take action. For example, consider contributing to student scholarships to support affected students, providing them with the resources needed to continue their studies at sister Jesuit universities in El Salvador and Guatemala. 

The closure of UCA is not an isolated incident. It is a reminder of the fragility of academic freedom and the importance of solidarity. As students of Jesuit education, we have the power to be agents of change, locally and globally. Let us use our privilege and education to stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff in Nicaragua and to work toward a world where academic freedom is valued and protected for all. 

Author’s Note: This is a shared commitment among Alpha Sigma Nu chapters at Jesuit colleges and universities to stand in solidarity with the students of the UCA. Alpha Sigma Nu (ΑΣΝ) is the honor society of Jesuit institutions of higher education. It recognizes those students who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty, and service. The only honor society permitted to bear the Jesuit name, ΑΣΝ encourages its members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development, deepened Ignatian spirituality, service to others, and commitment to the core principles of Jesuit education.

November 13, 2023