America is facing a historical moment, when many are pushing for education and employment policies that violate core constitutional and civil rights essential to a free society governed by the rule of law.
DFI advocates in the following areas:
Prohibitions on Race Discrimination in Education and Employment
The nation’s Constitution and civil rights laws prohibit learning environments and working conditions that allow, tolerate, or promote race-based stereotypes, a belief in racial inferiority or superiority, or adverse or preferential treatment based on race. Justice John Marshall Harlan said it best in his stinging dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896): “Our constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerated classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” DFI strongly supports the right of students, faculty, and employees to learn and work free from race discrimination in their schools, higher education institutions, and workplaces.
Religious Freedom and Faith-based Institutions of Higher Education
Despite their legal protections, faith-based institutions of higher education are under attack like never before. These pillars of higher education have been threatened with the loss of accreditation and access to federal grants and funds due to the religious beliefs that form the basis of their hiring, academic, and student life policies. DFI vigorously defends faith-based schools against federal agencies, accreditors, state licensing authorities, and interest groups seeking to coerce changes to institutional policies in ways that conflict with religious missions.
Free Speech on Campus
Free speech is the basis of a free society and, in the words of one university president, “the basis of a true education.” In too many cases, however, state-supported postsecondary institutions have failed to honor the First Amendment, and private institutions have violated their own institutional policies and customs regarding campus freedom of speech. DFI resolutely supports campus free speech and seeks to hold state-supported institutions of higher education accountable for violations of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, as well as private institutions that fail to comply with institutional policies governing free speech on campus.
DFI firmly supports due process protections in campus Title IX procedures. DFI also defends the principle that Congress passed Title IX for the purpose of preserving and enhancing athletic opportunities for women and girls based on their biological sex at birth. We also strongly support Title IX’s exemption for religiously affiliated schools; the Constitution protects such institutions with or without such a statutory exemption.