Questionable Stimulus Bill Provision May be Eliminated
February 9, 2009
According to Inside Higher Ed, the latest version of the stimulus bill in the U.S. Senate has now eliminated the spending for renovations to higher education facilities. This would necessarily mean that the questionable provision that I blogged about on Friday, which could have been interpreted to prohibit student religious groups from using facilities renovated with stimulus money, has been removed along with the funding itself.
Nevertheless, there is always a possibility that if the funding for facilities renovation is restored in the conference committee, the troublingly ambiguous language could be revived with it. As I wrote on Friday, the use of this language is unnecessary and could easily be replaced with language that would have no chance of being used by either college administrators or the government to restrict the rights of religious students or student groups while still fulfilling the spending function of the bill. FIRE will continue to watch this issue.