University Enhances Sexual Assault Prevention, Reporting, and Investigation Resources

UT is restructuring and investing more resources in areas that handle sexual assault investigations, reporting responsibilities, education, and support and care for victims of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has committed $700,000 in additional recurring funds to add seven new positions and fund training and other operational needs.

All allegations of sexual assault, including sexual misconduct, will be investigated by the Office of Equity and Diversity. This is a change in process; investigations of complaints against students have previously been conducted by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will retain the responsibility for resolving complaints related to sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking involving students after the investigations have been conducted.

Cheek said universities across the country are adapting to better serve students and implement federal regulations and new laws that have been passed over the last five years.

“Our goal as the state’s flagship university is to be a leader in sexual assault education, response, and support and to continue to evolve our framework for serving students based on best practices, new research, and shared knowledge,” Cheek said.

The Office of Equity and Diversity is adding a senior deputy Title IX coordinator and two Title IX investigators. They will join Jenny Richter, associate vice chancellor and the university’s Title IX coordinator. Another position will be added later this year to focus on training, prevention, and support for employees.

The Center for Health Education and Wellness added a position to focus on prevention and education of sexual assault. The center also has received a $300,000 federal grant to add a sexual violence prevention coordinator to focus on prevention, curriculum, and training for a three-year period.

 Athletics will be contracting with a nonprofit agency for two full-time wellness coordinators to develop, organize, and deliver programming specifically for student athletes about sexual assault, drug and alcohol awareness, managing stress, and other key wellness topics. This will enhance and complement existing training and programming.

Several positions have been filled, some are being advertised, and some are still being developed.

The new positions are:

  • Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator—Office of Equity and Diversity
  • Title IX EEO Investigator—Office of Equity and Diversity
  • Title IX EEO Investigator—Office of Equity and Diversity
  • Education and Outreach Coordinator—Center for Health Education and Wellness
  • Wellness and Prevention Coordinator—Contract position with UT Athletics
  • Wellness and Prevention Coordinator—Contract position with UT Athletics

For more information on the university’s policy and other resources, visit the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking website. For information on student programming and wellness initiatives, visit the Center for Health Education and Wellness website.

CONTACT:

Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, karen.simsen@tennessee.edu)