A statement from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says it would be inappropriate for her to speak with Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse survivors after the Department of Education opened an investigation on MSU.
The statement was sent in response to a request by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin urging DeVos to meet with sexual abuse victims.
“I want to thank you for your request that I meet with Michigan State University Title IX survivor-advocates,” stated Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “However, as you are no doubt aware, the law prevents me from doing so at this time.”
In an earlier press release Slotkin slammed DeVos for her refusal to meet with Nassar survivors until after Title IX changes are finalized.
“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 added. “It appears she is ignoring the very lessons we have learned from the Nassar tragedy.”
Slotkin’s statement also says, DeVos has received strong criticism regarding her proposed rule changes to Title IX, which would make it more difficult for survivors to report instances of sexual assault or harassment by narrowing what constitutes a valid Title IX complaint.
“Rep. Sloktin needs to stop using Nassar’s heinous crimes as banter for a press release,” said U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Liz Hill. “By all accounts from those in the room, this hyperbolic press release does not reflect the actual tone or tenor of yesterday’s meeting.”
The Department of Education currently has two open investigations, Clery and Title IX, involving survivors.