While attempting to chip away at Obama-era guidelines on campus sexual assault, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she won’t meet with the victims who were sexually abused by ex-Michigan State and Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday that after a discussion on DeVos’ proposed changes to Title IX, the education secretary turned down Slotkin’s invitation to meet with the survivors of Nassar’s abuse.
DeVos told Slotkin in a letter that it would be “inappropriate to speak to survivors” because the Education Department is currently investigating Michigan State’s handling of the shocking allegations of child abuse against Nassar.
“I have the utmost respect for the bravery displayed by the survivors of his despicable sexual assaults. Therefore I want to thank you for your request that I meet with Michigan State University Title IX survivor-advocates to hear about their experience and how to prevent sexual assault on college campuses,” she wrote, according to the report. “However, as you are no doubt aware, the law prevents me from doing so at this time.”
Slotkin blasted DeVos’ “legalistic response.”
“I am deeply disappointed that Secretary DeVos – a Michigander and someone in a position of great leadership and authority to protect students’ safety and access to education – has never met with a survivor of Nassar’s abuse, a tragedy that has shaken the community to its core in our state,” Slotkin said. “It appears she is ignoring the very lessons we have learned from the Nassar tragedy.”
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