The Biden administration is looking to rescind an important Trump-era rule.
They’re hoping to restrict religious student group activities.
Joe Biden is actively looking to remove religious liberty protections for students.
In 2019 then President Donald Trump signed an executive order which required public colleges to protect First Amendment rights or lose their federal funding.
“Under the guise of speech codes and safe spaces and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans,” Trump said when signing the order.
“Taxpayer dollars should not subsidize anti-First Amendment institutions,” Trump added.
The Department of Education (DOE) made an announcement that indicates that President Joe Biden is looking to end the policy, alleging the protections caused an “unduly burdensome role.”
“[T]he Department believes it is not necessary in order to protect the First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion given existing legal protections, it has caused confusion about schools’ nondiscrimination requirements, and it prescribed a novel and unduly burdensome role for the Department in investigating allegations regarding public institutions’ treatment of religious student organizations,” the announcement read. “We have not seen evidence that the regulation has provided meaningfully increased protection for religious student organizations beyond the robust First Amendment protections that already exist, much less that it has been necessary to ensure they are able to organize and operate on campus.”
Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Washington Post in 2020 that the rule protected religious students from being “forced to choose between their faith and their education.”
A national survey found that conservative college students at more than 200 American universities say that they feel the need to self-censor what they say.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression found that 63% of students fear speaking their minds could result in damaging their reputation, 42% of conservative students report that they “often” feel uncomfortable speaking freely, and 40% of students feel uncomfortable disagreeing with their professors.
“That so many students are self-silencing and silencing each other is an indictment of campus culture,” FIRE Senior Research Fellow Sean Stevens said in a news release. “How can students develop their distinct voices and ideas in college if they’re too afraid to engage with each other?”
The survey also found that the majority of students would oppose controversial conservative speakers speaking at their college, 59% to 73% of the students surveyed oppose allowing controversial conservative speakers on campus — depending on the topic. However, only 24% to 41% said they oppose specific controversial liberal speakers.
“More than three-in-five students (62%) said that students shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus was acceptable to some degree, down from 66% in 2021, and one-in-five (20%) said this about using violence to stop a campus speech, down from 23% in 2021,” the report reads.
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