The Biden administration said Thursday that it would consider revoking parts of a Trump-era regulation that guaranteed federal money to college faith-based groups that promote pro-life and traditional marriage principles.
In a blog post on the U.S. Education Department website, Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., said that while "the United States Constitution provides strong protections for students to express and practice their faith on public college and university campuses," "all institutions of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance must comply with applicable Federal statutes and regulations that prohibit discrimination."
But according to Breitbart's analysis, by "all institution," it means religious organizations in particular.
Cooper went on to add that the Biden Education Department intends to examine the Trump administration's "Free Inquiry Rule," which strengthened "First Amendment freedoms such as the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion" on campuses across the country.
Breitbart also cited a Washington Times article in which Cooper was quoted as saying about "America's post-secondary system" that it "has operated on policies, practices, and assumptions that inherently privilege white, wealthy, and well-connected students over their peers."
"The insidious policies that disadvantage Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other students of color, as well as low- and moderate-income students do more than limit their potential," she continued. "They limit the potential of our higher education system to be a true arbiter of social mobility and justice."
What is the substance of Trump's "Free Inquiry Rule?"
According to the Christian Post (CP), the Trump admin adopted a rule in November 2020 to protect religious student groups' rights at federal schools and institutions. The rule, sometimes dubbed as the "Free Inquiry Rule," was designated as the "Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities" guideline.
The regulation was enacted in part as a result of court disputes involving Christian student organizations facing penalties from public institutions for refusing to allow non-Christians or those who fail to conform to "biblical sexual ethics" to be regarded as leaders of their student clubs.
It also amended government laws "to clarify how educational institutions may demonstrate that a religious organization controls them to qualify for the exemption provided under Title IX, 20 U.S.C. 1681(a)(3), to the extent Title IX or its implementing regulations would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization."
Per the rule's description, it was developed in response to then-President Donald Trump signing Executive Order 13864 in March 2019, as well as prior student rights cases.
According to the summary, "these regulations also require 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."
CP added that the "Americans United for Separation of Church and State," together with the "American Atheists" welcomed the decision.
"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," stated Richard B. Katskee, VP and legal counsel of Americans United.
As Breitbart also pointed from a Times article, on the final day of President Donald Trump's office, both groups did a joint lawsuit against the Trump administration, contesting the Free Inquiry Rule.