Keeping Informed Amidst Changing Times

As we navigate the turbulent waters COVID-19 has created, the amount of information to wade through seems to multiply by the hour. Legislation continues to happen as we try and figure out how to open our facilities, continue to develop our students, and maintain our sanity all at the same time.

It’s important for us to keep up to date with all the happenings in our states, as well as federally, so we can in turn help our staff and students traverse all the information that pertains to them. There is an abundance of information regarding COVID-19 support and policies, and educational legislation continues to be something we need to monitor. Changes made to legislation now, or bills at the state or federal level that are being stalled due to COVID-19, affect how we operate in our professional lives.

The Government Affairs Committee recognizes the difficulty of keeping up with all of the articles, announcements, and changes that are happening—often hourly. We wanted to highlight a few issues for you, as well as to provide a wealth of links to resource pages you may find helpful to watch in addition to NIRSA resources.

Title IX changes

One of the major issues facing us currently, aside from re-opening policies and procedures, are the Title IX changes. On Monday, May 5, the Department of Education released its guidance on the Title IX changes regarding sexual misconduct. There are several articles breaking down all the points we need to be aware of; this one, from Inside Higher Ed, is a good starting point, as is the overview from the Department of Education.

While we may not always be the ones who are doing the Title IX investigations—though many NIRSA members are those people on their campuses—it’s prudent for us to know what the regulations are in order to support our colleagues and provide guidance for our students.

In December 2018, NIRSA released our Guiding Comments on Title IX. These comments were created in support of our colleagues who are responsible for managing Title IX changes. They also support the general membership, which should be aware of these changes and understand how they will affect our work with students.

The current changes will directly affect our sport clubs and any programming that happens off campus. These are issues we need to be aware of. We also need to work closely with our colleagues on campus and throughout the Association to ensure we are providing the best support for our students.

Additional areas to watch

Other areas of higher education legislation we will all need to be mindful of are budget and financial packages and changes, as well as the long-overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). HEA would provide funding for many underrepresented groups and firm up policies and procedures for financial aid. These pieces of legislation are currently being held at the federal level as the House and Senate determine the best way to provide support for different areas of education.

We are also providing a number of links and resources in NIRSA Connect; these links can help you navigate federal, state, and local issues as well as provide additional information from other associations to help you navigate the issues that are relevant to your campus.

As you work to mine data and gather information to support repopulation and policy changes—as well as to advocate for your department with your senior leadership—we want to do what we can to support you.

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