Tennessee appoints commission to review Title IX programs


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro has announced the members of a special independent commission to review the Title IX programs at each of the schools in the University of Tennessee system.

Members of the commission include Washington attorney Stanley Brand, University of Connecticut Title IX coordinator and Office of Institutional Equity associate vice president Elizabeth Conklin, Sports Law Associates president Janet Judge and Nashville-area attorney Bill Morelli.

DiPietro had announced in July he would appoint this commission when Tennessee reached a $2.48 settlement of a Title IX lawsuit filed by eight unidentified women who said the school fostered a “hostile sexual environment” through a policy of indifference toward assault complaints against athletes.

“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,” DiPietro said Tuesday in a statement. “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.”

Brand is a former U.S. House of Representatives general counsel. Judge has advised schools and conferences on Title IX compliance for over 20 years.

The commission will hold its initial meeting Nov. 17 and will make a report to DiPietro within six months later. The commission has full authority to access all University of Tennessee campuses while reviewing existing Title IX programs and resources.

The commission will be working with the law firm Neal & Harwell, which represented the university in the Title IX lawsuit.

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