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Update on Independent Commission to Review Title IX Resources and Programs

I’d like to welcome you back from the long weekend and update you on the appointment of a special, independent commission to review the University of Tennessee’s Title IX resources and programs.
 
One incident of sexual misconduct is one too many, and our shared commitment at UT is to doing everything within our power to create awareness of, prevent, respond to and provide support around issues related to sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
 
The below information is being distributed broadly this morning by the outside firm assisting the commission. I encourage you to contact me with any questions.
 
All the best,
Joe  

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016
 
MEMBERS OF SPECIAL, INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW UT SYSTEM TITLE IX RESOURCES AND PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED
 
Knoxville, TN – Dr. Joe DiPietro, University of Tennessee System President, who announced the appointment of a special, independent commission to review the system’s Title IX resources and programs as part of the settlement of a Title IX lawsuit against the university, today named four nationally-recognized members to take on the task.
 
The members named by DiPietro are:
  • Stanley Brand, Senior Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, Washington, DC
  • Elizabeth Conklin, Associate Vice President of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), Title IX Coordinator and ADA Coordinator, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Janet Judge, President, Sports Law Associates, LLC, Boston, MA
  • Bill Morelli, Attorney, Morelli Law PLLC, Franklin, TN
 “As I said when we settled the case,” DiPietro reiterated, “We are proud of the work done in recent years by our Title IX, student conduct and student welfare professionals on our Knoxville campus and across our system to create awareness of, prevent, respond to and provide support around issues related to sexual assault and sexual misconduct, but one incident of sexual misconduct is one too many.
 
“Having said that, unfortunately these incidents will happen on a college campus, but when they do, I want the confidence that we did everything within our power to appropriately deal with the situation, and that we provided the necessary support for all involved, hence our desire for an independent commission to take a thorough look at our approach.”
 
DiPietro’s view was supported at the time of the settlement by the attorney representing the eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit, David Randolph Smith, who said, “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 people who from time to time call the University of Tennessee home.”
 
The Commission will have full authority to access all of UT’s campuses as it reviews existing programs and resources and gathers information to make its report and recommendations to ensure the system is well positioned to move positively ahead. The commission will make its forward-looking report to DiPietro within six months of its initial meeting which is scheduled for November 17, 2016.
 
The Commission to ensure its independence will work with the law firm of Neal & Harwell, which was retained by the university to litigate the Title IX lawsuit and ultimately negotiated the settlement. 
 
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The University of Tennessee | Office of the President
831 Andy Holt Tower | Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865.974.2241 | Fax: 865.974.3753
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The mission of the University of Tennessee System Administration is to advance the educational, discovery, creative and outreach programs of the campuses and institutes through leadership that removes obstacles, understands needs, provides advocacy, secures resources, promotes accountability, fosters diversity, promotes innovation, coordinates campus efforts and delivers efficient and effective central services.