On Wednesday, August 16, a committee of the Tennessee General Assembly will consider the first major revisions to the University of Tennessee’s student conduct code since the 1970s.
Some of the proposed changes are broad, and some are narrowly tailored. Changes prompted by a Title IX lawsuit last year will reshape the process of handling sexual assault allegations. The lawsuit alleged university administrators looked the other way, especially when student athletes were accused of assault.
The makeup of student disciplinary boards will change, and the university will take what President Joe DiPietro calls a less punitive approach designed to help students learn from infractions. A separate judicial panel that handled only fraternity and sorority violations will be disbanded. The new disciplinary hearing board will contain a mix of students and faculty, and sometimes administrators.
The process of drafting the revised student code of conduct began in 2013, and updates continued through this spring. UT Vice Chancellor of Student Life Vince Carilli sought input from the student body and the university community. The school's Board of Trustees signed off on the changes, and the plan was subsequently approved by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and has been filed with Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The final step, expected Wednesday, is approval from the General Assembly's Joint Operations Committe.
In this interview, President DiPietro and the University of Tennessee's general counsel Matthew Scoggins speakoke with WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth.
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