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Betsy DeVos Watch: Investigations or Plausible Deniability at MSU?

March 2, 2018

On Monday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that her office would begin a new investigation into Michigan State’s Title IX compliance, in light of the Dr. Larry Nassar revelations.

DeVos stated:

“This new Title IX investigation will look at systemic issues in the University’s handling of sex-based incidents involving Dr. Larry Nassar. Our Office for Civil Rights team will be in East Lansing shortly where they will join the Federal Student Aid team already on site. FSA is currently performing a Clery Act compliance examination regarding MSU’s reporting of crimes committed on campus.”

Considering that Title IX regulations have been weakened under Secretary DeVos, what will this “new” investigation look like and what will it mean for the numerous victims of Dr. Nassar and all of the other cases that were swept under the rug, involving athletes from the MSU football and basketball programs?

We know that Secretary DeVos met with several anti-feminist men’s groups for input on how to move forward on Title IX issues. All of these groups not only deny the current levels of sexual assault on college campuses, they believe that men are too often being blamed for committing sexual assault.

Some of the organizations that Secretary DeVos met with that influenced how she would approach Title IX issues were groups like National Coalition for Men Carolinas, which is a chapter of a national organization. This organization’s website states the following:

Men are easy targets, often staying silent while being publicly attacked by radical feminists and the media. But that is changing. Men are uniting and standing their ground against anti-male hatred and directed discrimination.

Besides their anti-feminist propaganda, one thing that the National Coalition for Men does is publish photos, names, and biographical details of women who have accused men—falsely, the National Coalition for Men insists—of rape. Its members routinely bring lawsuits against women-only networking groups and social events, crying discrimination.

Another group that influenced Secretary DeVos on Title IX policy is Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (Save). SAVE is another anti-feminist organization that believes that campuses are experiencing “rape culture hysteria.”

According to a recent article on, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified SAVE, which opposes rules that prevent defense attorneys from entering evidence of a survivor’s sexual history in a rape trial, as a planet in the “manosphere” of misogynist online forums. SAVE lobbies against domestic violence protections, claims that the “leading reason” for abuse is “female initiation of partner violence,” and calls falsely accused perpetrators the “true victims of abuse.” 

One addition group that met with Betsy DeVos while she was revising Title IX policy was Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE). The FACE website is full of videos, commentary and links that make the claim that too many men on college campuses across the US are being falsely accused of sexual assault and rape.

On top of the fact that we find it rather hypocritical for Secretary DeVos to be investigating Title IX compliance at MSU, since her office is influenced by anti-feminist and men’s rights groups, she will be collaborating with former Michigan Governor John Engler.

Engler was the Republican Governor in Michigan when Betsy DeVos was Chair of the Republican Party in Michigan. Plus, as interim President at MSU, Engler has hired John Truscott, his media spokesperson while he was Governor, to handle the PR component of the MSU crisis around the massive amount of sexual assault cases.

Does anyone really believe that with DeVos, Engler and Truscott that there will be much transparency or integrity to the MSU investigations?

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