UT adds 7 new positions dedicated to decreasing sexual assaults involving students

UT University of Tennessee Knoxville_256618

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  (WATE) – The University of Tennessee has hired two new employees in the athletic department to organize programming about sexual assault, drug and alcohol awareness topics.

An additional five new employees will be added to the offices that handle sexual assault investigations, reporting responsibilities, and support and care for victims of sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking.

Some of the additional resources come after the University of Tennessee settled a $2.48 million lawsuit that claimed they allowed a hostile sexual environment on campus and favored male athletes during sexual assault claims.RELATED: Attorneys say settlement reached in Title IX lawsuit against UT

Jennifer Richter, the Title IX Coordinator, said the additional resources will help them improve preventative measures for sexual assault.

“We’ve long recognized that we needed somebody dedicated to this sexual assault, sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking area in terms of procedure and process,” said Richter at a news conference Wednesday.

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek has dedicated $700,000 for five of the positions and operational costs.

The University of Tennessee Athletics will also contract with a non-profit agency to hire two full-time wellness coordinators to deliver and organize programming about sexual assault, drug and alcohol awareness, managing stress and other wellness topics.

The Office of Equity and Diversity is adding a senior deputy coordinator for Title IX and two Title IX investigators.

Allegations of sexual assault, which used to be handled by the Office of Student Conduct will now go through the Office of Equity and Diversity. However, the Office of Student Conduct will make decisions relating to sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking involving students, after the investigations have been conducted.

The Center for Health Education and Wellness has also added a permanent position to its staff to focus on prevention and education of sexual assault.

The center received a $300,000 federal grant that allows them to add a sexual violence prevention coordinator to focus on prevention, curriculum and training for the three-year period.Click here for complete coverage of the Title IX Lawsuit.

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