The Biden administration said on Thursday it plans to end part of former President Donald Trump’s protections of faith-based public university campuses that allows federal funding to campus groups that affirm pro-life views and traditional marriage.
“Public colleges and universities take a variety of steps to support student activities on campus and generally may not deny student organizations access to school-sponsored forums because of the groups’ religious or non-religious viewpoints,” Michelle Asha Cooper, Acting Assistant Secretary for Office of Postsecondary Education, said in a Thursday post.
“At the same time, these institutions may adopt policies by which student organizations that receive school funding, recognition, and privileges must abide. Such policies can include ‘all comers’ policies – policies requiring all registered student organizations to permit all students to be members or leaders,” Cooper added.
“Additionally, all institutions of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance must comply with applicable Federal statutes and regulations that prohibit discrimination.”
The implications of the post’s wording mean a change could soon take place that would require religious campus groups to change beliefs and practices in order to receive campus funding like other groups.
The policies noted in the post include and ‘all comers’ policy that would allow any person involved to be a member or leaders.
The change would require Christian groups to allow even non-Christians to serve in leadership, as well as those who disagree with key beliefs of the group.
In addition, the emphasis on “regulations that prohibit discrimination” would include views regarding LGBT issues. Campus religious groups holding certain views would not be eligible for funding based on views regarding gender, sexuality and marriage.
While Christian groups would certainly welcome any student, traditional Christian beliefs limit leadership roles to those with certain standards and beliefs regarding sexuality that may be at odds with “Federal statutes and regulations.”
The potential changes could certainly result in new legal challenges for religious groups on America’s public university campuses.
However, the suggested changes would not prohibit Christian groups or other religious groups from continuing. The new regulations would instead prohibit federal funding, something that could limit equal access in the form of funding or other resources such as facility usage or other university privileges.