The Department of Education indicated Tuesday that universities may once again be able to receive federal funding even if they censor or restrict religious groups on campus, the Daily Caller News Foundation reports.
In September 2021, the Department of Education said it would be reviewing a Trump-era rule that went into effect by executive order in 2020.
Titled, “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities,” the regulation was meant to protect students and religious campus groups from being “forced to choose between their faith and their education,” former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Washington Post in 2020.
Trump originally signed the order in March 2019.
Now, the Biden administration is apparently finished with its review and ready to ax the rule.
In an announcement, a department spokesman suggested that President Joe Biden’s administration is looking to end the policy, which was enacted in order to protect the rights of all religious groups on campus, calling it “burdensome” for the government and schools.
The Biden administration is preparing to repeal a Trump-era religious protection for university students.
The rule requires federal departments to ensure that colleges receiving federal grants "promote free inquiry" consistent with the First Amendment.https://t.co/XxKkmVXR1d
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) February 22, 2023
“[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 from Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education Nassar H. Paydar reads.
Paydar also claimed that more First Amendment protections on campus are not necessary, and the department has not seen a measurable increase in religious liberty on campus from this specific regulation.
“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,” he continued, “much less that it has been necessary to ensure they are able to organize and operate on campus.”
The public comment phase regarding the rule change opened on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and will remain open for another 30 days thereafter.
From now until then, Americans can submit public comments for or against the rule change.