4 Years of Fighting: Trump vs. Higher Ed | #Education | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


November 8: After a campaign that often targeted intellectual elites and political correctness, Donald J. Trump is elected president of the United States.


January 27: Trump signs an executive order imposing a travel ban on visitors from seven largely Muslim countries, sending shock waves across colleges and universities about the fate of international students.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

President Trump meets with leaders of historically Black colleges and universities in the Oval Office of the White House on February 27, 2017.

February 22: Trump rescinds a directive, put into place during Barack Obama’s presidency, that required public colleges and schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity, rather than the gender on their birth certificates.

February 27: Trump holds an Oval Office meeting with leaders of historically Black colleges and universities. A photo of Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, kneeling on a couch during the event was considered by some to be disrespectful. The event was further marred by comments made by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who said that HBCUs, which were founded during racial segregation, were “pioneers” of “school choice.”

August 11: Torch-bearing white supremacists descend on the University of Virginia’s Lawn, marking the start of violent protests that would escalate in Charlottesville, Va., the following day. At a news conference days later, Trump says that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the protests.

September 5: Trump announces a plan to phase out an Obama-era program that allowed hundreds of thousands of people, who had come to the United States illegally as children, to work and attend college. The proposed cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was later rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.


June 26: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban, three iterations of which had been challenged in federal court.


March 21: Trump signs an executive order on free speech, saying colleges have “tried to restrict free thought” and silenced “the voices of great young Americans.”

March 21, 2019

Olivier Douliery, Abaca, Sipa USA, AP

President Trump, on March 21, 2019, holds a signed executive order to require colleges and universities to “support free speech” on campus or risk loss of federal research funds.

June 28: DeVos, the education secretary, repeals an Obama-era regulation, known as the gainful-employment rule, that aimed to crack down on for-profit colleges that left students with high debts and poor job prospects.


May 6: The U.S. Department of Education introduces sweeping new guidance on how colleges handle sexual-assault allegations, giving accused students more due-process rights and allowing colleges to raise evidentiary standards for determining misconduct.

May 29: With Trump’s veto of a bipartisan bill, the Education Department moves ahead with new “borrower defense” rules that make it harder for students defrauded by colleges to get relief.

July 6: As colleges grapple with the threat of Covid-19, the Trump administration says it will not allow international students to stay in the United States if they are taking online classes only. Faced with litigation and a public outcry, the administration withdraws the directive days later.

August 13: The Justice Department says Yale University has discriminated against white and Asian-American students in admissions. The move is part of a pattern of scrutiny of alleged discrimination at Ivy League institutions, including Princeton and Harvard Universities.

September 22: Trump issues an executive order, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” that prohibits federal- grant recipients from holding diversity training “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country.” Colleges, scrambling to understand the order’s implications, cancel diversity talks and other programming.

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