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AAU, Associations Submit Comments on ED’s Proposal to Rescind Portions of 2020 “Free Inquiry Rule;” Respond to RFI on Related Issues

AAU, ACE, and 7 other higher education associations sent a comment letter expressing strong support for the Department of Education’s proposal to rescind a portion of its 2020 “free inquiry rule” related to religious student organizations at public colleges and universities. The letter noted that the original regulations had caused “confusion for institutions,” contained “exceedingly vague” language, and inappropriately foreclosed “legally permitted decision-making by public colleges and universities.” The letter emphasized that “public colleges and universities are committed to upholding the First Amendment and all of its guarantees, including its protection of religious freedom,” and that rescinding these specific regulations would not diminish those guarantees.

The associations also responded to a request for information by ED on the 2020 free inquiry rule. The response noted that the associations had “previously expressed grave concerns ” about the regulations and that “those concerns have not abated.” The associations emphasized that the 2020 regulations “undermine rather than support institutional efforts to foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging debate on diverse topics on campus,” and urged ED “to rescind these deeply troubling and problematic regulations as soon as possible.”

Download the NPRM comment letter

Download the RFI comment letter