The Trump administration is moving forward with a new rule that could cut college funding if a school doesn’t allow religious student groups the same access to facilities and funding as non-religious groups.
“Students should not be forced to choose between their faith and their education, and an institution controlled by a religious organization should not have to sacrifice its religious beliefs to participate in Department grants and programs,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement.
The new rule would allow the federal government to suspend or terminate grants and other funding to public universities found to have violated the First Amendment or their own speech codes. Moreover, schools have to give religious students groups the same access to facilities and fees as other student groups.
The Education Department rule specifically says that schools can’t use “leadership standards” that are “informed by sincerely held religious beliefs” to “discriminate” against Christians.
The rule doesn’t apply to private schools.
The rule appears to be a response to an incident at the University of Iowa in 2018, where a Christian student group lost its official recognition because it didn’t allow LGBTQ people to be elected as officers. A court ruled against the school the next year.