Gerald J. Beyer’s Just Universities discusses ways that U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education have embodied or failed to embody Catholic social teaching (CST) in their campus policies and practices. Beyer argues that the corporatization of the university has infected U.S. higher education with hyper-individualistic models and practices that hinder the ability of Catholic institutions to create an environment imbued with bedrock values and principles of CST such as respect for human rights, solidarity, and justice. Beyer problematizes corporatized higher education and shows how it has adversely affected efforts at Catholic institutions to promote worker justice on campus, equitable admissions, financial aid, retention policies, diversity, and inclusion policies that treat people of color, women, and LGBTQ persons as full community members, promote just investment, and back stewardship of resources and the environment.
Just Universities represents a unique contribution to the discussion of mission and identity in Catholic higher education, which almost exclusively focuses on issues such as curriculum, philosophy of education, and religious rituals on campus while overlooking the obligation to promote justice and human dignity both beyond and within the institution’s walls. By both critiquing failures to embody Catholic social teaching on campuses, commending already existent promising practices, and proposing ways in which Catholic colleges can foster stronger commitment to CST, Just Universities illustrates how Catholic social teaching can undergird a just model of higher education in the age of the corporatized university.