KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Attorneys representing both sides of a Title IX lawsuit against the University of Tennessee announced late Tuesday that a settlement has been reached.
The multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed on Feb. 24 by attorney David Randolph Smith, who represents eight of the plaintiffs in the case.
“My clients and I are dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice and signed the settlement agreement. We are satisfied that, while universities everywhere struggle with these issues, the University of Tennessee has made significant progress in the way they educate and respond to sexual assault cases. My clients and I are also convinced that the university’s leadership is truly committed to continue its exemplary efforts to create a model as it relates to sexual misconduct,” Smith said.
He continued, “If we all can look ahead and imagine our state’s flagship university as a leader in awareness, education, support and aggressive response to these issues, this lawsuit and the resulting outcome would have contributed in a small way to the safety, well-being and hopeful futures of many young people who from time to time call the University of Tennessee home.”
The $2,480,000 settlement was approved by the Vice Chair of the Board, the UT System President, UT Knoxville Chancellor, the UT Knoxville Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, UT General Counsel, Interim Chief Financial Officer; the State Attorney General, the State Comptroller, and Gov. Bill Haslam.
The court and leaders of both Houses of the Tennessee Legislature were also informed of the settlement.
According to a release, payment of the settlement will be split equally between the UT Knoxville Athletics Department and UT Knoxville central administration. No taxpayer dollars, no student tuition or fees, and no donor funds will be used to fund the settlement.
Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek, Chancellor of UT-Knoxville says he has approved a new round of initiatives for the campus which will be announced in the future.
“No university will be able to prevent every incident of students, faculty or staff making bad judgments,” Cheek said. “Like many institutions we are not perfect, but our goal is to continue to be the best we can be at creating awareness, educating, and preventing discrimination and abuse in any form, and to continue to be equally prepared when it does happen and to deal with it promptly, sensitively, fairly and effectively. We’ve come a long way in recent years, and we are working every day to be even better. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of every member of our university community.”Click here for complete coverage of the Title IX Lawsuit.