Yesterday, BuzzFeed News’s Tyler Kingkade reported that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos received not one, but two letters from U.S. senators ahead of her Thursday meetings with organizations representing victims of sexual violence. Those meetings were set up by the Department of Education so that it could review Obama-era policies on how colleges handle campus sexual assault investigations, some cases of which are ignored for years. The letters’ authors, Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, noted concerns about how DeVos’s department, and, as a proxy, the Trump administration, has so far approached the issue of campus sexual assault as one to be debated versus cured.

Today marked the first time DeVos has met with sexual assault survivors. Murray’s letter tackled DeVos potentially narrowing the scope of what qualifies for investigations under Title IX laws. She believes narrowing the scope will eventually undermine the rights and visibility of sexual assault survivors. Murray also criticized comments made by Candice Jackson, the acting head of the department’s Office for Civil Rights, which investigates how schools comply with Title IX. Jackson told the New York Times that nine in 10 campus rape accusations fall into the category of “we were both drunk, we broke up and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.“

"I am deeply disturbed by this message coming from the person you have selected to lead Office of Civil rights,” Murray wrote. “This suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of campus sexual assault and suggests that the Office of Civil Rights is not prepared to take accounts from survivors seriously.”

Jackson, a rape survivor herself, later apologized for her statement, admitting her message was “flippant” and that “all sexual harassment and sexual assault must be taken seriously.” Because DeVos plans to decrease OCR staff, Murray wrote the DeVos is “outright neglecting ED’s civil rights and responsibilities.”

Casey’s message to DeVos criticized the secretary’s decision to meet with a branch of the National Coalition for Men, which brings “attention to the very real and damaging war on men that is being waged in classrooms, in the media, in our courts, on college campuses, in the workplace, even in places of worship,” per the group’s website. According to the BuzzFeed, the group speaks for “students who have been falsely accused and disciplined under Title IX.”

DeVos allowed the men’s rights group as much speaking time as assault survivors, setting up the two as adversaries and turning the issue of campus sexual assault into a he-said, she-said debate. Considering the National Coalition for Men has suggested that half of all sexual assault reports are lies, Casey is right in asserting that the group’s inclusion is "a slap in the face to the victims of campus sexual assault.” In reality, studies have found that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college.

Despite concerns that the department appears to be sympathetic toward MRAs, Cynthia Garrett, an attorney and board member of Families Advocating for Campus Equality, says it would be difficult for the department to completely overhaul the way it handles campus sexual violence investigations. She told BuzzFeed, “Title IX has its place. [Betsy DeVos is] not going to stop enforcing the sexual assault issue, her approach is just going to be more cooperative. She’s trying very hard to understand both sides, and she’s a smart woman.“

While some are quick to dispute Garrett given DeVos’s increasingly troublesome track record on protecting marginalized students, in 2017, it’s becoming more and more impossible to silence sexual violence victims, even when courts rule against them. The election to high office of a man who proudly muttered “Grab her by the pussy” was a massive setback in how this country handles sexual assault, but the conversation is now part of our national political discourse. DeVos would be smart to distance herself from her boss on this issue, the first step of which would be to push back on men who answer to allegations of harassment by claiming they’re the real victims.