WASHINGTON, DC (LifeSiteNews) — Student societies, including Christian fellowships, may lose their right to elect leaders and draft rules.
The Biden administration’s Department of Education is revising current federal policy which supports the freedom of student groups at public universities to choose their own leadership and maintain conduct and doctrinal standards.
“The Department is currently conducting a review of those regulations while keeping in mind the importance of several key elements including First Amendment protections, nondiscrimination requirements, and the promotion of inclusive learning environments for all students,” the Department of Education (DOE) website said in a recent blog.
The announcement, written by Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, the Deputy Assistant for Higher Education Programs, added:
“Following completion of our review, we anticipate publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to propose rescinding parts of the Free Inquiry Rule.”
The Free Inquiry rule is a Trump-era regulation that “require[s] a public institution to not deny a religious student organization any of the rights, benefits, or privileges that are otherwise afforded to other student organizations.”
Repealing the rule could require universities to prevent student groups from maintaining standards; otherwise, they could lose federal funding. This would affect not only Christian groups, but pro-life, Muslim and Jewish groups as well.
There will be a public consultation period during which citizens can voice their opinion on the proposal. The DOE has yet to set the “notice and comment period,” but when it is published it will be live at federalregister.gov.
The new proposal drew criticism from the Cardinal Newman Society.
“The review and expected proposed rule is unfortunately just the latest example of the Biden administration’s animosity to the free exercise of religion, especially in education,” Jeremiah Poff, a public policy specialist with the Catholic education group, said in an email to LifeSite.
“We are especially concerned about any attempt to narrow the religious exemption to Title IX, which is already under attack in the courts,” Poff continued.
“While it remains to be seen what kind of revision to the Free Inquiry rule the Biden administration might propose, the Left would like nothing less than to force gender ideology on Catholic and other Christian schools and colleges.”
With the FDA's decision to officially approve the Pfizer COVID jab, calls to vaccinate schoolchildren and more university students will become louder and more insistent.
But, America's children and young people must be protected from unknown future side-effects of these drugs, and parents' rights must be respected!
Please SIGN this urgent petition which demands that COVID vaccine mandates for schools and universities be prohibited in every U.S. state.
This petition will be sent to the leaders of every state legislature and to every governor in the United States, urging them to pass emergency legislation banning vaccine mandates for primary, secondary and university students.
Students simply have the right to be educated without being forced to violate deeply held principles and their own bodily integrity!
But, unfortunately, some private schools, like the Jesuit-run Brophy College Prep School in Phoenix, Arizona, have already mandated the COVID vaccine for their students, in spite of massive parental opposition. If parents or students reject the vaccine, students face intrusive weekly testing and exclusion from extra-curricular activities.
Also, more and more universities have actually started to disenroll unvaccinated students. But, even where that is not happening, not taking the vaccine often subjects students to masking, extra testing and additional administrative obstacles.
And now, with the Pfizer jab approval, Joe Biden's Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, is threatening more mandates.
While it is true that the FDA approval for the Pfizer jab only pertains to those over 16 years of age, the pharmaceutical industry and some state actors have been pushing to get approval for pre-teens!
So, it stands to reason that the Federal government will try to impose vaccines on schools, for those 16 and over, as well as on all university students. But, eventually, such mandates could even apply to younger and younger schoolchildren.
That's why state legislatures and governors must fight back against any attempt to coerce school students to take a COVID vaccine against their will!
Science and logic should dictate public health policy. And both say that mandatory vaccination for children and university students is not only unnecessary, but very likely dangerous for the future health of America's youth.
The CDC reports that the rates of death, injury, and hospitalization are very, very low for children and adolescents and that COVID transmission in schools, both from student to staff and between students, is also very low.
And a European CDC study concluded that "no evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are primary drivers of COVID transmission."
So, right now, we know that schoolchildren are at very low risk of becoming very ill as a result of COVID, or of even transmitting the virus.
But, we don't know how a hastily-prepared, unstudied vaccine will affect the health of millions of America's youth in the future.
Gambling with their future, and the future of our nation, should not even be entertained for one second!
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging state legislatures to ban COVID vaccine mandates for schools and universities - both public and private. Urge them to respect parents' rights, informed consent and bodily integrity.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Ivy League schools mandate COVID-19 vaccines for fall' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ivy-league-mandates-covid-19-vaccines-for-the-fall/
'FDA approval of Pfizer jab isn’t about our health, it’s about mandating the shots' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/fda-approval-of-pfizer-jab-isnt-about-our-health-its-about-mandating-the-shots
Poff, a former DOE staffer under the Trump administration, explained the importance of commenting on the regulations and how bad proposals can be stopped.
“The purpose of this [comment] requirement is to ensure that all possible perspectives and consequences are considered when drafting a rule or regulation,” Poff said.
“In the past, this has generally led to varying degrees of revisions from initially proposed rules to the final rule.”
Poff warned, however, that the Department of Education is ultimately free to ignore suggestions made during the public comment period.
Left-wing groups have applauded the Biden DOE proposal.
“We applaud the Department of Education for its willingness to reconsider this harmful regulation, and for sending the message to colleges, universities and their students that this wrong may soon be righted,” Americans United for Separation of Church and State and American Atheists said in a joint August 19 statement.
“We anticipate that the Biden administration will agree with us that discrimination has no place in our public colleges and universities – even if religion is used to justify it,” the groups said.
The Free Inquiry rule was introduced after years of controversy about student groups, often Christian, requiring that student members or leaders not engage in homosexual conduct or premarital sex or affirm belief in certain ideas.
Some student groups have been fighting with their universities over restrictions on who they can choose as leaders; adoption of the Biden administration proposal would make their cases even harder.
For example, the InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational student group, is currently in litigation against the University of Iowa. According to their own guidelines, IGCF student leaders cannot support homosexual “marriage” or be in a same-sex relationship.
Contact information for respectful feedback
Department of Education
Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ)
Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202
President Joe Biden
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500