The Department of Education and its sub-agencies appear here to stay (alas), but there is good news.   The “reforms” the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has inflicted—particularly on higher education—over the past eight years may well be in danger.

The Office of Civil Rights is a sub-agency within the Department of Education that oversees a range of issues, some invented, that affect K-12 and higher education (and some that don’t like ensuring “equal access” to the Boy Scouts and other youth groups.).

From college kangaroo courts regarding alleged sexual assaults to Title IX’s expansion to include pregnancy as a disability to transgender bathroom orders and gender identity mandates, the two candidates rumored to be in consideration to head the OCR would each make substantive changes should they be appointed.

The Chronicle for Higher Education reports:

Although the White House has yet to tip its hand on its pick as the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, speculation among plugged-in Republicans whose views have influenced other cabinet picks centers on two well-known conservative figures: Gail Heriot and Peter N. Kirsanow.

Both Ms. Heriot and Mr. Kirsanow are members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who recently have accused the department of overreach in dealing with sexual assault and the rights of transgender students on college campuses. Both also have been vocal critics of colleges’ consideration of race in admissions and student housing.

Kirsanow, however, has said that he would likely turn down the offer, and the speculation is that Hariot is likely to get the nod because, in part, woman.

Hopefully, the Trump White House is not bowing to SJW pressure and picking people based on things like gender as “political cover”; the irony of doing so for this particular spot is almost too much to bear.  That said, Heriot is, on her own merits, a solid candidate for the position.

The Chronicle continues:

Of the two, Ms. Heriot, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, may be most likely to get the nomination. That’s partly because Mr. Kirsanow, a labor lawyer in Cleveland, has a broad background that places him in the running for an array of other federal positions. That Ms. Heriot is a woman also could work in her favor, as the Trump administration might see her sex as giving her a measure of political cover in carrying out one of its top priorities for the civil-rights office — reducing the office’s guidance on Title IX, the federal gender-equity law.

A letter sent by conservative scholars (yes, there are still a few) to the White House says of Heriot:

Referring to the Department of Education, the incoming Trump Administration has vowed to “cut its power and reach” to make it more responsive and accountable to the American public and to local school authorities.9 This will require a Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights who has the requisite credentials, including an in-depth understanding of the functioning of the Office for Civil Rights and an unwavering commitment to civil rights.

Such a person is Gail Heriot, a professor of law at University of San Diego School of Law, where she teaches the law and history of civil rights, and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Professor Heriot has a demonstrated commitment to restoring control over public education to state and local authorities. She also believes a free people must be governed by their elected representatives, not by OCR bureaucrats.

Gail Heriot has repeatedly expressed concerns with the current policies and actions of the Office for Civil Rights:

  • On February 26, 2015, Gail Heriot and fellow Commissioner Peter Kirsanow wrote a letter to the members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, opposing consideration of budget increases to OCR.10
  • In December, 2015 Heriot stated she was “baffled” by the 6% budget increase granted to the OCR by a Republican-controlled Congress.11
  • In May, 2016 Heriot testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the problem of executive overreach, specifically highlighting the OCR.12

Watch Heriot discuss affirmative action at the Cato Institute:

Heriot herself has not been in touch with the White House and does not know if she is in the running or not, so much of this is speculation (though she’d be a good pick).

The Chronicle continues:

In an email last week, Ms. Heriot said she had not talked with Ms. DeVos or anyone else in the Trump administration over the position. “For all I know, a decision may already have been made,” she wrote. “I really don’t know much of anything about this process.”

In separate emails on Thursday, Ms. Heriot wrote, “I still haven’t heard a word from anyone within the administration.” She added: “I’m certainly willing to talk about it with Secretary DeVos. I understand that a number of people have recommended me.”

The other candidate for the OCR spot, according to the Chronicle, is a signatory on the above letter recommending Heriot for the position.

Mr. Kirsanow is among the signatories of the letter recommending Ms. Heriot. In an interview on Thursday, he said he probably would turn down the job if offered it.

“I may have told some people inside the administration that Gail Heriot is perfect for the job,” Mr. Kirsanow said. “My hope is that the administration considers her very seriously. She would be great.”

Undoing eight years of SJW hyper-drive via the OCR will be a joy to behold and could go a long way to correcting the insanity on our nation’s campuses, so I hope that Heriot, or someone who shares her view of the sub-agency’s role, will be selected.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.