President-elect Donald Trump – a phrase I am still surprised to be writing – is now in the process of building his administration. Of course, the glitzy positions of Secretary of State and Attorney General are talked about a lot. However, the position of Education Secretary is arguably the most important for any college student. As I have written about extensively at TCC, the Department of Education (DOE) has eroded students’ free speech and due process rights through its highly questionable guidance letters and de facto regulations on Title IX. Will all of these policies change in 2017?
What Will Trump Do With Title IX?
It is difficult to answer this question. Nevertheless, President-elect Trump did make multiple statements on the campaign trail with regards to how he will handle education. Back in April, Trump stated the following: “We end Common Core. And Department of Education can — I mean, the Department of Education is massive, and it can be largely eliminated. Now, you maybe want to have a little bit of tentacles out there, make sure everything, — but largely, we can eliminate the Department of Education.”
Additionally, Trump previously hinted at the fact that Ben Carson may head up the DOE. The retired neurosurgeon was chosen in a survey of congressional staff members, federal officials and other “insiders” back in May as Trump’s most likely pick. Plus, Politico has written that “another possible education secretary under Trump is William Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.” Evers has been an advisor on education matters for Trumps transition team. Neither of these men’s positions on this issue are entirely clear.
Beyond Federal Control?
Anybody who currently resides on a college campuses is well aware of one simple fact. Regardless of the DOE’s regulations, campus cultures are completely poisoned. Generally speaking, student bodies have no respect for free speech and college administrators have even less respect for due process. Even if the DOE’s policies were to change with regards to Title IX – which must happen – the biases held by both students seeking to silence speech and those who run campus disciplinary cases will still be present. Trump must fix the DOE’s policies. However, our rights are not going to be granted until we take back our campus cultures.