The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Congress Amends Higher Education Act to Secure Students Free Speech Rights

Posted by iusbvision on August 19, 2008

A heads up from our friends at The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

President Bush signed the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act into law yesterday. Referred to by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as a bipartisan effort, the new law recognizes the importance of free speech and due process rights for college students across the nation.

Congress amended the law to include provisions stating that it was the sense of the Congress that “an institution of higher education should facilitate the free and open exchange of ideas” and that “students should not be intimidated, harassed, discouraged from speaking out, or discriminated against.” In defense of due process, Congress added that college “students should be treated equally and fairly” and any sanctions of students should be imposed “objectively and fairly.”

Combine this with dozens of court rulings and the latest statements from the US Commission on Civil Rights and the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and it amounts to a warning to abusive college administrators and faculty. Abuse students rights at you and your institutions legal peril. While for years it was only the courts taking these abuses seriously. The states and the feds are now taking notice. That is why I suggest to all students and to my friends at FIRE that any abuses of these rights result in a complaint with the US Commission on Civil Rights and the US Department of Education. University EEO and AAO officers have all but abdicated all responsibility in enforcing civil rights laws and more and more often are participants in violating them. We need to take charge and get the enforcement for ourselves.

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