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Check out my The Cut piece on Betsy DeVos and her terrible campus rape announcement

Betsy DeVos: An education crisis all by herself

By David Futrelle

Sorry I was out of commission yesterday! This is part of the reason why: my latest piece on The Cut about education secretary Betsy DeVos’s new campus rape policy, which turns out to be not really much of a policy at all.

Here’s the basic argument, minus most of the fun details about the terrible Men’s Rights activists and other reactionaries whose bad ideas she’s basically absorbed.

DeVos had been widely expected to use her speech today at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia to announce a rollback of the Obama administration’s guidance on how colleges should deal with accusations of rape. This she did, declaring the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter — requiring that colleges take rape accusations more seriously — basically null and void. …

So what does DeVos propose as a replacement for this “failed system?” She’s got nothing.

That’s right. After torpedoing the “Dear Colleague” letter, she offers college administrators precisely zero guidance on how the Department of Education expects them to fulfill their Title IX responsibilities. …

Instead of guidance, DeVos offers only a promise that her department “will launch a transparent notice-and-comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties in developing a better way.”

So the “era of ‘rule by letter’” is over, but the “better way” is yet to come. What exactly are college administrators expected to do in the in-between days? More to the point: what are victims of sexual assault on college campuses supposed to do?

Betsy DeVos literally has no answer.

It’s going to be a mess.

Naturally, the MRAs are thrilled. More on that tomorrow.

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Haise, the husky puppy
Haise, the husky puppy
3 years ago

Naturally, the MRAs are thrilled. More on that tomorrow.

Brace yourselves, everyone. Because Those MRAs must be over the moon from this… Sigh.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
3 years ago

I litteraly can’t even.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
3 years ago

I attended college long before the nationwide conversation about — or guidance regarding — dealing with accusations of rape on campus.

But I recall that on two separate occasions we got the news from our resident assistants that there was a rapist right now on our campus, making his way from location to location. Presumably, this was a guy who drove to our 30,000-student school, in a rural location, for the purpose of raping as many women as he could. I don’t recall that either guy got caught. That was a bit of college news that I made sure not to tell my mother.

kupo
kupo
3 years ago

Before reading, I assumed that her stance on college rape was on the “pro” side. I wasn’t wrong.

Croquembouche, extrenely mamal omen
Croquembouche, extrenely mamal omen
3 years ago

the Department’s Office for Civil Rights has issued letters from the desks of unelected and unaccountable political appointees.

Everyone knows DeVos was elected, and is accountable to… Those bears, I guess?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Many of those white women who voted for Trump probably have daughter at or bound for college. I wonder if they’re regretting this vote yet. Or are they happy to sacrifice their own children for the sake of racism and xenophobia?

dreemr
dreemr
3 years ago

This certainly smells like DeVos knows at least one “upstanding young man with a promising future” who was “falsely” accused of sexual assault.

She is even worse than 45.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I wasn’t trying to exclude victims who aren’t women. Nor am I letting fathers of college students off the hook for putting their kids at risk for their Trump vote.

I was just making the point that women who think they’ll be insulated from the misogyny of regressive administrations due to being white and middle or upper class are wrong.

dreemr
dreemr
3 years ago

@wwth – I’m sure those are all Christian virgin daughters of impeccable reputation. Everyone knows good girls don’t draw “that kind” of attention.

/sarcasm

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

Considering that DeVos’s only qualification for her current position was her ability to extract wealth from school districts, I’m sure her calculus went, “Can this enrich me? No? Is it from the Obama years? Yes? To the trash can with it!”

Ichthyic
Ichthyic
3 years ago

too depressing.

also depressing?

nobody is trying to blockade her in her house, or in any way stop her from doing this shit.

or anyone in this obviously corrupt and amoral administration.

and that’s even more depressing.

IgnoreSandra
3 years ago

CN: Discussion of sexual assault

So, you know little old me who’s been sexually assaulted a bunch of times? Two of them are times I qualify as rape, and both happened before I started transitioning, and both perpetrated by men.

One I bothered reporting, one I didn’t. Now, I’ve only ever done or been made to do sexual things while I was in college – I haven’t done anything in the two years since then other than being groped by men for no reason.

The current system failed me. This bullshit is just going to make that problem worse, especially for people who party a lot and drink and wake up on their friends’ couches and shit.

I can’t even wish anything on Devos because I’ve been hoping she sits on a nail every time she sits down for as long as I’ve been aware of her existence.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 years ago

Will we ever recover from what this administration is doing to our country?

IgnoreSandra
3 years ago

@Victorious Parasol

Only if we can put a true left-wing government with total control into play, and then call a constitutional convention, with enough members of that convention being ideologically acceptable that we end up with a document designed to ensure fairness for everyone and political stability and the rights of the commons over all business.

Other than that, we’ll fight these horrors for the next few hundred years, if the country even lasts that long.

FereldanMagister
FereldanMagister
3 years ago

Gotta “love” how MRAs, in their rush to hurt women, end up hurting the very men they claim to want to protect in the process. Because men are raped too, so this hurts rape victims of both genders.

Due process for the accused is important, innocent until proven guilty and all, and I have my issues with the way the Obama era policy was enacted on that front, but just getting rid of it and providing no guidance for colleges will only lead to confusion and problems for everyone.

Your Gay, Elfy, Bull Riding Friend,
The Fereldan Magister

CS
CS
3 years ago

If your policy has MRAs voicing their support, stop and ask yourself: will this policy make rapists happy?

If your policy will make rapists happy, stop and ask yourself: does this policy make it easier to rape and get away with it?

If your policy makes it easier to rape and get away with it, stop and ask yourself: is not putting this policy in action going to result in something like nuclear war or at least a massive number of deaths?

And if your rape-supporting policy isn’t even going to save lives, just stop. And if you somehow think it is, perhaps take a few minutes to brainstorm other possible solutions. Run the problem by a few preschool age children if you’re having difficulty. But find another solution.

Banananana dakry: Fat, Short-Haired, and Deranged
Banananana dakry: Fat, Short-Haired, and Deranged
3 years ago

@FereldanMagister

That’s because in their toxic little world a man that that gets raped must’ve either wanted it because all men are horny animals, or been insufficiently manly to prevent it from happening, therefore a beta cuck and therefore less human anyways.

For all their wailing about men getting raped they’re awfully quick to persecute and dehumanize the men to whom it actually happens, even more so than they are with women. And that takes some doing.

Getting into their mindset makes me ill.

PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

Oh, so we’re back to the “Perhaps it would be in your best interest to drop out until your attacker graduates; our hands are tied” method of dealing with college assaults, are we? Fabulous.

I fucking HATE this administration and every goddamned stupid enabling sychophant that voted for the POS that is helming it.

This, this is why I feel no pity for any Trump supporter and their fucking bullshit reasons for voting such a scumbag in.

And don’t think for a bloody minute that DeVos’s fucking timing wasn’t planned to coincide with Jr’s hearing today.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

And don’t think for a bloody minute that DeVos’s fucking timing wasn’t planned to coincide with Jr’s hearing today.

I wouldn’t be surprised if his little kumbaya moment with Shumer and Pelosi yesterday was calculated to distract from Jr.’s hearing today. I would believe literally anything of this administration at this point.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee, and all-around Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee, and all-around Intergalactic Meanie
3 years ago

The guy David quotes in the article advising college guys to record all sexual encounters “just in case”…recording sexual encounters – especially without the girl/woman’s knowledge or consent – is nothing new in that age group.

There was an old Inside Edition* episode that ran in the late 1980-1990’s that told the story of a high school senior who lost her virginity to a classmate who was acting a tad oddly during the entire encounter. They graduate, both go to the same college; the girl comes to find out that the reason the boy had been acting so oddly was because he was posing himself for a hidden camera, and had tape recorded the entire encounter. And then the boy went on to distribute the tape at the college they both attended, giving her the reputation of being a porn star to the entire student body. Poor girl only learned that the tape even existed, let alone was that widely distributed, several weeks into the school year, long after her reputation was trashed. Not a happy girl, to put it mildly.

And the current Secretary of Education wants stuff like this to be normalized?!?! D:

And now, for something completely different: did anyone here know that this TVTropes page existed:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Blog/WeHuntedTheMammoth

I didn’t, until I did a search for WHTM from the school’s computer, and that came up in the search results. I…have no idea what to think about this.

*An old TV tabloid show. Have no idea if it’s still around or not.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

In quasi-related news, the Justice Department has sided with the anti-gay baker in the SCOTUS case about that anti-gay baker. Surprise! But Trump is totally a better friend to LGBT+ than Hillary Clinton. He said so, so it must be true.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

It’s only a small step from reframing rape victims as troublemakers to “women really don’t belong on campus, their presence is too disruptive”. In college and in the workplace, men are presumed to be the natives. Women are interlopers who have to prove, over and over, their right to be there. Men never get asked “who’s looking after your children while you work?”

It will be interesting to see who continues to comply. Any college that gleefully throws the old Dear Colleague standard to the wind the moment the guidelines are lifted is not a place to entrust with your son or daughter’s safety.

FereldanMagister
FereldanMagister
3 years ago

As someone who hopes to work in education, specifically a high school history teacher, having an Education Secretary who knows literally nothing about the public education system, has never set foot in a public school in her live, and who clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about, is such a slap in the face.

It’s an insult to every teacher, every student, anyone who gives a damn about education. But, given the anti-intellectualism and hatred of teachers as pushers of “left-wing indoctrination,” I expect nothing less from the Tea Party-controlled GOP. Here’s hoping that the Trump Administration’s failure ends up forcing the party to it’s more moderate and progressive roots, a la Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

Your Gay, Elfy, Bull Riding Friend,
The Fereldan Magister

THE_SAMURAi
THE_SAMURAi
3 years ago

Wow, just wow. As if the misinformation on rape, especially on college campuses wasn’t already trash.

As a rape victim myself, this sickens me. Of course the MRA’s are happy about mental destruction. But, of course I was an distraction.

I was 11, not even on my period, and b cup boobs. So distracting/s

What makes it worse is that not even my family stood up for me, and I continue to be harassed my old men.

Sorry for the sob story, guys, girls, and nb peeps.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
3 years ago

@THE_SAMURAi

It’s alright. It’s what happened to you, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting others to hear your story–and you certainly did NOT deserve what happened to you.

I don’t have an appropriate .gif on hand, but insert hugs here.

@Redsilkphoenix, re: TV Tropes

Huh. Ironically, they deleted the pages for Fundies Say The Darndest Things, which is what led me here in the first place. Still, save trope names with ablist slurs in them, it’s not bad.

PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Perpetually Ignored, Invisible but Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if his little kumbaya moment with Shumer and Pelosi yesterday was calculated to distract from Jr.’s hearing today. I would believe literally anything of this administration at this point.

Oh, yes. And look, it worked…barely anyone is talking about Jr’s testimony.

I cannot believe this shit…there’s so much happening so fast, I can’t process it all.

And maybe that’s the plan.

THE_SAMURAI:

I’m sorry. So sorry.

Jules
Jules
3 years ago

I’m sorry, Samurai and Sandra, and to everyone here who’s been assaulted.

Your experiences are relevant; no need to say sorry for telling it like it is or call it a sob story. It’s a crime and wrong, one Devos is acting to make easier to get away with.

Viscaria the Cheese Hog
Viscaria the Cheese Hog
3 years ago

There’s a comment on The Cut saying (paraphrased) “rape is a crime! You should report it to the police, not to your school! Would you report a rape by a coworker to HR???” and it’s incredibly infuriating because, yes, it is perfectly reasonable to report an assault by a coworker to HR. Apparently this person thinks you should just report the crime to the police and then just keep working alongside your attacker like nothing has changed until such time as the cops drag them off to jail.

Dan Kasteray
Dan Kasteray
3 years ago

Looking back on it, i’m not sure that Margaret Atwood understood how disgusting and amoral a real life Betsy Devos could be. I know she was disgusted by the Phyllis Shadfly ladies in her time, but Betsy managed to find rock bottom and keep burrowing.

Bobbie La Bomb
Bobbie La Bomb
3 years ago

….some college-age MRAs claim they’ve sworn off college women entirely.

….and college aged women everywhere said, “Whew.”

Another win for the administration of the pussy-grabber-in-chief. Lookin’ out for his sexual assault peeps.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

re Betsy: Golly. Gag me with a canoe. Not surprising, but totally horrifying, and enraging.

In OT news, an uber-nationalist anti-muslim anti-immigration group which has hived off the Canadian Soldiers of Odin is planning a rally Sept 30 in Lacolle, PQ and in Ottawa:

The men-only anti-immigrant group, known as the Northern Guard, plans to show its colours in a rally on September 30

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Is it just me or is there a ridiculous number of natural disasters right now?

First Harvey and the south Asian typhoon. Then the Irma/Jose/Katia three pack. Now a 8.4 magnitude quake off the Mexican coast + tsunami fears

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/08/mexico-earthquake-warning-tsunami

The fuck?

Gijoel
Gijoel
3 years ago

Nope, fuck it. Just back from an old friend’s funeral, whose body I found. I’ll deal with this tomorrow.

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@wwth
Is this what the End Times is supposed to be like?

TreePerson
TreePerson
3 years ago

@Ooglyboggles
In a shadowrun group on facebook someone speculated that these are all the result of the “Great Ghost Dance” an act of magical warfare by the future “Native American Nations” who will be recognized as sovereign nations in 2018 with the signing of the “Treaty of Denver”,
its a little off from shadowrun cannon since the Great Ghost Dance was supposed supposed to cause a bunch of major volcanic eruptions last month.

@Gijoel
If you want them all the hugs are yours.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
3 years ago

@Gijoel
So sorry to hear about your friend. Take good care of yourself.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

signing of the “Treaty of Denver”

I always like to do a bit of pro bono legal work, so….

Dear Indians

Re: Treaty

Don’t trust the white man.

Regards

Alan

@ gijoel

Ugh, hugs if needed.

Moggie
Moggie
3 years ago

I don’t do hugs, but kittens for all who need them.

In other OT news, this is kind of hilarious:

https://thegeekygaeilgeoir.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/even-racists-got-the-blues/

Summary: US racists make T-shirts supposedly saying “Blue Lives Matter” in Irish (because reasons), but the word they chose for “blue” actually means (in this context)… “black”. Owned!

ChimericMind
ChimericMind
3 years ago

The Shadowrun timeline is running around 20 years behind. We were supposed to get the Supreme Court ruling that “corporations are people” back in the mid-90s, though we haven’t yet hit “and therefore have Second Amendment rights” yet. Also, I was privately lightly disappointed when a dragon didn’t eat an airplane back on Christmas Eve 2011.

Moggie
Moggie
3 years ago

Good snarky thread on one of DeVos’s houses:

https://twitter.com/davidcrespo/status/905858942579900417

Hambeast, disorderly she-tornado and breaker of windows
Hambeast, disorderly she-tornado and breaker of windows
3 years ago

It’s early and my first reaction to this was (as someone who attended that school in the mid 90s) wtf, GMU??

Then I did a little light googling and found that the DeVos speech didn’t go un-protested and I felt a little better.

Love, kittens, and hugs to all who need/want ’em.

Still Fiqah
Still Fiqah
3 years ago

Excellent job, David. And you were right. I see Paul “Women Have Supported Me My ENTIRE LIFE And I Take My Self-Loathing Out On All Of Them” Elam couldn’t WAIT to comment. Gross. But excellent job.

Also, @Moggie: BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!

Schadrach
Schadrach
3 years ago

@CS: “stop and ask yourself: does this policy make it easier to rape and get away with it?”

There are trees in the South notorious for being used to enforce policies that made it harder to rape and get away with it, by simply stringing up the accused without trial. Though I suspect you have a problem with it in that case because those were black men.

Hell, the core constructs of any just court system fundamentally “make it easier to rape and get away with it.”

Presumption of innocence “makes it easier to rape and get away with it” by requiring that some level of proof be offered behind an accusation.

Due process “makes it easier to rape and get away with it” by having to go through a whole bunch of steps to get from accusation to punishment.

Being able to cross-examine witnesses against you “makes it easier to rape and get away with it” because it gives that filthy rapist a chance to counter the accusation made against him.

Not permitting double jeopardy “makes it easier to rape and get away with it” by not letting you simply try and retry until you find the rapist guilty.

etc, etc, etc. The same applies to literally every other safeguard that keeps our system from punishing the innocent.

Remember, more than 2/3 of the people exonerated by the Innocence Project were convicted of sexual assault, and those are people who now have been proven not to have been the guilty party, by virtue of being excluded from the possibility of being guilty due to DNA evidence.

For another fun one, look up the case of Tracy West and Louis Gonzales III. She was dead set no the idea that he raped her, but it was physically impossible for him to have done so, unless he’s the secret identity of the Flash, even *after* she was allowed to change her account because it wasn’t lining up with evidence. We shouldn’t have bothered with all that “evidence” nonsense though, she accused him and that should have been enough.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/26/local/la-me-accused-20110626

***Literally, in your ideal world the right response to a woman accusing a man of rape is a lynch mob. Anything else “makes it easier to rape and get away with it”.***

Alex
Alex
3 years ago

Just found this site. Hi to everyone on here. I honestly can’t believe why there aren’t way more sites this, unless I’m not looking hard enough; it feels like every corner of the web is filled with those alpha male, red pill, disturbingly right wing type of sites. As far as the article goes, what do people expect from a Trump administration hire, who’s brother is Erik Prince, the owner of the murderous Blackwater now Academi mercenary army, who were instrumental in the George W. Bush era. If you google them, this is unfortunately par for the course.

A T
A T
3 years ago

The problem with this argument over Betsy DeVos` decision is that most of the protections that were suggested by the ”Dear Colleague” have failed quite miserably.

Reducing the standard of evidence necessary to expel someone is not effective and has gotten some people expelled on false charges. Moreover, one person actually committed suicide because of this.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/04/17/student-punished-by-title-ix-after-being-exonerated-attempted-suicide/

I’m all for trying to reform the way sexual assault is prosecuted, but this is not a hill to die on. People getting expelled for no valid reason is not a way to get conservatives on board.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 years ago

I’m all for trying to reform the way sexual assault is prosecuted, but this is not a hill to die on.

Too bad DeVos has no reforms in mind, and is consulting with the abusers’ lobby for ideas. Which is our actual problem, not your straw idea.

People getting expelled for no valid reason is not a way to get conservatives on board.

Why do we want “conservatives” “on board”?

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
3 years ago

+1 to PoM. Why would we want the conservatives to have *anything* to do with how we deal with sexual assaults ?

DeVos wouldn’t have got this article if she proposed something, anything, other than sweeping it under the rug.

Dimmy
Dimmy
3 years ago

AT: “…not a way to get conservatives on board.”

1. With respect, I don’t think you understand the purpose of this website. It’s not “WHTM: Let’s All Hold Hands and Sing Kumbayah with Kakistocrats”.

2. Also: if the threat of their own daughters being raped by frat boys, consequence-free, isn’t enough to “get conservatives on board”…then nothing will ever be enough. That’s a lost cause. We’ve got to focus on other methods now.

3. Also-also: [nyoom]

Jamborina Squib
Jamborina Squib
3 years ago

I’m with those who can’t even right now. My heart with my fellow survivors here.

Why do victims have to be the ones to always get the short end of the stick when people talk about due process. Yes, I believe in innocent until proven guilty, and sadly, this is the terrible crime that rarely leaves evidence that isn’t the victim’s testimony. But instead of throwing out an attempt to bring victims justice, they could enhance it as a tool to help everyone.

Fuck this all, I am so fucking done with the world right now. I think I need to go listen to Kesha’s “Praying” again.

Dimmy
Dimmy
3 years ago

Shadrach: HA HA HA oh wow

You actually compared protecting rape survivors to murder.

Probably should have run that one by Meshach and Abednego first, yeah?

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