Executive Branch Civil Rights Update With The Honorable Kenneth L. Marcus

Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum

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Kenneth L. Marcus, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, joins us to discuss the progress that has been made in the administration's first two years, as well as offer a look forward at some of the pressing matters that face the department inn the next few years. 

Event Transcript

Operator:  Welcome to The Federalist Society's Practice Group Podcast. The following podcast, hosted by The Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, was recorded on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, during a live teleforum conference call held exclusively for Federalist Society members.          


Dean Reuter:  Welcome to the practice group’s teleforum conference call as today we get an update on the work of the Civil Rights Department at U.S. Department of Education.  I’m Dean Reuter, General Counsel, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups here at The Federalist Society.


Please note that all expressions of opinion are those of the expert on today’s call, and also this call is being recorded for use as a podcast in the future and will very likely be transcribed.


We’re very pleased to welcome Kenneth L. Marcus to our call today. He’s the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. He’s also a longtime friend of The Federalist Society. We’re very pleased to hear from him today. He’s going to give us about 15 or 20 minutes or so of opening remarks, after which, as always, we’ll be looking to the audience for questions. So please have those in mind for when we get to that portion of the call. With that, Assistant Secretary Marcus, the floor is yours.  


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Thank you, Dean. It is a pleasure to be here. It’s always good to speak with you, and it is always good to speak with The Federalist Society. I thought that we might start with a little bit of discussion of some of the guiding principles that we have used at OCR during the Trump administration, then, perhaps, a few major issues that we have addressed, some enforcement approaches, and to give you a bit of a big picture on what we’re doing and how it is different from the way in which things have been done in the past. And let me say I believe that it’s being done very differently and in important ways than in the past.


There are basically three guiding principles that I would say govern the way in which we have handled civil rights at the Department of Education over the last -- certainly the last year, when I have been in this position, and also, I would say, during the year before that as well. The first is the understanding that civil rights enforcement is a form of law enforcement. That is to say that our goal is to enforce the laws and not to use the laws merely as a tool for obtaining some form of social change or social engineering. When a student or a family comes before us, I want to know what is the student’s problem or challenge, what are the statutes which may have been violated, what is the evidence, and what laws might have been broken. I do not want to know whether the child’s problem can be used as an opportunity to enter into some sort of systemic social change. What I want to know is what does the law require?


Second, when we enforce the laws, we are very careful to enforce the laws that are passed by Congress, signed by the President and to enforce them in full, as written and as interpreted by the courts of the United States, nothing less, nothing more. It is not our goal to add to or to subtract from the laws passed by Congress. As Secretary DeVos has said, rather eloquently from time to time, the era of rule by letter is over. We are not interested in unilaterally adding to or subtracting from the law but rather in enforcing the civil rights laws in our jurisdiction in full, nothing less, nothing more.


The third and related principle is deregulation. We are very much a part of President Trump’s deregulatory agenda. That means that where we find that there is guidance or rules that have been put in place by prior administrations that are not compliant with the law, that add or subtract from the laws, and that unnecessarily impose upon the discretion of educational leaders in a way that is inappropriate and unlawful, we rescind them.


And we have done that from time to time, not so much because our views or opinions are different, but because we have a commitment to the rule of law. I’ll give you a few examples. The first one comes from shortly before my tenure; although, it has extended into the present. And that is Title IX. Probably, you are aware that, under Secretary DeVos, this department has rescinded various sub-regulatory guidances such as the so called “dear colleague” letters on transgender and other aspects of Title IX sex discrimination, which in the view of this department exceed the requirements and prerogatives of the law. Here, again, the issue is not so much whether opinions differ but whether we are faithful to the laws.


Now, I cannot speak to the pending notice of proposed rulemaking because of restraints under the administrative process, but I think that people are aware of the various statements that Secretary DeVos and I and others have made and that this department is committed to insuring not just the protection of the rights of all students, which is paramount, but also the due process for those who may be falsely accused. Moreover, it is of special importance that, when we address a matter as important as Title IX, we do it not through unilateral decrees or “dear colleague” letters but rather through the regulatory process that has all of the different protections, constraints, and opportunities of a formal regulation. In this case with Title IX, the pending regulation has led to well over 100,000 comments, an opportunity for the public to be heard. We are very carefully reviewing the comments that we are receiving to ensure that the process is as strong as it can be.


Second, race and discipline -- now, this is an important one. It’s also another controversial one. People ask me sometimes what numbers would concern me if there is a question about whether there is racial discrimination in the use of discipline in elementary or secondary education. My answer to that question is one. If even one child is treated worse than other children because of his or her race or ethnicity, then we have a problem. And there, I believe, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will often provide a remedy.


The question here, however, is of discrimination -- different treatment, and not just whether the numbers are done right. Now, you may recall that after the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump established the Federal Commission on School Safety to review school climate and safety issues and to make meaningful and actionable recommendations regarding best practices to keep students safe. After months of research and receiving testimony and school visits and other analysis and discussions with a wide variety of people, that commission made a number of recommendations.


And one of them was to rescind a number of Obama-Biden era policies that dealt with race and discipline. We rescinded those policies. I was one of the signatures to the rescission, and we did it for a few reasons that we stated at the time. We rescinded them because they exceeded the authority under law because they added to what had been provided by statute and by Congress and because, in some cases, they encroached upon activities that are more appropriately conducted by local educators with a local knowledge that they have. People had come to me and to the Secretary and the commission with a variety of concerns. I have to tell you I was quite moved by parents of deceased students who were victims of the shooting who told me that they thought that, at their school and in other cases, students were being victimized as a result of school policies that had been changed to accommodate federal dictates.


I’ve also been moved by others who expressed concern that schools are trying too hard to get their numbers right, when it comes to discipline, rather than focusing on what is happening to individual children. By rescinding the guidance, that doesn’t mean that we changed the law or that we’re enforcing it any less forcefully. What it does mean is that we’re asking the right question. Was any child treated differently because of his or her race, rather than simply asking whether the school got their numbers right?


Third issue I’ll touch upon is Affirmative Action -- or perhaps I should say the use of racial preferences in admissions at selective and highly selective higher education institutions. It may have been the first thing that I did as a public-facing action upon being appointed Assistant Secretary of Education -- that I signed, together with a Department of Justice counterpart, rescission of seven Affirmative Action-type guidances by the prior administration and reinstated one guidance from the George W. Bush administration. The reason isn’t that we preferred the approach of the George W. Bush administration to the Obama-Biden administration but rather that the Assistant Secretary Stephanie Monroe letter had simply described the existing requirements under federal law, as in interpreted by the Supreme Court, whereas other guidances had gone beyond the requirements of Title VI, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.


So here, again, our goal is to enforce the statutes—Title VI in this case—in full, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, rather than placing a special gloss or set of interpretations or opinions upon them. And we’re doing this in various cases where we have complaints that are brought to us. I can’t go into the details of pending investigations, but we have had complaints filed against a number of institutions, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University. And we are pursuing investigations as appropriate under our case processing manual. Recent example of an investigation that we conducted in this area is Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.


There, we had a complaint, a long pending complaint that had been filed well before the beginning of this administration in which the complainant alleged that the university and some of its programs was using unlawful racial preferences. I believe that this case has been described in a prior teleforum, so I’ll just say, briefly, that we resolved the case with an agreement under which the institution would no longer use race in its medical school admissions, policies, and practices, unless and until its admissions practices can meet all of the compelling interest and narrow tailoring requirements. So here, again, the statute as interpreted by the Supreme Court has provided various rules. We are simply enforcing the rules provided by the Court.


I’m going to say just a little bit more about the approaches that we take, not just in these high-profile cases, but in the wide range of cases that we get. And in fact, we receive 10,000, in some years 12,000 and in some years more than 12,000 cases per year. So we have a very substantial volume of work beyond the kinds of cases that get into the newspapers. And to deal with these cases we have amended the case processing manual that we use. And we have amended in a couple of ways that have had, I would say, a very significant impact on enforcing the access of students and families to justice within OCR. Three of the main concepts in these changes have been to ensure that every student individual complaint is read individually.


There will be some times where the allegations and the evidence indicate that a more systemic approach is necessary in order to understand and address the matters that are brought before us. But in many cases, in order to provide proper enforcement, we simply need to focus on the student who appears before us and what their allegations are. We have also made adjustments to improve due process, such as making sure that recipients have access to the complaints that have been brought against them, as well as appeals that have been brought against them. And we also have a new provision to ensure that First Amendment considerations are kept in mind, both at the outset and throughout any investigation. This is not to say that we have jurisdiction to enforce the First Amendment but rather that we have a duty to comply with and not to violate the First Amendment.


Now, this is all very abstract, perhaps, but let me say that it has been quite dramatic in its impact on students and families around the United States. And, if you’ll bear with me, I want to give you just a few facts and figures that will demonstrate just how different things have been during the first two years -- first two fiscal years of the Trump administration—Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2018—as opposed to the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration. And I’ll tell you, the facts and the figures are not what people necessarily would understand based just on reading some of the media commentary.


During the first two years -- two fiscal years of the Trump administration, we resolved nearly 16,000 complaints per year. The prior administration had resolved only 8,200 complaints per year. We’ve resolved almost 3,300 more complaints annually than we have received; whereas, the prior administration resolved 1,262 complaints fewer than they received, which meant that they left us with a backlog of over 9,000 unresolved cases. Now, this is important because, when an administration takes on an approach to civil rights which is so impractical that they’re not able to close their cases, the result isn’t more civil rights protections for students but less of it.


If your child has faced a significant civil rights violation and that case sits around for years after years because the agency is not concerned about individual complaints and is concerned only about finding ways of approaching systemic social justice issues, that does no good for anybody. I would also say that we have been able to achieve this performance not because of more tax money thrown on it but because we found ways of handling these cases smarter -- again, focusing on the evidence that’s in front of us and the allegations that have been made. OCR staff is now resolving twice as many complaints per FTE—that is to say per full-time equivalent staff member—than during the prior administration. That’s 28 versus 14.


And let me say one more thing about that. I know that there are some people who will be skeptical, and they’ll say, “Well, if you have been resolving more cases than the prior administration, is that just because you have been indiscriminately closing them without giving them a fair review?” But the facts are quite the opposite. By focusing on the facts and the evidence, without just looking for systemic change, we have been able not just to be significantly more efficient but also to provide more impact for those students who’s rights actually have been violated. So for instance, we have resolved, annually, nearly 650 more complaints with changes, such as resolution agreements, then the prior administration. In other words, that’s a 60 percent increase in cases that have resulted in some action taken by a school or college or university to address a civil rights concern or violation.


This is quite to the contrary of some of the assumptions made by our critics on the left. But the fact is that, if you focus on the law and stay with the responsibilities that have been provided with the agency by Congress, we are able to provide better service for those students who bring actual evidence of civil rights violation. I believe that if your child had faced a violation of his or her civil rights over the last ten years, they would have been significantly better off if that violation had been investigated by this Trump administration than if it had been investigated by the prior Obama-Biden administration. And that is not because OCR employees were less concerned about civil rights in the past.


It is not because their intentions were bad. It is simply because we have approaches that are more compliant with our statutes and regulations. Our focus is on ensuring that the law is upheld. And that has meant, I believe, a better result for students and families around the United States. I think I’ve reached 20 minutes. And so at this point, if there are questions or comments, I would be happy to take any of them.


Dean Reuter:  Well, thank you very much. This is Dean Reuter. We’re speaking with Ken Marcus. We’ll open the floor to questions now. We’ve got one question pending. Before we go there, let me just ask one quick question, if I could, of you. And that is you mentioned the cases brought -- the numbers. You covered some statistics -- some impressive case closure statistics. I’m wondering how difficult it is and if you could speak to the process of bringing a case or filing a complaint, if you’re outside the Beltway or anywhere in the country, I guess. Go ahead.


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Thank you, Dean. I appreciate that. And our doors are always open if you or a family member or someone you know had their rights violated and, specifically, if they had faced discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, or membership in certain patriotic youth organizations. Please do not hesitate to file with us. You can look to our website, ed.gov, or simply google OCR, Department of Education. Within the Education Department OCR website, there is a section that you can click on filing a complaint.


That would appear near the bottom of the page. For many people, the easiest way is simply to file an electronic complaint using that system. Alternatively, if you prefer to make a phone call, the phone number is provided. Some people prefer emails. There are various ways to make complaints. But again, I would say the vast majority of our complaints are filed using the electronic complaint system at ed.gov.


Dean Reuter:  Terrific. One quick follow up on that, can complaints be filed anonymously, or do you have to identify yourself? Or is it enough just to name the program and some basic facts around the complaint?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  We do need to know who is filing the complaint in order to follow up with them. There are cases in which we are able to preserve the anonymity of the complainant by making it a John Doe or Jane Doe complaint. So we will maintain the confidentiality of the complainant. But of course, we need to know the name of the person. There are various rules and limitations on privacy and confidentiality, and those can be found on the website, as well.


Dean Reuter:  Very good. That’s terrific. Let’s turn now to our audience.


Prof. Colares:  Hello, Ken Marcus. This is Professor Colares as Cleveland Case Western Reserve University. Pleasure to hear you and the clarity with which you expounded the position of the current administration on the enforcement of civil rights in higher education. I have a quick question for you. The concept and deployment of macroaggression in university campuses has this restricted -- strongly restricted the speech of professors and of students. You coupled that with numerous reporting systems -- the campus reporting systems. You’ve seen a faculty dean reported for sometimes even expressing opinions that were not theirs, but they were part of the content of the class subject matter.


And they were just, basically, explaining a particular position, making it a particular time, etc. Is the Department of Education concerned with this particular concept and the particular way it’s been enforced and the particular way it’s been chilling speech by students, faculty, and even staff on campuses across the land?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Thank you, Professor, for that good question. It’s very good to hear from you. I think that that is a very important point that you are making. Let me start with OCR, and that is what I can speak best to. And then, I’ll speak briefly to other parts of the department, as well. It is only the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Education that I personally run. Our role, as I think I mentioned briefly, is not to enforce the First Amendment but simply to abide by it. And our concern this year, as embodied in the new OCR case processing manual, is to ensure that nothing that we do, either directly or indirectly, encroaches on the free speech of professors or students.


That is why we are being attentive both at intake when we receive complaints and then throughout the phase of an investigation to see whether there are complaints that have been brought to us or evidence that we have received that would bring us inappropriately into an area where we could be chilling the speech of either faculty or students. And we want to make sure that we are not doing that in our investigations and that universities are not doing that based on a misunderstanding of what our role is and what are regulations are. There is a “dear colleague” letter that had been authored by my predecessor, Gerald Reynolds, in 2003, which is available at the ed.gov OCR reading room, which spells out in more detail the commitments that this agency has had in the past and which has again now to making sure that we do not, either directly or indirectly, cause any suppression of speech.


That’s what I can say for OCR. Now, I do have colleagues who are looking at other issues. You may be aware -- in fact, I expect you are aware of President Trump’s Executive Order on this issue. That is being looked at by the Department, and there may be other things being said or that will be said in the future by other components within the Department of what can be done to ensure that the First Amendment is protected. But for my part, I want to begin with the notion that we ourselves need to make sure that we are not infringing upon speech.


Dean Reuter:  Now, let’s take our next call.


Caller 2:  The three changes you indicated about how the Department of Education is handling civil rights issues -- very interesting and fascinating to hear you discuss this. I’m interested to know how -- if this change in approach has been welcomed or resisted by the career employees?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Thank you for the question. I thought you were going to ask whether it’s been welcomed or resisted by the public.


Caller 2:  That would be interesting, too.


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Yeah. I would say I’ve been disappointed that the critics of this administration have been critics of these changes, I think, in some cases, in a knee-jerk manner and without truly understanding what we’re doing. So there are some who have been under the misunderstanding that our enforcement of civil rights is less forceful or complete when, in fact, it is, I would say, more complete in the sense that we are enforcing the laws in full rather than going either above or below. And I would say that OCR staff has been very strong, very hard working, and very effective overall certainly during the last year, which is the time that I have been here.


There are always, in any group, going to be some who are more outstanding than others. But I gave some statistics about how efficient and effective OCR staff has been over the last two years. That’s not just a matter of political appointees doing the work on our own. It is a matter of professionals within OCR staff around the country doing what they need to do, which is enforcing the law. And I believe that whatever their personal belief is, whether supportive or not, there has been a surprising amount of enthusiasm for some of the changes that we’re making.


And in particular, a number of staff members have come to me to express their dismay at the way in which the prior administration had twisted some of the laws under their jurisdiction and had asked career staff members to respond to schools in a way that seemed to be very different than what the law provides. So I can’t speak for OCR staff, but I will tell you that there have been many instances in which I have heard from OCR staff, who may or may not share the views of this administration, but who have been pleased that we are taking more seriously the requirements of law that we have at this agency. And I believe that it has enabled us to treat them more as professionals than they may have been treated in the past.


Dean Reuter:  Let’s turn to our next caller.


Lenore Ostrowsky:  Hi, this is Lenore Ostrowsky in Washington, D.C. I have a question for you which is whether you and your office have had occasion to make any decisions or to consider whether institutions -- non-profits, such as the college board and the NCAA, are purely private or whether they have characteristics that put them at least partially into a public stance, vis-à-vis by your office?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Lenore, it’s always good to hear from you, and it certainly was a pleasure to work with you when you were here at OCR several years ago. We have, from time to time and in the context of particular cases, looked at whether the actions of private entities are implicated in various of our statutes. I don’t think I can go into it -- in specific with any particular of the entities. I think that your question is based in part on your understanding that we have jurisdiction only over institutions that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.


So that gives us jurisdiction over pretty much every public school, as well as most public and private colleges and universities and some other entities, such as limited jurisdiction over some libraries. But we don’t have jurisdiction over students. Specifically, we protect their rights, but we wouldn’t go after a student. We don’t have jurisdiction over professors. We don’t have jurisdiction over all private schools, and we usually don’t have jurisdiction over third-party entities. But there are some circumstances in which we would, for instance, in some athletics contexts.


But I don’t think I can go over really either the hypothetical or the direct. If there’s some particular question or issue that your agency has with us, please go ahead and contact us that way. But it is certainly an issue that the agency has looked at from time to time over the last several years.


Dean Reuter:  We’ve got two questions pending now, so let’s continue on with our audience.


Eddie Grime:  Mr. Marcus, this is Eddie Grime in Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve got a question for you because I feel like I’ve seen references to the filing of complaints by people who are not necessarily students at schools but who are able to get information about alleged sex discrimination at the schools. Primarily, it’s differences in the resources devoted to all women’s programs or exclusion of men from various types of scholarships and things. And I just wonder is there a standing requirement, or are you seeing people that are able to research what’s happening at various public and private schools filing complaints about the school?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  That’s an excellent question because we do not have the sort of standing requirement that the federal district courts have. Anyone who has evidence of a violation of one of our statutes at a recipient institution can come forward to us with that evidence. And we have gotten cases that have been useful and important in the sense that they bring our attention to violations. And those have been very useful. But it is important to have evidence. And in some cases, that will require that you are able to connect those to a student, and in some cases, it will not.


You mentioned a particular kind of Title IX complaint, which is to say I think you are referring to complaints that some programs or scholarships or other activities at college or universities have been limited to women only, or it might be men only in a smaller number of instances. We’ve received complaints of that sort, and we have received complaints of that sort brought both by students and non-students. If you have evidence that there is a college or university that is violating the rights of either women or men, yes, we would consider a complaint. You can certainly use our complaint system. We do, in fact, have one of our 12 regional offices right in Kansas City near you.


Dean Reuter:  Once again, we’re down to our final question.


Ilya Shapiro:  Hi, Ken. It’s Ilya Shapiro from the Cato Institute. I want to broaden a previous question about microaggressions and just give you some space to talk about what you and your colleagues have been doing to promote freedom of speech generally on college campuses. That’s been threatened in all sorts of ways in the last couple of years.


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Well, thank you, Ilya. Always good to hear from you. Again, I feel that I can most effectively speak to OCR, which is my area of responsibility. There are others in the Department who are looking at other aspects of the freedom of speech and speech on campus. Our space, as you put it, is the enforcement of a particular set of statutes and not other Executive Orders. So OCR is not the component taking the lead, for instance, on an Executive Order on freedom of speech. There are other parts of the Department that are dealing with that and can better speak to it.


Our focus is in making sure that as we enforce our statutes – Title VI, Title IX, Title II of the ADA, Section 504 and so and so forth; that we are not violating the freedom of speech of students, faculty, staff or others and that we are not inadvertently causing others, such as college and university administrators, to violate free speech rights based on a misunderstanding of our statutes or regulations. So that is our focus here. President Trump certainly has spoken strongly in favor of freedom of speech on college campuses so that there are others within the administration who are working on those issues. Our focus at OCR is on our antidiscrimination statutes.


Dean Reuter:  Let me ask a follow up question, if I could, Ken Marcus. And that’s you’ve held forth a bit about the cooperation and buy-in you’re getting from the career staff. You’ve also mentioned you’re doing -- a lot of what you’re doing is through notice-and-comment rulemaking. I’m interested in your sense of making things -- your changes more rather than less permanent -- your three principles and getting complete buy-in from the staff, the notice-and-comment rulemaking. Are there other things you can say about the permanence of your work, even if there’s a future change of administration or when there’s a future change?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Well, that’s a good question because we’re always asking how we can make sure we have the greatest impact for America’s students. My main focus is on getting things right every day in the 10 or 12 or 14,000 cases that we receive. The primary way in which we potentially will have a long-term change is through the rulemaking process. That is not why we use the rulemaking process. We use the rulemaking process because that is a requirement of the law, and we know that there are other subsidiary benefits, such as the support for basic democratic principles, accountability, transparency, and the benefits of getting the comments and viewpoints of a very large number of citizens, including experts as well as participants in the educational system.


Of the things that I described, I would say that the changes to the case processing manual are not permanent. It is fairly common for each new administration to make changes. So it is not inconceivable that a subsequent administration would either improve upon or worsen the areas that we have worked on with the CPM. I would say that elections do matter. And what we’re doing in those areas are important for the way in which civil rights is handled in this administration. But it really is the formal rulemaking that we would anticipate would have a longer lifespan, and that would be the formal regulations.


Dean Reuter:  Let’s turn now to another question from the audience.


Sean Young (sp):  Hi, this is Sean Young, first-time caller. If someone submits an OCR complaint with data on racial disparate impact, do you generally require that the complainant also provide evidence that there wasn’t a legitimate justification for the racial disparate impact? Or will you guys generally take on that burden a little bit of investigating whether the impact has a legitimate justification?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Thank you for that question. Our case processing manual actually speaks to the use of statistical evidence, so I would suggest that, if you have a question or a concern about a possible case, that you actually look to that document itself, which is the best evidence of its own content rather than my description. But I would say, as a general matter, for a complaint-driven investigation as opposed to a directed investigation or a proactive compliance review, the agency has required, traditionally as well as currently, more than just the numbers.


There should be something else. And there are different sorts of something else that could be provided. It might be comparators. It might be evidence related to a particular student. It might be a particular policy that’s brought to our attention, etc., etc.


Dean Reuter:  Once again, down to a final question. Let’s check in with another caller.


Bill Bonner:  Yes. This is Bill Bonner. I’m an attorney outside Philadelphia. Has there been any consideration given to requiring public schools to post regulations that have been previously issued by the Department of Education regarding equal access, freedom of religion exercise, free exercise, so that students don’t guess or are given bad information by ignorant administrators?


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Well, that’s an interesting question. Some of what you’re asking about goes beyond, strictly and narrowly speaking, administration of that statutes that OCR has enforcement over. But some of it does connect to our statutes in some ways. Maybe the best thing I can do in response to that is to make sure that you are aware, if you’re interested, in the fact that we do have a civil rights data collection that provides a wealth of data on every local education agency within the country. So in some respects, it’s going to be district specific. And in some cases, it’s going to be school specific on a very wide range of issues.


And I would say that every couple of years or so, we look into the question of whether we are being sufficiently broad in the questions that we are asking or, alternatively, whether we are being overly burdensome. We want to make sure that the civil rights data collection provides the data that we need for our civil rights enforcement, that other departmental components need, and also that members of the public need in ensuring civil rights protection. There will be an opportunity in the coming months to comment on the civil rights data collection through OMB. OMB circulates our draft proposed civil rights data collection survey instruments every couple of years.


And the next opportunity will be coming up in the coming weeks or months. I can’t give you an exact time. But there are opportunities through OMB to comment on whether there are additional questions that you think we should be asking or, alternatively, whether some of the questions we’re asking either should be more finely tuned or whether some of them are simply too burdensome and unnecessary.


Dean Reuter:  Well, Ken Marcus, it looks like we’ve had our final question, but let me give you the chance to wrap up or express any final thought you might have.


Kenneth L. Marcus:  Well, thank you, Dean. It certainly has been a pleasure, as always, speaking with you and with the participants in this Federalist Society event. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity today not only to discuss the way in which we’ve enforced the civil rights laws but also the way in which the participants in this call can reach out to us. And I would say, once again, that if anyone on the call now is aware of any students whose rights are being violated at any public elementary or secondary school or at public or private colleges or universities, do not hesitate to reach out to us.


I’m referring specifically to violations of antidiscrimination laws within our jurisdiction. And again, we are at ed.gov. We are the Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, and we are certainly available to support students whose rights are violated and who need our assistance.


Dean Reuter:  Very good. Well, I can’t thank you enough on behalf of The Federalist Society for joining us today. I think this has been a particularly informative and interesting near hour we’ve spent. So I want to thank you personally and on behalf of the Society for joining us. I want to thank the audience as well for dialing in and for their thoughtful questions. A reminder to our audience to check your emails and monitor our website for upcoming teleforum conference calls. But until the next call, we are adjourned. Thank you very much, everyone.


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