Shortly before leaving office, President Donald Trump provided college students a way to air complaints about overly political professors and policies on their campuses.
As The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2020, Trump’s Education Department sought to battle back against a “culture of censorship,” especially in trying to silence conservative views, on American colleges that received federal funding.
The hotline was actually an email account where students and staffers could submit complaints about those they believed were squelching discussion in favor of safeguarding liberal orthodoxy. As the Journal reported at the time, the Education Department said “every complaint would be reviewed, and investigations opened ‘where it is appropriate to do so.’”
But a year later, and 11 months into Democratic President Joe Biden’s term, the Education Department is offering a cold shoulder to questions about its hotline.
The College Fix, a conservative website, reported last week that a year after creating it, the department “is still withholding records detailing the nature of the complaints filed with the hotline.”
The Fix noted that it filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the hotline on March 31. The outlet sought information about the types of complaints being filed.
But, since then, nearly nine months later, the website has “heard nothing back from the March FOIA request, nor from a September 27 email sent asking for an update as to the status of the March request.”
“In December, a department spokesperson declined to comment on the status of the request, instead directing The Fix to the FOIA department, which had declined to respond to the September 27 email. The request is currently listed on the department website as ‘processing,’” the website reported.
The Fix noted that it received confirmation in April that the email account was still active. But a department official told the website that the new leadership at the agency was “assessing this inbox.”
On Jan. 20, Biden’s first day in office, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki pledged to reporters that the administration would “bring transparency and truth back to the government to share the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.”
Based on the Education Department’s 9-month-old rejection of a simple records request, the American people can add this to the list of the many things the White House has lied about or reversed.
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