Sexual misconduct reports go up at UTC

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Reports of sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking continue to go up at UTC.

In a recently released Title IX report, there were more than 220 cases at UTC in 2018. That is up from 192 reports the year before. In 2014, there were only 42.

They are broken down into different categories like sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking.

Over at Partnership’s rape crisis center, Harlee Milligan, the sexual violence community educator, says the increase in numbers doesn’t necessarily mean more cases are happening.

“Sexual assault is being reported a whole lot more today than it was ten, five years ago. I don’t think that means that more sexual assaults are occurring. I think it means that more victims are feeling empowered to come forward. I think we are in a time of Me Too which is empowering victims to share their stories,” Milligan said.

The report states a majority of cases are received through faculty and mandatory reporters.
They can identify the person accused or not.

In 30 cases the person filing the report declined to participate in the process and the university did not have enough evidence to move forward. In 19 cases the person accused was found responsible for violating the policy and in 35 cases the person accused was not a student at UTC.

At Partnership they are there to help students navigate the system.

“In the rape crisis center we have two fulltime advocates who do nothing but help people navigate the system. We offer a forensic exam up to five days after an assault happens that can only help in their sexual assault cases, so we have a lot of options that we can do in a community level and then we can also support students who are going through the Title IX process,” Milligan said.

UTC’s Title IX coordinator, Stephanie Rowland, provided this statement:

“We also work hard to ensure that our faculty and staff know how to seek help for students who report sexual assault. In 2018, more than 1,300 UTC employees completed Everfi’s online sexual violence prevention and response program Bridges: Building A Supportive Community.  Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Rowland also conducted more than 70 in-person training sessions for faculty and staff during the same time period.

What we know is, when students know where to report and feel more comfortable reporting, and faculty and staff know how to seek help for students, more incidents are reported.”

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