NAICU Washington Update

Trump Administration to Issue Proposed Regulations on Freedom of Speech, Religious Liberty, and Educational Privacy

December 13, 2019

The Trump Administration recently announced that it plans to issue two new proposed regulations that would impact institutions of higher education. The first is designed to implement President Trump’s executive order addressing freedom of speech on college campuses, as well as to make several changes to rules affecting religious institutions. The second would amend current regulations governing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Freedom of Speech and Religious Liberty
In March, President Trump issued an executive order to ensure institutions of higher education that receive federal research or education grants promote freedom of speech. Under the order, private institutions of higher education that receive certain federal research and education grants must abide by their stated free speech policies, and specified federal agencies must ensure that such institutions promote free inquiry.
Although details are sparse, the Trump Administration has announced that it intends to issue proposed regulations to implement the president’s executive order on freedom of speech. While private institutions of higher education remain entitled to establish their own free speech policies, new regulations may increase federal pressure on institutions to ensure that these policies are being followed.
According to the announcement, the proposed rules will also include clarification of regulations governing the Title IX religious exemption and the eligibility of faith-based organizations to participate in the Department of Education’s programs.
Educational Privacy
The Trump Administration also announced its intention to issue proposed regulations amending FERPA, the federal law that protects the privacy of students’ educational records. According to the announcement, the proposed regulations will implement statutory changes and make amendments to the Department’s enforcement responsibilities.

MORE News from NAICU