The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has pledged to make it easier for prospective students to find out if colleges they may want to attend have applied for or received exemptions to parts of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Under the law, religious colleges may receive exemptions to provisions that conflict with the teachings of their various faiths. In the last two years, many such colleges have sought and received exemptions that apply to gay, lesbian and transgender students. Many of these colleges bar those in same-sex relationships or who are transgender from being either students or employees. The Education Department has responded to requests for names of the colleges receiving exemptions, but some groups and some lawmakers have said the department should go further and make sure this information is public.
In a letter this week to senators who have raised the issue, Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, said OCR would do so. She said the department will soon start posting all requests and responses for exemptions with a tool for people to search the documents. She said she agreed that this information should be available, consistent with her push for more transparency on the agency's work.
Being a minority of any kind in academe can be difficult, writes Manya Whitaker. But you can be much happier if you don't force relationships with people whom you are not naturally inclined to befriend.
The University of Victoria, in Canada, has announced the establishment of what it says is the world's first endowed chair in transgender studies. The chair is being created by the Tawani Foundation with a $1 million (U.S.) grant. The foundation has pledged another $1 million to match gifts for the chair. Aaron Devor, the first to hold the chair, is a professor of sociology and former dean at Victoria.
Liberty University has hosted multiple presidential candidates and was praised for inviting Bernie Sanders, whose views on various issues differ from those supported by many at the university. But now some students are criticizing Liberty for inviting the leading Republican candidate in many polls, Donald Trump. The criticism is not about inviting Trump, but about scheduling him for Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some students are planning a protest.
@JerryJrFalwell Couldn't there be a more respectful choice for Convo on MLK day than Mr. Trump? He seems antagonistic to Dr. King's cause.
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that the timing was intentional. Noting that King urged that people be judged not by skin color, but by the content of their character, Falwell said, “Liberty stands for that principle and I believe that Mr. Trump does as well.”