November 28, 2017
This is a hearing to examine reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, focusing on examining proposals to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
November 30, 2017
This is a hearing to address the front lines of the opioid crisis, focusing on perspectives from states, communities, and providers.
By the American Council on Education (ACE) and 49 other higher education associations including NASPA, November 14, 2017
NASPA has signed onto this letter in protest of current higher education provisions within HR 1 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As the statement describes, NASPA thinks the bill discourages individuals from pursuing a degree in higher education and significantly increases the financial burden placed upon students.
By Teri Lyn Hinds, November 16, 2017
In the first installment of the Engage! series, Teri Lyn Hinds, NASPA's Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, broadly outlined four levels in which student affairs professionals might advocate on campus: institutionally, as faculty and staff, supporting students and civic engagement, and personally. In the second installment, NASPA Policy Analyst Diana Ali took a deeper dive into these forms of advocacy concerning undocumented individuals. In this installment of the Engage! series, Teri will address the four types of advocacy student affairs professionals might pursue to promote rights for trans individuals on their campus and in their community. NASPA’s Policy and Advocacy team regularly tracks challenges to trans individuals’ rights and protection under both the Student Safety and Wellness and Inclusive Opportunities tenets of the NASPA Public Policy Agenda.
By Carlos Ballesteros, November 15, 2017
This past Wednesday, the Justice Department sent letters to 29 jurisdictions, threatening federal funding due to their existing sanctuary policies. These jurisdictions are potentially in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1373, which prohibits local and state officials from creating policies which limit shared information on immigration status and citizenship. Around the time of the release of the letters, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, “jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law.” The counties and cities sent these letters have until December 8 to prove they are in compliance with the federal statue.
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, November 17, 2017
This past August, Notre Dame, known for its lack of Title IX compliance under the Obama Administration, revised its Title IX practices, a typical summer protocol for the institution. This year, Notre Dame included a new option which allowed students involved in sexual misconduct cases to ask for an “alternative resolution” to the typical investigation process in place. The alternative option cannot be applied to violent cases such as rape, but could be applied to something less intensive such as stalking, and would vary on a case-by-base basis. This new protocol aligns with interim guidance released by Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in September which permits a mediation solution in specific cases. Notre Dame student Isabel Rooper stated in protest that, “part of why we object so strongly to the alternative resolutions … is that we don’t have trained experts in mediation or counseling or restorative justice at the helm of enforcing this policy.” Trained legal practitioners have advised that despite pushback and concern among advocates and the student body, the new practice is legally sound.
By Josh Gerstein, November 19, 2017
This past Sunday, advocates of the soon to expire Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, chose to stand down from a pending Supreme Court case over the receipt of records pertaining to President Trump’s decision to the program. While it looked like the case was moving forward in favor of the litigants, all five, pressing separate lawsuits over the DACA cancellation asked the U.S. District Court Judge to lift their demand that the Trump Administration publicize the records. Advocates reasoned that litigation of the records could delay an injunction request which could temporarily save the program. One lawyer mentioned that the decision to lift the records release demand was a delay, not a complete withdrawal of the pursuit of the internal records. In Brooklyn, New York, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals is approaching a decision on blocking the expiration process of the DACA program.
By Preston Cooper, November 20, 2017
Recent reports have included verbiage detailing that if passed, the House tax bill would “bankrupt graduate students,” “be a disaster for PhD students,” and “hit grad students with a massive tax hike.” The House bill would alter section 117(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, which prevents taxation on qualified tuition waivers for graduate students. The House bill would treat graduate students’ work as taxable income, which could definitely lead to some tax hikes. However, the new tax bill does not change section 117(a) which exempts tuition scholarships from taxable income. Therefore, institutions that wish to avoid tax hikes for graduate students could reclassify tuition waivers as scholarships, which would be protected from being considered taxable income under the new bill. In this case, graduate students would no longer be required to work as teaching or research assistants as part of their tuition assistance, which could potentially alter graduate education as we know it.
*States in session: Washington DC, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin*
While the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has been watching for movement of TX HB 46 and TX HB 50 during Texas Special Session, both failed to move forward by the end date of 8/16/2017. These bills mimic failed legislation HB 2899, a slightly more lenient form of the original TX SB 6 Bathroom Bill. TX HB 46 would forbid “political subdivisions, including a public school district” from adopting or enforcing measures to “protect a class of persons from discrimination” in regulating “access to multi-occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities.” HB 50 was identical except applying only to a school district board. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. Additional bills of this kind are unlikely to be introduced during the 2016-2017 legislative session.
In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017. IL statewide legislation was enacted in August and CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill was approved by the Governor on 10/05/2017.
Guns on Campus:
Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 43 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 17 bills are pending, 21 have failed, and 7 have been enacted, in AR, GA, OK and TX. GA HB 280 went into effect on 07/01/2017. TX SB 11 which will allow anyone over 21 with a gun license to conceal carry was enacted on 08/16/2017. CA AB 424 enacted by the Governor on 10/14/2017.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) (Introduced 11/15/2017)
-Committees: House-Education and the Workforce
-Latest Action: 11/15/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) (Introduced 11/13/2017)
-Committees: House – Science, Space, and Technology
-Latest Action: 11/15/2017 Ordered to be Reported by Voice Vote
The STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act works to require the National Science Foundation to report and make recommendations to Congress on the effectiveness of research and education programs.
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