- AAU Leaders Call on Congress for Permanent DACA Solution
- AAU Elects Chair, New Board Members
- Budget and Tax Update
- Senate HELP Committee Discusses Campus Free Speech
- Administration Nominates Education Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
- U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Case Against Travel Ban
- Associations Comment on NIH Access Model for Genomic Summary Results
AAU LEADERS CALL ON CONGRESS FOR PERMANENT DACA SOLUTION
AAU Presidents and Chancellors on Tuesday issued a call to action urging congressional leaders to act on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participants. The statement notes “the vast majority of Americans agree that Congress must act to ensure these young people can remain in the only country they have called home.” This statement reaffirms the letter signed by 57 AAU Presidents and Chancellors earlier this year.
AAU ELECTS CHAIR, NEW BOARD MEMBERS
On Tuesday, AAU announced The Ohio State University President Michael Drake will serve as chair and Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos will serve as vice chair of the AAU Board of Directors. New board members include: Phil DiStefano, University of Colorado Boulder; Sam Stanley, Stony Brook University; Rebecca Blank, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Peter Salovey, Yale University. Rice University President David Leebron will remain on the board as past-chair.
BUDGET AND TAX UPDATE
By a vote of 216-212, the House approved the Senate’s FY18 budget resolution yesterday, which will allow the Senate to pass tax reform by a simple majority. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said he will introduce the tax bill November 1 and his committee will begin consideration November 6. The budget allows tax legislation to add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit, raises defense spending, and cuts F18 nondefense discretionary spending.
AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement in response to the House budget passage.
SENATE HELP COMMITTEE DISCUSSES CAMPUS FREE SPEECH
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee yesterday held a hearing to discuss campus free speech. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) opened the hearing by noting that there is “a long history of shouting down speakers with whom students and other members of the university disagree or take offense on college campuses.” He asserted that universities should be places where different views are expressed, audiences listen, and contrasting viewpoints are encouraged but acknowledged that recent events demonstrate the difficulties university administrators face.
As part of the witness panel, University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer discussed the university’s principles on free expression, the Chicago Principles. He pointed to key drivers he believes have enabled the current movement against free speech in higher education, including that free speech is not “a natural state of human affairs,” meaning most people do not like it. Suppression of free speech, he said, is also a misguided response to diversity and inclusion. “We should not facilitate retreat and separation from the most enriching education we can provide. Doing so would be an abdication of our responsibilities as educators,” he went on. Chairman Alexander closed the hearing by stating the committee agrees that free speech must not be stifled, and universities should be able to deal with these issues. He also noted that perhaps more universities should adopt policies and practices like those adopted by the University of Chicago.
Other panelists included Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, New York Law School; J. Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center; and Dr. Allison Stanger, Russell J. Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics, Middlebury College.
Inside Higher Ed has more.
ADMINISTRATION NOMINATES EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Yesterday, President Trump announced the nomination of Kenneth Marcus to serve as the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights. Marcus is the current president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. Previously, Marcus served as the acting assistant secretary of education for civil rights in the George W. Bush administration. If confirmed by the Senate, acting assistant secretary Candice Jackson would relinquish assistant secretary duties but maintain her role as deputy assistant secretary for strategic operations and outreach within the Office for Civil Rights.
US SUPREME COURT DISMISSES CASE AGAINST TRAVEL BAN
The United States Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday dismissing a lawsuit brought by the state of Hawaii, claiming the case is now moot. The Court said there is no longer a case given that the 90-day ban expired September 24, and the 120-day ban expired yesterday, October 24. The Court also vacated a decision under appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, San Francisco, meaning it may not be used as a precedent. The Ninth Circuit in June ruled that President Trump exceeded his statutory authority by limiting travel from six majority-Muslim countries and suspending the refugee program.
ASSOCIATIONS COMMENT ON NIH ACCESS MODEL FOR GENOMIC SUMMARY RESULTS
AAU, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) submitted a comment letter to the NIH in response to the agency’s Request for Comments on its Proposal to Update Data Management of Genomic Summary Results Under the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy. The joint comment letter requests NIH clarify that the consent requirements detailed in the notice are limited to prospective collections and agrees that summary genomic data results should be provided through appropriate controlled access.