The Biden Administration Is Abandoning Religious College Students

March 30, 2023 | Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty
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Last week, the Department of Education announced its intention to a repeal a 2020 rule formulated to safeguard campus religious groups. The Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty explains its objections to this move:

As currently written, [the rules] expressly protect the right of religious student groups to reserve their leadership positions for individuals who share the groups’ religious beliefs and practices. The department’s proposed rule would completely remove that protection. This would leave religious minorities, especially those that might be unpopular, to the whims of campus majorities.

In an attempt to soften the blow . . . the notice of proposed rulemaking claims that “rescinding these regulations would not affect” schools’ obligations to “comply with First Amendment guarantees.” We find that language highly ambiguous. . . .

A plain reading of the notice of proposed rulemaking forces us to believe that the department intends to deprive religious students of vital protections. . . . Contrary to the proposed rule’s assurances, current First Amendment jurisprudence is not an adequate substitute for the existing regulations’ protection. Existing Supreme Court precedent is ambiguous and has led to confusion that leaves religious students vulnerable. Currently, this department’s regulations are the clearest and most dependable protection for such students. In fact, the notice of proposed rulemaking surprisingly cites the uncertainty of judicial remedies as one of the reasons why the department is revoking the regulations.

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