What's Happening in Washington, D.C.

By James Williams

President Trump Rescinds Title IX Protections for Transgender Students

On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 the Departments of Education and Justice released a guidance letter rescinding President Barack Obama’s protections for transgender students under Title IX. The letter cited “significant litigation” and the administration’s desire to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.” Further, the administration believes that this matter should be left to states to decide.

Reportedly at the insistence of Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the directive emphasizes the importance of protecting LGBT students from bullying, discrimination, and harassment.

Two New Members Appointed to Federal Accreditation Panel

Republicans in Congress appointed two new members to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), the federal advisory committee overseeing college accreditors, before the panel’s first meeting during the Trump administration last week. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, and Brian Jones, president of Strayer University, have been chosen to fill the two vacancies on the 18-person panel.

Mr. Pressnell was selected by Senate Republicans and has previously served on a task force on deregulating higher education. House Republicans selected Mr. Jones, who has previously represented for-profit colleges on the negotiated-rulemaking panel for gainful employment during the Obama administration and served as general counsel at the Department of Education during the George W. Bush administration.

During the Obama administration, college accreditors came under harsh criticism for not putting enough emphasis on student outcomes at the schools that they oversee and the Department published “accreditor dashboards” to spotlight accreditors that approved poor-performing schools. It is not clear year how the Trump administration will approach accreditation, but the Department did update the accreditor dashboards this week ahead of the NACIQI meeting.

Update from Dr. Angelique Day

Angelique Day, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University.  For the 2016-17 academic year, she is serving as a congressional fellow in the office of U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Ranking Member, Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.  In her role as a staffer, Dr. Day provides leadership to Rep. Davis's child welfare and higher education portfolios.  Rep. Davis is also a member of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which has allowed her an opportunity to assist in leading and defining Caucus topic priorities. In March, Dr. Day will be working with the offices of Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow on the development of a joint congressional briefing to educate members and their staff about the unique challenges foster youth face in securing and maintaining employment.

WSU Director of Federal Affairs, James Williams meets with Angelique Day to discuss her work in Washington D.C.


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