- Associations Submit HEA Reauthorization Principles to Senate HELP Committee
- Education Department Releases New OCR Guidelines
- SCOTUS Declines to Quickly Weigh in on DACA
- House Science Subcommittee Holds Sexual Harassment in Science Hearing
- Federal Budget Process Reform Efforts
- GAO Report Calls for Increased Federal R&D Spending
ASSOCIATIONS SUBMIT HEA REAUTHORIZATION PRINCIPLES TO SENATE HELP COMMITTEE
AAU, along with several other higher education associations, on Monday submitted principles for the upcoming Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization. The community letter calls for a process that allows for increased access, affordability, and completion, and the streamlining of regulations to allow institutions to better meet obligations to students and taxpayers without imposing unnecessary costs or the diversion of resources.
The principles document echoes previously-submitted February 23 and February 15 comment letters by AAU President Mary Sue Coleman, in which she urges Committee leaders to promote policies that lead to greater levels of student access and success.
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RELEASES NEW OCR GUIDELINES
The Education Department yesterday released new rules for investigating civil rights complaints received by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Notable changes include the elimination of all references to “systemic” investigations to narrow the scope of investigations, and the elimination of appeals for students who claim they faced discrimination. Complainants are afforded less time to provide evidence to investigators and the new guide also instructs investigators to dismiss allegations under a broader array of circumstances. The revisions go into effect March 5.
SCOTUS DECLINES TO QUICKLY WEIGH IN ON DACA
On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected the administration’s request to bypass the appeals process and conduct an expedited review of a district court judge’s ruling requiring the administration to resume renewals for DACA participants. The refusal leaves open the possibility that the justices could hear the case later, but only after review by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. No justices dissented.
The Washington Post has more.
HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE HOLDS SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN SCIENCE HEARING
The House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a Tuesday hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct in science. Full Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) remarked, “It is the responsibility of the science community, universities and federal science agencies to ensure there is a fair, functioning process under the law in place for harassment complaints and resolutions.” He went on, “And if there is a finding of research or workplace misconduct by a federally funded researcher, that information should be made public so that every research institution, federal agency and student is aware of the finding.”
Rhonda Davis of the NSF, testified that the agency has developed a new award term and condition that will require awardee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment, or any other kind of harassment regarding a PI or co-PI or any other grant personnel. The term and condition also will require the grantee to report the placement of the PI or co-PI on administrative leave relating to a harassment finding or investigation. This new award term and condition will go into effort upon the completion of the Federal Register process, which will include a 60-day comment period.
FEDERAL BUDGET PROCESS REFORM EFFORTS
A diverse group of 23 stakeholders, including AAU staff member Matt Owens, on Monday released five budget process reform proposals to “bring stability to the budget process and create conditions that would allow our government to return to regular order.” A one-page summary of the report is available here.
The recommendations come weeks after the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 established a 16-member bipartisan “Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform” to report by November 30 legislative fixes to the congressional spending process. House members of the Joint Committee are as follows: Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Steve Womack (R-AR), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Rob Woodall (R-GA), and Jodey Arrington (R-TX). The following Senators will also serve on the Joint Committee: Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), David Perdue (R-GA), James Lankford (R-OK), and Joni Ernst (R-IA). House Budget Committee Chairman Womack will serve as the chair.
GAO REPORT CALLS FOR INCREASED FEDERAL R&D SPENDING
A new GAO report on trends affecting government and society encourages sustained research investment in five emerging technologies it believes will strengthen U.S. global competitiveness and national security: artificial intelligence and automation, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, brain-computer interfaces and augmented reality, genome editing, and quantum information science.
Cautioning that China may outspend the U.S. on research and development in the next decade, the report stresses the importance of these and other federal R&D investments, saying, “In an environment of increasingly constrained resources, particularly at the federal level, investing in R&D efforts in a strategic and coordinated way will be critical.” It goes on, “Understanding the implications of emerging technology areas for the U.S. economy and society as well as federal policymaking is a necessary step for the Congress and federal agencies to be able take strategic action.”