May 10, 2012

Upcoming Webinar and Free Trial Membership:Free Speech Pitfalls on Campus: Perspective from a Campus WatchdogFeaturing: Attorney Samantha Harris, Foundation for Individual Rights in EducationCost: $75 for non-members

The cost of this webinar for non-members is $75. But non-members can hear and watch the presentation for free if they sign up for a free, trial membership that lasts until June 30, 2012. After that time, you or your institution can sign up for the 2012-2013 year at a special discounted rate.

During the trial membership, you will receive

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Join today for the free trial membership! If interested in this special offer and the webinar, go to the Free Trial Membership page and register. Then go to webinar registration page and sign up for the May 21, 2012 webinar.

Senate Bill Would Bar Colleges From Using Federal Student Aid For Marketing

On April 18, 2012, Senator Kay Hagan (NC) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) co-sponsored the Protecting the Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayer’s Act.

According to Senator Hagan’s press release, the bill would “ensure that taxpayers’ investment in federal assistance for college students is not being wasted on advertising, marketing and recruitment rather than being used to educate and support students. The hope is to “maximize federal student aid by prohibiting the use of Pell Grants, federal student loans, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and other federal education funds for such practices, similar to a current law that bans the use of federal higher education dollars for lobbying.”

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Affirmative Action Ban Preference in California

On April 2, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, rejected an attempt “to revive preferential admissions for minorities at the University of California and reaffirmed the legality of Proposition 209, the state’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action.” Proposition 209 was passed by California voters approximately 15 years ago. The suit was filed by 55 student applicants and By Any Means Necessary (which used issued this response to the Appeals Court decision). The measure was defended by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which issued this press release, with a link to the decision. Here is the court’s opinion (click the link for the complete account of the court’s finding) :

“Plaintiffs are California high school and college students who allege that section 31 of article I of the California Constitution violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and causes the unfair exclusion of African American, Latino, and Native American students from higher education. They seek to enjoin Governor Edmund G. Brown and Mark Yudof, President of the University of California, from enforcing section 31. Yudof asserts that he is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment and that he is an improper defendant pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21. Although we hold that Plaintiffs’ suit against Yudof is not barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, we also hold that Plaintiffs’ equal protection challenge to section 31 is precluded by Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson (Wilson II), 122 F.3d 692 (9th Cir.1997), where we previously upheld the constitutionality of section 31. The district court correctly dismissed the complaint against the governor and Yudof for failure to state a claim.”

Since the court’s decision, BAMN has petitioned the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing.

Student Insurance Coverage and Insurance Regulations

On March 16, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a fact sheet that clarifies student health plans of non-profit religious institutions of higher education for a one-year transition, temporary enforcement safe harbor from the new contraceptive coverage requirement. It’s similar to what is afforded to non-profit religious employers.

The Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury also announced intentions to propose amendments to current regulations on preventive health care services required under the Affordable Care Act. Proposed amendments would establish alternative ways to fulfill requirements of section 2713 Public Health Service Act for religious organizations that sponsor or arrange health coverage yet object to the coverage of contraceptive services.

Restore the Promise GI Bill

Introduced on March 5, 2012 and sponsored by Christopher S. Murphy (CT), the proposed Promise GI Bill (H.R. 4140) would allow older veterans to access GI Bill education benefits. The proposed legislation would eliminate a ten-year expiration within the current Montgomery GI Bill. The Congressman issued a press release explaining more.


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