UT hosted a statewide Title IX summit yesterday with representatives from 46 two- and four-year public and private colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations in Tennessee.
The summit served as a way for UT to share programs, trainings, resources, and lessons learned in creating a coordinated community response to sexual violence.
One hundred and eighty professionals including Title IX coordinators, deputy Title IX coordinators, investigators, student conduct and student affairs administrators, general counsel, prevention coordinators, chiefs of police, and other lead campus security officers attended.
The day began with opening remarks from Chancellor Beverly Davenport.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am to walk into this room and know that there are so many people around this state that are committed to ensuring students, women especially, are safe on campus, that they are welcome on the campuses when they arrive, and that they have the ability to thrive,” Davenport said.
“We are committed to having a model Title IX process, and I think programs like this summit shine a light to the rest of the nation that we can do this. We can join together, learn from each other, find out what works, and find out where our problems lie,” she said. “I am grateful for all of you, because it means you are standing up on your campus and doing what is right to make it a safe place.”
Nationally recognized Title IX expert and Project IX founder Jody Shipper served as the event keynote speaker. She spoke about institutions’ responsibilities surrounding Title IX and the implementation of best practices of handling of sexual assault on college campuses. Before her work on Project IX, Shipper was systemwide director for Title IX/VAWA/Clery and Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence for the University of California system.
Attendees chose from 16 workshop sessions with topics ranging from current Title IX issues in student conduct, applying the social ecological model to sexual assault prevention efforts, trauma-informed response to sexual violence, and the dynamics of sexual assault response on a college campus.
The day ended with closing remarks from nationally recognized Title IX educator Ashley Blamey, who serves as the UT Knoxville campus and UT System Title IX coordinator.
In her role, Blamey leads efforts to create a national model for Title IX compliance on the Knoxville campus and at other UT campuses across the state.
Under her leadership, the university was awarded a three-year $299,821 grant from the US Department of Justice to develop best practices related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Yesterday’s summit was the culmination of the work done since receiving the grant.
“The tracks we developed for the summit are connected with people who are doing the same work the attendees are doing across the state. My hope is that through this event we have started conversations that will continue,” said Blamey.
“I think the idea that any one place, one school, one system is going to be able to do all the right things is probably not attainable but if we take the power of an entire state with the experiences at these campuses, we can create something that can be really be beneficial for change nationwide.”
Other goals accomplished through grant funds included: increasing staffing to improve programming and services regarding sexual violence; creating and sustaining a coordinated community response team to oversee policies, programming, and communications; expanding sexual violence education for the campus community; increasing training for individuals responding to sexual violence occurrences; and expanding learning opportunities and engagement for students.
Institutions that attended the summit include:
American Baptist College
Austin Peay State University
Chattanooga State Community College
Cleveland State Community College
East Tennessee State University
John A. Gupton College
Lincoln Memorial University
Martin Methodist College
Memphis College of Art
Middle Tennessee State University
Pellissippi State Community College
Roane State Community College
Southern Adventist University
Tennessee Technological University
Tennessee Wesleyan University
Trevecca Nazarene University
University of Memphis
UT Space Institute
Vatterott Career College
Walters State Community College
Watkins College of Art
West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Non-profit organizations that attended the summit include:
Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee
Coalition of Healthy and Safe Communities
Tennessee Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Family Justice Center
Knoxville Health Department
Tennessee Health Department