The Department of Education has reportedly reached out to the notorious leader of a so-called “men’s rights” group, along with organizations founded to sound the alarm about the fake epidemic of false rape accusations on campus, to set up meetings with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
DeVos scheduled meetings for this week with advocates for survivors of sexual assault. She has been less than committal when asked if she would uphold Obama-era guidelines that catalyzed national action for addressing the ways college campuses handle accusations of sexual assault, saying there are “conflicting ideas” around the guidelines and that committing to uphold them “would be premature.”
In that spirit, as Politico first reported, the DOE also reached out to groups including the National Coalition For Men, SAVE: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, and Families Advocating for Campus Equality, according to Andrew Miltenberg, an attorney who represents students who say they were falsely accused of sexual assault or rape.
The National Coalition For Men, according to its website, is a non-profit “dedicated to the removal of harmful gender based [sic] stereotypes especially as they impact boys, men, their families, and the women who love them.” In a 2014 interview with Pacific Standard, Harry Crouch, the organization’s president, went to bat defending disgraced former NFL player Ray Rice, who was charged with aggravated assault after TMZ published elevator surveillance footage that showed him hitting his then-fiancé hard enough to knock her out.
“You simply can’t scapegoat one participant just because he has the penis,” Crouch told the magazine. “I’m not saying [Rice is] a good guy. But if she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit. They would say that’s blaming the victim. But I don’t buy it.”
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments was included in a 2012 round-up of misogynist internet spaces by the Southern Poverty Law Center for calling services for sexual assault survivors and domestic violence to be rolled back so that attention can focused on the falsely accused, whom the group views as the “true victims of abuse.”
Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) is a group founded by mothers who say their college children were falsely accused of sexual assault. Its website highlights the group’s quest to “change a system that serves no one adequately,” leaving only “unjustly dismantled lives and ruined futures in its wake.”
DeVos’ public schedule doesn’t list any meetings this week with any groups related to Title IX college guidelines. We’ve reached out the Department of Education for comment and will update this story if we hear back.