UT Chancellor claims university takes sexual assaults seriously

Several women claim the university has created an environment that enables sexual assaults committed by student athletes

The University of Tennessee released a statement on Monday concerning the Title IX lawsuit filed against the institution.
The University of Tennessee (Photo: WATE)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee released a statement on Monday concerning the Title IX lawsuit filed against the institution.

Several women claim the university has created an environment that enables sexual assaults committed by student athletes.

Extended coverage: University of Tennessee sexual assault

However, UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek refutes the claim. He believes the university takes sexual assault seriously. “To claim that we have allowed a culture to exist contrary to our institutional commitment to providing a safe environment for our students or that we do not support those who report sexual assault is just false,” said Cheek.

The chancellor says the lawsuit has created bad publicity and made people involved uncomfortable. “We are a community, even if we’re not a perfect one, and we hurt when any of our family members hurt or cause pain to others,” said Cheek.

“The lawsuit has generated negative publicity, particularly here and in Nashville, and all of that is very uncomfortable for many of those involved and certainly for those of us who care so much about our community,” said Cheek.

He did not mention of specific items in the lawsuit.

The statement discussed the university actions regarding sexual misconduct starting in 2013. A review of student conduct evaluation procedures was performed. The institutions made 37 changes to the process, including changing the name of the “Student Judicial Affairs Office” to “Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.”

The school’s police department are trained to deal with sexual assaults. Also, Cheeks goes on to say the university created a response protocol called Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The advisory board discusses progress each week. The Division of Student Life added three positions: sexual misconduct investigator, sexual health coordinator and a case manager.

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