colleges

Betsy DeVos Names First Amendment Crusader to Prominent Higher Ed Role

Adam Kissel has a history of advocating for free speech and due process.

|

Adam Kissel
Twitter

In what might indicate a significant shift in federal priorities for college oversight, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has picked a civil libertarian activist as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs.

Adam Kissel served for five years at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization devoted to trying to preserve free speech and due process on college campuses. FIRE has long battled campus censorship efforts. It has also opposed colleges' turn toward internal disciplinary methods that do not have much respect for due process or for students' rights to defend themselves against claims of sexual misconduct. Those methods were encouraged by the Obama-era Department of Education, so Kissel's appointment may be a sign of a significant shift.

Kissel left FIRE in 2012 and went to work for the Charles Koch Foundation. Picking him for her team suggests that DeVos has an interest in civil liberties on campus. Maybe she should think about ways to encourage her boss in the White House to show more interest in off-campus freedoms.

To read more about Kissel, go here. To see an outraged response by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), who apparently objects to using the same legal standards to prove sexual misconduct in college courts and in ordinary courts, go here.

NEXT: Philly Family Sues City Over Fatal Police Shooting

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Kissel left FIRE in 2012 and went to work for the Charles Koch Foundation.

    Oh, Team Blue is not going to be happy about this at all.

    1. They would have preferred she went to Soros.

      1. And the cosmic struggle continues. A giant Kochtopus battles a huge, … a huge…… Sore Ass?

    2. This is the first Hit & Run post that made me wish there was a Like button.

  2. So not only is she a would-be bear killer, she’s a rape apologist, too?

  3. “Maybe she should think about ways to encourage her boss in the White House to show more interest in off-campus freedoms”

    Such as? What freedoms has the President infringed upon, yet?

    1. The freedom to be proud of America and her president.

      1. Point taken.

        Though, I’m not sure the last time you’ve been proud of the president. Crying wolf all the time is a good way to get everyone to ignore you when a wolf actually comes.

        1. Plus, it’s hard to trust the people warning about a wolf when they write gibberish like this: “But the E.U. plan is currently much more limited than what the ruling party in the U.K. is demanding. The European Union wants to force companies only to delete videos that contain hate speech or incitements to violence.”

          Only ‘hate speech’. Nothing wrong with that

          1. I’m not sure why you are interpreting that simple statement of fact as an endorsement of the EU plan for internet censorship. I read it as saying “the EU plan is bad enough, the UK plan is even worse”.

            1. At no point during the article, does he refer to it as ‘bad’. In fact, he uses the EU regulation to contrast against the Tory proposal. For a publication that thrives at virtue signaling, is it too much that they virtue signal every once in a while in support of free speech?

              There was even a virtue signal against Trump in this article. How hard would it have been to write the sentence as “But the equally horrible E.U plan…”?

              1. I have never seen anything in Reason that is not fully in support of free speech and free press, so I think it’s safe to assume that they are writing from the perspective that all infringements on free speech are bad and that it goes without saying. Have you ever seen any Reason writer write anything in support of censoring or criminalizing hate speech? If I’ve missed that, I’d like to know.

                1. Fair point. The only counter that I could make is that this publication has been rather restrained in its criticism of violence being brought upon people for voicing ‘icky’ ideas (if even mentioned). And the definition of ‘icky’ has been reduced from Richard Spencer to Charles Murray.

                2. I’ve seen a few articles of the vein, “sure free speech is a right, but…..”

                  and Shikha rationalized anti-free speech violence in at least one article.

              2. You should end all your comments with “Not a complaint, just an observation.”

                1. “Just sayin”

              3. If only … if only somebody had done a separate blog post about that terrible EU censorship plan and if only he had linked to it in the blog post you are bitching about.

                If. Only.

                1. God damn it, Shackford. I swear that link wasn’t there when I clicked on the article the first time.

    2. As the chief executive, he has presided over the infringement of a whole lot of freedoms, just like most every president has done. Showing interest in freedoms would require that he do something about those infringements.

  4. This is why women shouldn’t be allowed out of the kitchen. Everything gets all emotional and then dinner is late.

    1. OMG, you are hilarious. Guys, how are we gonna compete with this guy’s wit?

  5. Progs are complaining.

    This means he’s a good choice.

    1. So far DeVos is my favorite cabinet pick. She has yet to do a single thing I disapprove of. All my friends and family, of course, hate her.

      1. So you LIKE the idea of public taxdollars funding religious education in violation of the Constitution? Really?

        1. So you LIKE the idea of public taxdollars funding religious education in violation of the Constitution?

          Please be more specific about what you are referring to.

          1. you really haven’t heard of Devos’ efforts to use public taxdollars to fund religious education? Handing over ‘vouchers’ of taxmoney to her evangelical buddies who teach children antiscience nonsense like young earth creationism? Really?

        2. Absolutely. If the government is going to fund anti-religious ideas, why should it not fund religious idea? With equal fervor of course.
          Please cite the constitutional section you refer to. Do not cite personal letters from individuals.

          1. So you think refraining from promoting theism is equivalent to promoting atheism?

            The establishment clause of the first amendment says that ANY government action that serves to promote or endorse ANY religion is unconstitutional.

            The SCOTUS has ruled: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa.” (330 US 1)

            Maybe you can show me where in the Constitution We The People have given authority to the government to promote or endorse SOME people’s religious views as the ‘officially correct’ ones…..

        3. I have no problem with it at all. Just like I have no problem with G.I. Bill vouchers being used at religious schools. Or earned income tax credit tax dollars being used to attend religious training. What I want is for tax dollars to be spent productively. Given a choice between someone using them to attend our often woeful public schools or using them to actually get an education, I’ll take the latter any time. And I don’t think it’s a violation of the Constitution. This is not respecting an establishment of religion.

          1. So you want to eliminate public schools, and go back to when only the ‘nobles’ could afford to educate their children, while the peons were forced into brute labor? Really? Going back to that old Calvinistic ‘if you’re poor it must be because you pissed God off’ nonsense, eh?

            Yes, unless you really think that Betty and her corporate cronies are going to allow a Muslim Madrass to profit from these government vouchers, this is respecting the establishment of religion. You know that only Betty’s Buddies, evangelical faux-Christians all, will be the ONLY people who will be profiting from this blatant attempt to fund religion with taxdollars.

            When the government gives people CASH – yes, that’s their cash to do with as they please – whether they want to put it in a collection plate, or in a stripper’s garter. But the government should NEVER be in a position to cut a check to a religious institution. Ever. For any reason.

            1. This is one long non sequitur.

              And yes, as libertarians, elimination of public schools is a principled position. It does not follow that then only the “nobles” would then educate their children. Your argument is void of logic.

        4. Federal voucher programs are not ideal. This should be a local issue.

          However, the department of education’s existence at all is in violation of the constitution. Unfortunately though, it’s removal is politically unpalatable.

          I don’t see a problem with them returning money to people who do not use any funding the dept of Ed apply to k-12 for use on tuition for a private school of your choice.

          Even better to just not take the money in the first place, or just cut you a check.

          It speaks to two principles:

          1) I reject the premise that money collected from citizens belong to te government and at te same time that the services they provide you are “free”. They are not “free”, they are “paid for” (involuntarily).

          2) It is possible to have an ideal (no dept of ed at all) and a policy that is a step in the right direction (school vouchers). Provided that you continually push for further progress toward the ideal after you get the first inch.

          (Side-note)
          Also, it seems like the religion thing is a red herring to get people animated against it. There are plenty of non-religious schools as well as the fact that just a because a school is a religious school doesn’t mean that it’s not a better school or that all people that chose to go there prescribe to the institution’s set of beliefs.

          1. Please point out the article in the Constitution which prohibits the formation of the Department of Education.

            Or explain why the creation of that department doesn’t fall into the Article1, Section8, Clause1 power of Congress: “To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States”

            Having an educated population is crucial for a democratic republic. Ensuring same is clearly part of providing for the general welfare of the United States.

            N_J

            1. Because it is not among the enumerated powers granted to government, and the “general welfare” clause doesn’t mean what you imply it means.

              1. That is what the oligarchs want. An uneducated people that accepts any crap that is thrown on them or demanded of them, and uses it as an excuse to thank their god for the opportunity to suffer now so that they can enter heaven later and be happy in eternity, or for the chance to be closer to god or whatever they believe.

                The public schools need massive reform, but that means we should have more charter and magnet schools, and more affordable non secular private schools that shows how private industry can do it much better than the government, not more indoctrination.

                For libertarians who complain about indoctrination, it’s all the same whether it’s the government or religion. Neither one teaches you to be a critical thinker.

    2. Progs are complaining.

      That’s all I need.

      1. They should stop complaining and go back to crying. That’s more fun to watch.

        1. Silent weeping is really the most pleasing.

        2. I miss the “guys, I’m scared” in hush tones….like the beginnings of a horror movie where the victims are all annoying smug liberal arts majors. Pass the popcorn!

  6. Kissel left FIRE in 2012 and went to work for the Charles Koch Foundation

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. 1st amendment = racist amendment.

    1. Free speech = Hate speech. Use my pronoun! How about a couple of adjectives instead?

      1. Just in time. Harvard is revoking the admission offers of students who Harvard deems used hateful and racially-charged speech. Nothing illegal was said according to the Harvard Crimson.
        Harvard
        So, Harvard takes federal money but does allow incoming students to exercise their 1st Amendment right to free speech. Ooops, I smell some lawsuits.

  8. Is it going to be this way at HyR as long as Trump’s in: “Oy, what a doofus president! How lucky could he get to keep stumbling accidentally into good things to do?”

    1. He, he has had a mistake-free presidency so far. Zero problems.

    2. I imagine it will be, as to all appearances we have essentially elected a pair of dice to be president. But it’s a lateral move at worst.

      1. we have essentially elected a pair of dice to be president

        I’m stealing that.

      2. At least this one has a pair.

  9. Good news from the Trump Administration: Ill winds and silver linings! Sounds good to me!

  10. Adam Kissel served for five years at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

    Never forget: Matt Welch (and many cucks like him) said Hitlery Kkklinton would be a “slightly less bad” president than Donald J Trump.

    LIBERTARIAN MOMENT

    #MAGA

    SIV Was Right

    1. You accidentally posted this comment to Reason and not Brietbart. Yeah, this is good. But, not ‘bold font’ and ‘italic font’ good

      1. Look, SIV needs all the good news he can get right now, okay? Everywhere he looks his lifestyle is under attack.

  11. “I am deeply troubled this hire is another concerning sign that President Trump plans to make it more difficult for survivors of campus sexual violence to get justice. Campus sexual violence is an urgent public health threat nationwide, and rolling back steps that have empowered more survivors of sexual violence to come forward will only send this problem back into the shadows.

    Campus rape is going to be legal again! FINALLY!

    1. Grab its motherfucking leg !

    2. rolling back steps that have empowered more survivors of sexual violence to come forward

      I’ll bite: What are these “steps”?

      1. Guilt by accusation. Accuser treated like superhero.

  12. Campus sexual violence is an urgent public health threat nationwide

    I find it interesting that this narrative persists despite it having been shown time and time again that off-campus sexual assault is actually the bigger problem.

    You would think that someone on Team Blue would be struck by the tone deafness of only making a big deal about sexual assault of college students.

    It reminds me of the 80s when the authorities would freak out that “these drugs aren’t just in the ghettoes anymore – they’re affecting people who matter!”

    1. There’s also the tiny matter that none of it is a “public health threat”.

  13. There is plenty of censorship coming from the right on campuses. It goes both ways. Hopefully he will have all freedoms in mind?

    1. Cite your source.
      Reliable and verifiable source.

  14. Libertarians are OPPOSED to Devos’ agenda to funnel taxpayer money to religious schools through these so-called ‘voucher’ schemes, right?

    1. You’re aware that taxpayer money already goes to religious schools, right?

      You’re taking the (accurate) statement “DeVos would allow parents to put their children into schools that are religiously affiliated” and turning it into the (highly loaded and partisan) statement “DeVos wants to funnel taxpayer money to religious schools through these so-called ‘voucher’ schemes.”

      In other words, you are being dishonest.

      If you have an honest point to make it, please make it.

      1. If you have an honest point to make it, please make it.

        I hope you’re prepared to wait a long, long time.

        1. I thought I was, but now I’m starting to get tired.

          *wanders off*

      2. No, taxpayer money does NOT already go to elementary and secondary religious educational institutions. Or at least, not for tuition. Yes, some states provide transportation to religious schools. Some don’t.

        Any parent is currently ALLOWED to send their child to any educational institution they’d like, religious or otherwise. Parents are even ALLOWED to home school their children.

        These voucher schemes started as a way for racists whites to avoid having to send their precious little snowflake princesses to the same schools as them dang Naggers after racial segregation was outlawed. And are continuing to serve that same function.

        N_J

    2. Many Libertarians are opposed to taxpayer money being used for education. Its not in the Constitution. Since taxpayer money for education is probably not going away, the money should be used as parents wish. This includes religious schools. This should include people who home school.

      1. This^…..I went to a Catholic school for 8 years, learned some religion and how to read and write. Not religious anymore but still know how to read and write. Government schools are failing re teaching reading and writing yet the still teach love of the state. Nothing wrong with this model, amirite?

        1. No, only SOME public schools are failing – the ones where the POOR people live.

          Go figure.

          Public schools in WEALTHY districts are doing fine, running robotics teams and the like.

      2. Yes, it is in the Constitution. It’s part of “provide for the common defence and general Welfare of the United States”

    3. Which religion? There are the Right Wing Christianofascist schools and the Left Wing Communofascist schools. One tine running from Hitler to Stalin is all the dementions “we” need… unless of course you want tax collectors selling homes at auction to fund Islamofascist schools, right? That’s what happens when the universe of discourse is tainted by added variables.

    4. Ah, the unidementional bomber is back, and STILL hasn’t read the short platform posted at LP.org
      The libertarian platform is 4% as wordy as the combined platforms of the DemoGOP kleptocracy. Anyone who gives a damn what we’re up to has read it. It takes 20 minutes to read even if you move your lips and trace the lines with a finger.

      1. Thank you for reminding people of the LP stance. Free market should be allowed to run schools, and the best schools with the best results and lowest pricing would all succeed. Government and religious indoctrination are both brainwashing.

        Bob Luddy is a libertarian who has created some great private schools in NC – Thales Academy, that is doing a great job educating children at a more affordable price than the government, and they are not limited by requiring a degree in education over a degree in the specific subject matter and skill at teaching students and fostering critical thinking skills.

  15. Adam Kissel served for five years at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization devoted to trying to preserve free speech and due process on college campuses. FIRE has long battled campus censorship efforts. It has also opposed colleges’ turn toward internal disciplinary methods that do not have much respect for due process or for students’ rights to defend themselves against claims of sexual misconduct.

    This sounds like good news. Although what will Robbie write about then?

  16. I wonder why Progressives think it’s vital to send more and more women to college…where they will be raped FAR more often than in the least safe city on Earth.

    Ironically, the colleges and unsafe cities are run by Progressives, so it’s probably not a good idea to note that,

  17. The best thing that could happen to American education is any group of students trying to silence opinions of others should be expelled. These students are so stupid that the very right they are wanting to suppress is the reason they have the right to protest.

  18. Fair point. The only counter that I could make is that this publication has been rather restrained in its criticism of violence being brought upon people for voicing ‘icky’ ideas (if even mentioned). And the definition of ‘icky’ has been reduced from Richard Spencer to Charles Murray.

    My recent post: Local Business Bundle Vol. 2 Review

    Sent from Best Jvzoo Review Site

  19. So why not have the FIRE activist debate the HELP nazi at Evergreen College?

  20. I can talk about the importance of education forever, however the fact will always remain: there’s a big necessity in education itself. So here in the school you can listen to educated people, do assignments that develop your writing, logical or arithmetical skills. Sometimes though students can’t handle them, but they can always turn to professional essay companies. Just look for them at this website. Education is not only certain volume of knowledge you’re getting in the school/university, but also your personal development as a human. Therefore, the quality of education matters a lot, although most of the times it also depends on your personal attitude.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.