People in Tennessee lodged far more Title IX discrimination complaints against the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis than other public entities in the state that take federal money, according to a new report.
In laymen’s terms, that means a lot of people allege school officials discriminated against them because of their gender.
More specifically, Title IX says no education program that takes federal taxpayer money can discriminate based on sex, and it includes protections against sexual harassment.
According to a new report from Tennessee Comptrollers, the University of Memphis had 153 Title IX complaints in Fiscal Year 2018, a slight increase from 152 in Fiscal Year 2017.
Schools in the University of Tennessee System, meanwhile, had 162 Title IX complaints in Fiscal Year 2018. The UT system had 166 such complaints in Fiscal Year 2017 and 129 in Fiscal Year 2016, according to the Comptrollers’ report.
In an emailed statement, Kenneth P. Anderson, the University of Memphis’ Title IX coordinator for the Office of Institutional Equity, said the high number of complaints is “a positive.”
“They speak to the University’s efforts to seriously address interpersonal violence and sexual misconduct,” Anderson told The Tennessee Star.
“The University of Memphis has a robust Title IX program which includes a Title IX prevention center, campaigns and programs, ongoing outreach and recurring trainings to encourage the reporting of Title IX complaints by the entire campus community.”
Most faculty and staff, Anderson went on to say, must report any sexual misconduct allegations. Students, faculty, and staff, meanwhile, receive Title IX training.
“The University of Memphis is very transparent in its reporting. Our Title IX complaint statistics include more than just formal complaints, and also incorporates reports and disclosures which do not always result in formal University investigations or actions,” Anderson said.
“Depending on other how institutions report their statistics, there could be wide discrepancies in complaint numbers which have no correlation to the occurrence of Title IX-related incidents.”
Meanwhile Tyra E. Haag, spokeswoman for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, told The Star the Comptrollers’ findings included all schools in the UT system.
“National prevalence rates according to the American College Health Association annual survey are around 9.6 percent for unwanted sexual contact,” Haag said.
“The university’s best comparison data puts our prevalence at 3 percent.”
For Fiscal Year 2018, the other public universities in Tennessee received the following number of complaints:
• East Tennessee State University: 22
• Middle Tennessee State University: 38
• Tennessee State University: 37
• Tennessee Technological University: 13
• Austin Peay State University: 43
The report had no information for Austin Peay State University. Comptrollers said Title IX also applies to the Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee’s local education agencies, both of which take federal money. The law also applies to the Tennessee Board of Regents, the six Local Governing Boards of Trustees, and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and their sub-recipients.
The Tennessee Department of Education had three complaints for the last fiscal year. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development had 10. The Tennessee Board of Regents, meanwhile, had 48.