UT Hosts Inaugural SEC Title IX Coordinators Summit

About two dozen Title IX coordinators and staff members from 11 of the 14 SEC universities gathered earlier this week at the Conference Center for the inaugural two-day SEC Title IX Coordinators Summit.

Jennifer Richter, associate vice chancellor and director of the Office of Equity and Diversity, is UT’s Title IX coordinator and has been working with the OED staff to create this meeting for the past two years.

“We felt strongly that our institutions are so similar in size, programs, and goals and objectives that it would be beneficial for all of us to meet and discuss how we carry out our Title IX responsibilities,” she said.

Chancellor Beverly Davenport spoke to attendees to open the conference on April 3. The group also heard presentations on litigation in college and university sexual assaults by Matthew Scoggins, general counsel for the university, and on the role of law enforcement by UT Police Department Chief and Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Safety Troy Lane.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the campus community was invited to Hike the Hill in Heels at Thompson-Boling Arena, also on April 3. The event was moved indoors because of inclement weather.

In her remarks at Hike the Hill in Heels, Davenport spoke about how the entire campus community is responsible for helping to prevent sexual assaults. She said sexual assault is not only a health and wellness issue, but is also a student success issue.

“Without creating a culture and a place where students can come and feel welcome and safe . . . students can’t thrive and they can’t succeed,” she said.

In the second day of the Title IX conference, small groups discussed office structure and staffing, Title IX policies, and record keeping and notifications. Another session of small-group topics included training and education, care and support, investigations and adjudication.

“Without a doubt, the meeting was a success. We had excellent conversations and speakers, and were able to dig deeply into complex and difficult issues involved with Title IX compliance and how best to serve our students and employees,” Richter said.

The annual meeting will rotate hosting responsibilities among all of the SEC schools. Vanderbilt University will host the spring 2018 meeting.

CONTACT:

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