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Betsy DeVos Will Meet With Men’s Rights Activists to Discuss Campus Rape

A lot of Trump’s cabinet appointments feel like they were the product of a bet that he couldn’t find the absolute worst person for every job. And maybe none feels quite as ill-matched for her position as Betsy DeVos. This is an education secretary who has no knowledge of or experience with the public school system. Her job is to oversee federal education policy, but her answer to everything—including issues of discrimination—is to leave it up to the states. Her pick to head the department’s civil rights office has a history of complaining about reverse racism. She has straight-up said she doesn’t think her job should exist. Her entire existence would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

DeVos is a very real threat to the protections her department is designed to offer to students. Her “leave it to the states” mentality and love of voucher programs are dangerous for LGBTQIA students, students with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.

Politico is now reporting that DeVos is setting up meetings on Title IX guidance, which many are seeing as an indication that she plans to roll back Obama-era protections for college sexual assault survivors. Specifically, she’s expected to address the “Dear Colleague Letter” which sets a standard procedure all colleges and universities receiving federal funding must follow when addressing allegations of sexual assault.

Those fears are bolstered by the fact that in addition to groups aimed at supporting survivors and fighting campus rape culture, she’s also meeting with groups that want to limit the rights of survivors.

Among the groups she’s meeting with is SAVE: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. Despite their misleading name, their actual goal is “working for evidence-based solutions” to end sexual assault, meaning they’re focused on preventing false accusations, not on protecting victims. She’s also meeting with Families Advocating for Campus Equality, an “advocate for equal treatment and due process for those affected by sexual misconduct allegations on campus,” and the National Coalition for Men.

The National Coalition for Men is famous for, among other things, suing the Selective Service in an attempt to extend the military draft to include women, and for supporting the much-hated Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act, which removed protections for LGBTQ people. They are also known to publish the names and pictures of rape and assault survivors, branding them “false accusers.” All of this is in service of their mission to “[raise] awareness about the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys.”

The NCFM is known for arguing that rape and domestic violence are over-reported, and that false rape accusations, combined with a “radical feminist” legal system, poses a real threat to men everywhere. The group’s president has taken the stance that in cases of abuse and assault, “often the woman initiates violence herself.” These are the people Betsy DeVos wants to let influence her decisions on federal standards set to address sexual assault on college campuses.

Because every time we think Betsy Devos can’t be worse for the American education system, she goes ahead and proves us wrong.

(via Broadly, image: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.