By The American Council on Education (ACE) and 19 other associations including NASPA, October 4, 2017
Comments urged House Speakers Ryan and Pelosi to oppose H. Con. Res. 71, the budget resolution under consideration which would cut funding to programs dedicated to educating America’s workforce.
By PostsecData and 27 other associations including NASPA, September 2017
The letter notes the value of a newly released plan by the Department of Education to introduce the 2017-18 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study which will help enhance research on college affordability and student outcomes.
By Diana Ali, October 12, 2017
The resurgence of race-based protests on campus have paralleled a rising conversation around free speech. On one side is an argument that the rising calls to protect free speech create an intentional diversion from addressing anti-oppression efforts. Another argument, however, states that the First Amendment is integral in protecting marginalized individuals. Connected to this conversation is one around the use of safe and brave spaces on campus and whether or not these spaces conflict with the First Amendment, the advancement of marginalized students, or both. After conducting extensive research around the role of safe and brave spaces as campus protests and the free speech debate intensify, the NASPA Policy and Advocacy Team identified a missing piece in the conversation—a clear understanding of the etymology and history of safe and brave spaces within the campus climate. NASPA’s October release of the whitepaper “Safe Spaces and Brave Spaces: Historical Context and Recommendations for Student Affairs Professionals” explores the history of safe and brave spaces to create a better understanding of how and why they are used differently within the campus environment.
By Elise Viebeck, October 12, 2017
Sources have learned from a Republican senator who spoke with President Trump last week that should the GOP continue to hold off on a resolution to ensure protections for current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the new administration may extend the March 5 deadline of which the program is currently set to expire. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) quoted the President in saying, “We put a six-month deadline out there. Let’s work it out. If we can’t get it worked out in six months, we’ll give it some more time, but we’ve got to get this worked out legislatively.” House Democrats are currently seeking support to pass the Dream Act with which provide a pathway to citizenship for eligible undocumented youth and could support up to 1.6 million individuals.
By Anna North, October 13, 2017
The House of Representatives, spearheaded by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), introduced the Title IX Protection Act on Friday in an effort to sign Title IX guidance into law. The goal of the legislation is to prevent guidance from being rolled back by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Sexual assault has been reported to be highest amongst college-age women, and college students are more likely to experience sexual assault than those who do not attend a college or university. Title IX places a responsibility on the institution, and not just local law enforcement to invest in sexual assault prevention strategies and provide an education free of sex discrimination. Sexual assault victim advocates are wary of recently changes to Obama-era guidance by Secretary DeVos, particularly the decision to no longer require the preponderance of evidence standard in Title IX investigations. Chris Loschiavo and Jennifer L. Waller at the Association for Student Conduct Administration stated: “To use any other standard says to the victim/survivor, ‘Your word is not worth as much to the institution as the word of accused’ or, even worse, that the institution prefers that the accused student remain a member of the campus community over the complainant. Such messages do not contribute to a culture that encourages victims to report sexual assault.” Further, survivors and their advocates worry that in a system that advantages individuals with a legal background their voices will not be heard during the new rulemaking process.
By Katherine Mangan, October 13, 2017
Institutions question if the Harvey Weinstein allegations will change how higher education handles cases of sexual harassment, noting several parallels between the entertainment industry and academia. Adia Harvey Wingfield, a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis observes that when individuals help each other, it usually happens through tips among women, such as “don’t have drinks with that professor.” Further, to avoid legal hassles, universities often encourage accused professors to resign and help them find another job. Those who speak out may also be subject to retaliation, encouraging a culture of silence amongst colleagues even if they believe a professor’s behavior to be inappropriate. Joan T. Schmelz, deputy director of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico offers tips for dealing with questionable behavior such as making direct statements in lieu of an inappropriate comment, such as “I disagree,” or intentionally learning bystander intervention techniques.
By Scott Jaschik, October 16, 2017
The free speech debate has risen to the top of hot-button issues yet again at the start of a new school year. Institutions across the country have already experienced multiple student protests denouncing guestspeakers from Columbia University to the University of Oregon. This past week the University of Chicago convened a closed door meeting with sixty-six presidents and provosts to discuss ongoing campus protests and the free speech debate. The campus presidents widely expressed support in upholding principles of free speech, regardless of ideological perspectives of speakers, and indicated a desire to work on educating students on the First Amendment. An additional issue discussed by participants was that of rising security costs to host controversial speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer. An upcoming speaking event at the University of Florida from Richard Spencer is estimated to cost upwards of $500,000 in security expenses. In a perspective supportive of students, Laurie L. Patton of Middlebury College stated that she understood students’ desires to make sure “everyone has a seat at the table,” and that an effort to protect freedom of expression should not eclipse all the “amazing stuff that goes on on all of our campuses.”
While the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has been watching for movement of TX HB 46 and TX HB 50 during Texas Special Session, both failed to move forward by the end date of 8/16/2017. These bills mimic failed legislation HB 2899, a slightly more lenient form of the original TX SB 6 Bathroom Bill. TX HB 46 would forbid “political subdivisions, including a public school district” from adopting or enforcing measures to “protect a class of persons from discrimination” in regulating “access to multi-occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities.” HB 50 was identical except applying only to a school district board. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. Additional bills of this kind are unlikely to be introduced during the 2016-2017 legislative session.
In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017. CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill was approved by the Governor on 10/04/2017.
Guns on Campus:
Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 43 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 18 bills are pending, 20 have failed, and 6 have been enacted, in AR, GA, OK and TX. GA HB 280 went into effect on 07/01/2017. TX SB 11 which will allow anyone over 21 with a gun license to conceal carry was enacted on 08/16/2017. CA AB 424 enrolled and presented to the Governor on 09/18/2017.
-Primary Sponsor: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) (Introduced 10/05/2017)
-Latest Action: 10/05/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
The Keep Americans Safe Act works to reduce mass shootings by lowering the number of bullets allowed in a gun magazine. This bill, if enacted, with limit a magazine to 10 bullets or less, giving victims time to flee a shooter.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) (Introduced 10/12/2017)
-Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
-Latest Action: 10/12/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
Aims to ask Secretary DeVos to make reasonable adjustments to earnings data for graduates of cosmetology employment programs.
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