Full Committee Hearing, 10am EST, 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, September 26, 2018
Wednesday’s hearing will be on “Examining First Amendment Rights on Campus.”
American Council on Education and 14 other higher education associations including NASPA, September 17, 2018
These comments sent to the Department of Homeland Security in response to recently proposed increases in program fees for the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) posit that significant and burdensome increases will adversely impact student and faculty exchange visitors as well as institutions of higher education.
By Elise Newkirk-Kotfila, director of advising initiatives, September 20, 2018
We’ve all been there. We’re working on something we care deeply about, and we know it would be so much better if needed partners were at the table. For instance, we want to create an internship program because we know that students are clamoring for more hands-on experience and local employers stand ready to build a talent pipeline. Therefore we bring multiple parties together, discuss partnership possibilities, and identify some plausible next steps, but somehow our vision for the program never takes shape. If you’ve ever been frustrated by a scenario like this, Elise Newkirk-Kotfila, NASPA director of advising initiatives, offer three things everyone in a campus setting needs to keep in mind as they form partnerships.
By Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, September 17, 2018
Last Monday marked Constitution Day, and both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsey DeVos spoke at events on first amendment rights and the rise of the free speech debate on college campuses. Secretary DeVos mentioned in a student town-hall that the “heckler’s veto” often prevails on campuses, preventing invited speakers from their right to speak. Sessions spoke on the role of the Department of Justice in upholding campus free speech, by continuing to allow institutions to create their own policies, and for the Department to determine when the school violates the constitutional rights of the students. DeVos echoed the need for a hands-off approach. However, the recent expansion of the Department of Education’s definition of anti-Semitism has sparked concerns regarding freedom of speech among those critics of Israel. Further, others wonder if a “free-speech crisis” truly exist. Survey data suggest that the vast majority of campus leadership support that students be allowed to be exposed to all different kinds of speech, as opposed to instituting policies that would ban offensive speech.
By Benjamin Wermund, Politico, September 24, 2018
While the Education Department has yet to release a draft of proposed Title IX rules to the Federal Register, advocates, attorneys, and school administrators have all obtained a leaked version of the draft and begin to tackle potential implications of the new rule. Politico notes considers several points drawn from insider analysis, including that, “the administration, in its attempts to even the playing field for students accused of sexual harassment, could be poised to give them unprecedented access to evidence in a school’s investigation, and that, “disclosures might prove embarrassing and hurtful for both sides and could be used for retaliation.” The leaked version also seems to indicate that colleges and universities may not be responsible for misconduct that occurs off campus, but the line of where this is drawn is not clear at this time. The Education Department continues to decline to comment on the draft version that has been leaked, as this version may change substantially by the time it is actually published by the administration.
By David Bier, Cato Institute, September 24, 2018
This past Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its proposed “Public Charge” rule, which has not yet been published to the Federal Register for public comment. The rule, if implemented as it stands, will bar legal immigrants from securing green cards if they use assistance from the federal safety net, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The proposed rule may be problematic for a number of reasons, including the failure to consider the multiple levels of which a recent immigrant contributes to all levels of government, in net present value terms, $150,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits over their lifetime.
By Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, September 24, 2018
Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel has had to leave her position with John Hopkins University as the institution determined she was unlikely be approved for H-1B renewal. “They basically explained to me, with the [university's] Office of International Services on the phone,” Mahoney-Steel stated, “that they were not even going to submit my paperwork, which obviously came as quite a shock, and their rationale was that because the way the rules have changed, have become more murky and ambiguous, they were concerned that my application would be denied. And that that would be bad for them as a university and might put them under further scrutiny.” While there have been no changes to what qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” which is the bucket area under which Mahoney-Steel received her H-1B visa for three years, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has heightened the level of scrutiny used to approve jobs that qualify, resulting in John Hopkins’s decision to deny renewal. Application scrutiny increased following a USCIS memo released in October 2017.
**Check for updates in the coming months. Most states return to session in January 2019**
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) (Introduced 06/20/2018)
-Latest Action: 09/18/2018 Senate agreed to conference report and Senate action sent to the House
Last week, the Senate passed a compromised combined “minibus” bill for Departments of Defense, Labor, Health, and Human Services. The agreement which will proceed forward to President Trump’s desk includes a continuing resolution which will extend temporary funding for any agency facing a funding lapse until December 7. This week, the House is likely to vote on the bill, and congressional leaders believe the spending deal will by too politically costly for President Trump to veto.
**Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments**
-A Presidential Document by the Executive Office of the President on 09/19/2018
From Proclamation: “Today, there are more than 100 HBCUs in 19 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Combined, they educate nearly 300,000 enrolled students who will contribute their talents to bolstering our economy and serving our communities. This week, we reaffirm our support for HBCUs and recognize the profound influence they have had, and will continue to have, on our Nation. We are proud to support the tireless dedication of these institutions to advancing their students' full potential.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 16 through September 22, 2018, as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. I call upon educators, public officials, professional organizations, corporations, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that acknowledge the countless contributions these institutions and their alumni have made to our country.”
-Notice by the National Science Foundation on 09/21/2018
-National Science Foundation
Summary: “NSF is publishing, in final form, a new term and condition regarding sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. NSF's intention to develop and implement this new term and condition was specified in Important Notice No. 144, dated February 8, 2018.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) will not tolerate sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault within the agency, at awardee organizations, field sites, or anywhere NSF-funded science and education is conducted. The 3,000 U.S. institutions of higher education and other organizations that receive NSF funds are responsible for fully investigating complaints and for compliance with federal non-discrimination laws, regulations, and executive orders. NSF has taken steps to help ensure research environments are free from sexual harassment. Additionally, NSF is bolstering our policies, guidelines, and communications so that organizations funded by NSF clearly understand expectations and requirements.”
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