DC Shuttle …
Ed Dept Solicits Feedback on Regulation Reduction.
The U.S. Department of Education will hold the first of two public hearings tomorrow to solicit additional public input on which federal higher education regulations it should roll back. The hearing will be at Salt Lake Community College’s Miller Campus in Sandy, Utah. A second hearing will be held on Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C. Nearly 15,000 public comments had been filed by last Thursday’s deadline for public feedback on the Trump administration’s efforts to streamline and scrap regulations at the Education Department. Department officials will now sort through the comments as part of their agency-wide task force aimed at identifying regulations to cut. Read the request and comments here.
Ed Dept Rescinds Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that she was rescinding Obama-era guidance on school sexual assault, effective immediately, the New York Times reports. She said a formal review would take place regarding federal guidance on the issue. The agency issued a question-and-answer document to help schools navigate the highly contentious issue, while the formal review is conducted. The document allows schools to use a higher standard of proof in campus disciplinary proceedings related to sexual violence, altering one of the most hotly debated elements of the Obama-era guidance. The order withdrew a 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter that required schools to adopt a minimal standard of proof. Instead, schools can opt to use a higher standard of proof, known as “clear and convincing evidence.” In another new element, the new instructions will allow campuses to provide mediation in sexual assault cases if both sides agree to it. The temporary guidance is meant to serve as a placeholder, while the agency crafts news guidance with a new standard through a rulemaking process that involves public notice and comment.
HELP Committee Questions Ed Dept Nominees. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a confirmation hearing on Carlos G. Muñiz, the nominee to be general counsel at the U.S Education Department. Senate Democrats grilled the potential top lawyer for the department on the legality of how the department had responded to a number of issues ranging from transgender students to sexual assaults on campuses. The panel also questioned two nominees for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Janet Dhillon to chair the commission, and Daniel Gade to be a member. The committee is expected to vote on advancing the nominees to the floor within the next several weeks.
Lawmakers Call for Infrastructure Plan to Fund HBCU Upkeep. At a roundtable discussion with HBCU presidents, House Democrats vowed to leaders of historically black colleges and universities that they would fight to include funding for their schools’ upkeep as part of any potential infrastructure package the House takes up. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) said, “Any infrastructure plans we put forward must contain an HBCU plan.” Adams co-chairs the HBCU Caucus. Adams’ call was echoed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and House Education and the Workforce ranking member Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA).
Department releases Loan Data. The Education Department for the first time on Thursday released a trove of data on the ages, geographic locations, debt loads and majors of federal student loan borrowers.
We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Sept. 25, 2017. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.