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SA Weekly: May 6

Civic Engagement Policy and Advocacy Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Division Gender and Sexuality
May 6, 2019 Maya Ward-Fineman NASPA

Welcome to SA Weekly, your destination for higher ed news, NASPA research and policy, constituent blogs, and more.

2 Dead and 4 Injured in Shooting At University of North Carolina, Charlotte Campus “Three of the injured are in critical condition. Authorities say they have one suspect in custody and there is no reason to believe anyone else was involved.”

Discrepancies in Estimates on Food Insecurity “New research finds that while food insecurity among college students is a serious problem, studies on the issue may not provide accurate estimates of its magnitude.”

Teachers Begin to See Unfair Student Loans Disappear “The Department of Education is expanding a fix to its troubled TEACH Grant program, giving millions of dollars of grant money back to public school teachers working in the country's neediest schools.”

Young People Support Free College “Eighteen- to 29-year-olds like the idea of tuition-free college, even with a price tag in the billions, a new poll from Harvard shows. And most young people appear to trust college administrators.”

Do Colleges Measure What They Value? “Study examines what colleges say they want students to learn and how they are measuring that learning.”

Selecting Courses for Students “A California community college is picking course schedules for students to encourage them to enroll full-time and reach graduation quicker.”

Fraternities No More at Swarthmore “After students occupied one of the Greek houses on campus for four days, protesting a long history of accusations against them, the two chapters at the college dissolved themselves.

Pedigree and Productivity “New study of computer scientists says that when it comes to research output, where Ph.D.s get hired matters more than where they trained.” 

Policy Update

Reflections on the 2019 Textbook Affordability Conference by Alexa Wesley, Research and Policy Associate

H.R. 6: What You Need to Know About the American Dream and Promise Act by Diana Ali, Assistant Director of Policy Research and Advocacy


Federal Updates

H.R. 6-American Dream and Promise Act of 2019

Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

Committees: House Committee on the Judiciary, House Committee on Education and Labor

Latest Action: on April 8, this legislation was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship

The 2019 version of the Dream Act is a reiteration of the 2017 version and would establish a permanent solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients as well as establish a 10-year conditional permanent resident status for those brought to the country as minors, as well as create a pathway to citizenship for eligible undocumented immigrants. The legislation also would repeal Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 that pertains to repercussions for states that provide financial aid and in-state tuition accessibility for Dreamers.

Politico reported last week that the bill that was expected to progress in the House has stalled due to an inability to reach a compromise regarding providing a pathway to citizenship to undocumented individuals with a certain record of criminal activity.

The Supreme Court Considers Protection of Gender Identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

On April 22, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced, as discussed by Bloomberg Law, that it would be taking up the issue of whether federal employment anti-discrimination laws extend to that of sexual orientation or gender identity. Thus far the question has been deliberated in the lower courts and by administrative agencies with varying outcomes. To exemplify, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to extend to gender identity while the U.S. Department of Justice does not. SCOTUS will be considering three lower court decisions. The extension of Title VII to gender identity and sexual orientation could potentially impact the interpretation of anti-discrimination laws in other circumstances as well, such as that of Title IX.

House Education and Labor Subcommittee Hearing: “The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education.”

This hearing will take place on May 9,at 10:15a.m. EST at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill and may be streamed online. 


State Updates

Free Speech

Firearms on Campus

Trans and Gender Non-binary rights


Regulatory Updates

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; GEAR UP Applications for Partnership and State Grants

May 5, 2019 notice by the Education Department. We are currently in the notice and comment period, with a comment period that ends on May 6, 2019

Summary from Federal Register: “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), created in the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 (Title IV, Section 404A-404H), is a discretionary grant program which encourages applicants to provide support and maintain a commitment to eligible low-income students, including students with disabilities, to assist the students in obtaining a secondary school diploma and preparing for and succeeding in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow them through graduation and, optionally, the first year of college.”

Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), May 3, 2019. This regulation hasn’t yet been uploaded to the Federal Register, or placed on public display by HHS. Summary from the Final Rule: ”This final rule revises existing regulations to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal conscience and anti‐discrimination laws applicable to the Department, its programs, and recipients of HHS funds, and to delegate overall enforcement and compliance responsibility to the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). In addition, this final rule clarifies OCR’s authority to initiate compliance reviews, conduct investigations, supervise and coordinate compliance by the Department and its components, and use enforcement tools otherwise available in existing regulations to address violations and resolve complaints…..The final rule also encourages the recipients of HHS funds to provide notice to individuals and entities about their right be free from coercion or discrimination on account of religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

The New York Times discusses potential infringement on the right to reproductive healthcare for women and trans and gender non-binary communities as a part of the religious liberty portion of this regulation.

Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments

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