U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers on the promise to protect free inquiry and religious freedom final rule announces that respects fundamental rights guaranteed by the First Amendment 9 September, 2020 Contact: Press Office, (202) 401 -1576, press @ ed .gov
  • WASHINGTON - Today, secretary of Betsy DeVos education delivered on their promise to protect free inquiry and religious freedom on campus by posting free inquiry improving transparency and accountability in final rule colleges and universities. The new standard will ensure that public institutions of higher education the fundamental rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution are respected US and private higher education institutions adhere to their own policies on freedom of expression, including academic freedom. The final rule also ensures equal treatment and constitutional rights organizations religious students in public institutions and provides clarity to faith-based institutions regarding Title IX.

    "This administration is committed to protecting the rights of the First Amendment of students, teachers and institutions based on faith. Students should not be forced to choose between their faith and their education, and a controlled institution by a religious organization should not have to sacrifice their religious beliefs to participate in grants and programs of the Department, "said DeVos secretary." These regulations have the responsible public institutions for the protection of the rights of the First Amendment students and student organizations, and require private colleges and universities that promise their students and teachers free speech, free inquiry, and diversity of thought to live up to those ideals. "

    final rule of the Department was created after reviewing more than 17,000 comments from the public. four areas critical addresses:

  • First, to implement Executive Order 13864, Improving Free Inquiry, transparency and accountability in universities, colleges and universities public must comply with the First Amendment as a prerequisite for receive grants from the Department. Private higher education institutions must meet established their own institutional policies on freedom of expression, including academic freedom, as a requirement of the Department grants. Because the body well developed in the jurisprudence of the state and federal courts on the rights of the First Amendment and violations of corporate policies established, the Department will be based on a final judgment, not predetermined by a state or federal court to determine whether a public or private institution has violated these material conditions of the grant.
  • Second, the rule clarifies how an institution can demonstrate that it is controlled by a religious organization for the purpose of Title IX. Federal law states that Title IX "shall not apply" to the educational institutions that are "controlled by a religious organization," to the extent that the application of Title IX would be inconsistent with the religious tenets of the organization. Neither the Title IX and its implementing regulations never defined what a school is "controlled by a religious organization." The final rule includes a non-exhaustive list of some of the more common list specific factors that an institution can rely on to show that he is "controlled by a religious organization" for the purposes of Title IX.
  • Third, the rule ensures equal treatment of religious organizations of students in public colleges and universities. As a requirement of the Department grants, public universities should not deny a group of religious students any rights, benefits or privileges enjoyed by other groups of students. For example, a group of religious students should have the same rights as other groups of students in the public institution to receive official recognition, to use the facilities of the institution and to receive the fund student rights. Equal treatment of religious groups of students is now a material condition of grants from the Department.
  • Fourth, regulations revised rule governing certain programs discretionary grants Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1964, as amended, to better align with the First Amendment and other federal laws. Current regulations may prohibit the use of a school of such a concession, even for secular activities or services such as teaching a course on religions of the world. The rule adapts more closely the prohibition of the use of these aids to religious instruction, religious worship or proselytizing. The standard also defines more strictly a "school or department of divinity" to clarify that institutions are not prohibited from using grants for a secular religion department.

    A fact sheet on the final rule is available here. The final rule will become effective 60 days after the date of official publication in the Federal Register.

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