March 23, 2023

USCCB Urges U.S. Department of Education to

Protect Religious Freedom on College Campuses

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to submit comments to the Department of Education (USDE) to urge them to protect religious freedom on college campuses.

The Religious Liberty & Free Inquiry Rule from the USDE is a patchwork of regulatory provisions related to freedom of speech and religion in education. Among other things, the rule requires public universities that receive certain grants from the USDE to treat faith-based student organizations equally with secular student organizations (known as the "Equal Campus Access" provisions). 

At the heart of the Equal Campus Access provisions is the freedom of faith-based student groups to require their members and leaders to subscribe to the tenets of the faith. Without this freedom, student faith groups cannot maintain their religious identity.

The USDE has proposed to rescind the Equal Campus Access provisions.

The USCCB has asked that the Department preserve the current regulations because they provide commonsense protection for faith-based student organizations that have faced discrimination on many public college campuses for nearly four decades. By protecting students of all faiths, the existing regulations ensure that students of all religious faiths will be welcome on public college campuses. Rescission of these regulations will send a message to religious student groups that they are not welcome on public campuses.

Thriving religious student organizations benefit not just those who choose to participate in their activities but their campus communities as a whole. Religious student organizations offer spiritual nourishment, emotional encouragement, and friendship to all at a time when university communities are still recovering from the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll that the pandemic wrought.

Join the USCCB in requesting that the USDE preserve the important legal protections provided in the current regulations for individual students and religious student organizations so that students of all faiths will be welcome and can practice their faith on their public college campuses. 


Learn more from the USCCB's full comments on the rule. Comments are due by 11:59pm on Friday, March 24. To submit your comment, please click below:

Take Action

Thank you for helping to support religious freedom for all students.

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