Department of Education Proposes Eliminating Protection for Religious Student Groups
For 40 years, CLS student chapters and other religious student organizations have frequently encountered problems in becoming, or remaining, recognized student organizations on public college campuses. Without recognition, it is hard for a religious student group to exist. To address this problem, the United States Department of Education adopted, in September 2020, two common sense regulations that protect religious student organizations on public college campuses.
But the Department of Education announced, on February 22, 2023, that it wants to rescind these important regulations that protect religious student groups. The Department cannot rescind the regulation until it has received and considered comments from the public. The deadline for comments is March 24, 2023.
PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS STUDENTS ON PUBLIC CAMPUSES.
Everyone who cares about religious students needs to submit a comment to the Department of Education urging it NOT to rescind the current regulations. The volume of comments that the Department receives is very important. The Administration needs to understand that taking away protections for religious students is unacceptable to the faith community. CLS has put together both an FAQ regarding the proposed rule and a list of representative situations illustrating the need for the regulation.
Every comment helps—even one as simple as “Please Do NOT rescind the regulation protecting religious student groups.” Please take 5 minutes to submit a respectful comment and then urge your family, friends, and church members to submit respectful comments, too.
Comments must be submitted through the government website. Steps for submitting comments are below, along with sample comments. More information can be found at, and comments can also be submitted through, campusaccess.us.
The comment deadline is March 24, 2023.
HOW DO I SUBMIT A COMMENT?
When you are ready to submit a comment, just click here.
- The top of the page should say, “Direct Grant Programs, State-Administered Formula Grant Programs Proposed Rule.”
- Write your comment in the large blank space in the middle of the page where it says “Comment” (up to 5000 characters).
- First, at the top of your comment, type ID: ED-2022-OPE-0157-0001.
- If your comment is a document or is longer than 5000 characters, type in the blank space, “I oppose the Department’s rescission of Regulations 34 CFR §§ 75.500 (d) & 76.500 (d) because religious student groups need protection on public college campuses and for the additional reasons given in the attached comment” and then upload the longer document below where it says “Attach Files.”
- Answer “What is your comment about?” by selecting the category that best represents who you are (e.g., student, parent, individual, teacher, faith-based organization, law firm, school administrator).
- At “Attach Files,” attach your longer comment or anything you want to accompany your comment. You do not need to attach any files unless you want to do so, or if your comment is longer than 5000 characters.
- Enter your email address to receive confirmation of submission and its tracking number, which is useful to have. You might want to take a screenshot or otherwise capture your comment before you submit it, but you don’t have to do so.
- Choose a category from “individual,” “organization,” or “anonymous.” If you choose “individual,” that will add credibility to your submission. Note that your name will appear on a public webpage.
- Fill in your contact information.
- Check “I’m not a robot.”
- Hit “Submit Comment” at the bottom of the page.
- Thank you!
WHAT SHOULD A COMMENT SAY?
The comment can just be a single sentence stating: “Please do NOT rescind the regulations (34 C.F.R. sections 75.500(d)) & 76.500 (d)) protecting religious student groups.”
Personalized comments are extremely helpful. If you or a family member has benefited from being part of a CLS chapter or any other religious student group, briefly describe those positive benefits.
If you were part of a CLS chapter or any other religious student group that experienced problems meetings on campus—either from university administrators or student governments—briefly describe the problem and then it is especially important to state that these regulations would have helped resolve the problem.
You can easily expand your comment by giving one or two reasons why the current regulations should not be rescinded. If you want, use this list of “20 Reasons Why the Regulation Should Not Be Rescinded” as an easy source of ideas for expanding your comments. Add one or two of those ideas to your comment. Or expand on one or two ideas in your own words.
Please submit a comment, no matter how short, and encourage your family, friends, and church members to submit their own comments by March 24, 2023. For questions and other sample comment suggestions, please contact the Center at Laura@clsnet.org.
It only takes a couple of minutes to make a big difference in the lives of religious students on campus.