Deepening Engagement with Diverse Perspectives is Fundamental to a Flourishing Democracy

Monday, January 30, 2017

By Lynn Pasquerella

The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ mission of making liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice is grounded in the conviction that a deepening engagement with diverse perspectives is fundamental to a flourishing democracy. Global learning and international collaboration stand at the center of a twenty-first century liberal education, in which students are prepared to address increasingly complex, unscripted challenges through knowledge creation reliant upon interaction with researchers, scholars, artists, public intellectuals, and community members from around the world.

An executive order signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017, restricting travel for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visitors from seven countries, has raised widespread concern from college administrators regarding the impact on both their institutional missions and on individual students, faculty members, and researchers on college and university campuses and beyond. AAC&U stands alongside its 1,400 members in reaffirming an abiding commitment to the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the well-being of our democratic culture and as the cornerstones of excellence in liberal education.

For a sampling of how campuses are taking action to advance these ideals, we invite you to visit our link to Resources for Campus Leaders Crafting Messages in Response to Issues of Racial and Social Justice. Higher education must play a leadership role in safeguarding the free exchange of ideas and providing models for fostering respectful dialogue across ideological differences. We look forward to continued collaboration in championing our shared objectives.

We invite member leaders to share their own statements by emailing Ross Berry at