Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: DFI Calls on Biden Administration to Drop Proposed Rule That Strips Campus Religious Student Organizations of First Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON—The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI) is calling on the Biden administration to end its assault on religious liberty on college campuses. Today, the nonprofit submitted a public comment on the administration’s proposal to rescind regulations issued in 2020 by then-Secretary Betsy DeVos that provide robust protections for the First Amendment rights of religious student organizations at state-supported institutions of higher education.

The 2020 regulations were a response to the growing hostility over the rights of religious students to speak, worship, and gather freely at public colleges and universities. Those regulations require state universities and colleges to apply leadership and membership requirements equally to religiously affiliated and non-religiously affiliated student groups as a material condition of U.S. Department of Education grants.  

“The Biden administration’s decision to rescind these important protections for religious students is not only wrong-headed but could lead to the violation of students’ First Amendment rights to gather and worship freely,” said DFI President and Co-Founder Bob Eitel. “The proposed regulations would force religious student organizations to sue to protect their rights, which is no option at all for students who can’t afford legal assistance or who fear that such a lawsuit would harm their reputations on campus. The administration should leave the current rules in place.”

The Department admits in its proposed regulations that the 2020 regulations have worked, as the agency hasn’t received any complaints of violations—underscoring that the current regulatory framework has successfully deterred unconstitutional behavior by public colleges and universities.

To read the full comment from DFI, click here.