“The U.S. Department of Education has issued the Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry Final Rule to help ensure that public institutions uphold fundamental rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that private institutions adhere to their stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, including academic freedom.
The Final Rule also ensures the equal treatment and constitutional rights of religious student organizations at public institutions, and separately provides clarity to faith-based institutions with respect to their non-discrimination duties under Title IX.”
The new regulations require that public colleges and universities must comply with the First Amendment to receive federal grants, and religious student organizations must be given the same benefits as secular groups. The new regulations also provide for faith-based colleges to claim exemptions to Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination.
SUMMARY: In response to Executive Order 13864 (Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities), the Department of Education revises its current regulations to encourage institutions of higher education to foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging, and diverse debate, including through compliance with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for public institutions and compliance with stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, including academic freedom, for private institutions. 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.