August 14, 2020
By Hélène Barthélemy
E-mails shared with The Nation reveal a deep collaboration between the Department of Education and organizations that believe in a crisis of false rape allegations.
In July 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a summit on Title IX, the 1972 federal statute that bans discrimination on the basis of sex at universities. Inside the Department of Education building, she met with the National Coalition for Men Carolinas (NCFMC), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), three organizations that claim there is a crisis of false rape allegations against male college students. Outside, despite the sweltering heat in Washington, D.C., more than a 100 people rallied, hoping to prevent the department from rolling back protections for students who are victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. “Dear Betsy,” one sign read. “Help end rape culture, don’t perpetuate it.”
Nearly 3,000 pages of e-mails obtained by the anti-corruption organization Democracy Forward through a Freedom of Information Act request and shared with The Nation reveal that the July 2017 meeting was part of a much deeper collaboration between the DOE and these men’s rights groups. From May to September 2017, the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights partnered with NCFMC, FACE, and SAVE to develop regulations on campus sexual assault. E-mails make clear that staffers from these organizations participated in conference calls, offered legal advice, and met with high-level employees at the Department of Education. The DOE even hired the main funder of SAVE to help draft new regulations and teamed up with FACE to try to produce supportive op-eds.
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