(Natural News) A final rule was just announced by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that, effective immediately, prohibits colleges and universities that trample on students’ First Amendment rights from receiving federal grant money.
Known as “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities,” the rule aims to protect the free speech rights of marginalized students, including those who are religious or conservative, which continue to be under attack by rabid far-leftists who only want their points of view to prevail.
“Students should not be forced to choose between their faith and their education, and an institution controlled by a religious organization should not have to sacrifice its religious beliefs to participate in Department grants and programs,” DeVos indicated in a statement.
“These regulations hold public institutions accountable for protecting the First Amendment rights of students and student organizations, and they require private colleges and universities that promise their students and faculty free expression, free inquiry, and diversity of thought to live up to those ideals.”
In addition to protecting individual students’ free speech rights while on campus, DeVos’ final rule also aims to protect student religious groups from discrimination. The Department of Education will rely on state and local court decisions in deciding whether or not institutions are in compliance.
According to DeVos, the methodology behind how the rule will be enforced is based on “the well-developed body of case law by state and federal courts on First Amendment rights and violations of stated institutional policies.”
In order to receive grants, in other words, colleges and universities under the public umbrella “must not deny to a religious student group any of the rights, benefits, or privileges that other student groups enjoy.” These include receiving student fee funds, acquiring university recognition, and having the ability to use campus facilities for gatherings.
How will American institutions of higher learning fare in this new open environment where contrary viewpoints must be tolerated?
Up until this point, American colleges and universities have, for the most part, been bastions of far-left dogma – and only far-left dogma. Conservativism, Christianity and other points of view have been disparaged, discouraged and even prohibited, fomenting an environment where only left-wing thinking is allowed on campus.
This is all changing under DeVos, however, as her new ruling encourages students to think outside the box of liberalism. After all, this is what institutions of higher learning claim to be about: the exploration of “new ideas, perspectives, and worldviews,” to quote Gary Cantwell of The Navigators, a Christian college campus ministry.
“With this guidance, the Department of Education provides for a diversity of thought and spiritual expression on campus that will help students as they prepare for an increasingly complex world,” he is further quoted as saying.
You can be sure that this new rule will spark massive outrage among on-campus leftists who will no longer have a monopoly on the free exchange of ideas. They will almost certainly fight tooth-and-nail to reverse it entirely, though this could prove difficult, if not impossible, as long as President Trump remains in the Oval Office.
“No rule can stop the left from trying … to shut down conservative ideas and religious groups,” writes Rick Moran for PJ Media. “But at least there are now penalties if they lose in court – penalties that will sting.”
“Court challenges are already being readied and as the rule makes it clear, schools will have to lose in court before the department would take action,” Moran adds. “But school administrators have been known to turn a blind eye when other students attempt to shut down their meetings and stifle their free speech.”
For more related news about on-campus free speech, be sure to check out FirstAmendment.news.
Sources for this article include: