Sexual assault gained attention on the campus in December 2014, when Vice Sports published an article about a student who said she had been assaulted by a member of the university's wrestling team. A campus judicial officer initially found the athlete not responsible for sexual misconduct, but later reversed her decision. The accused student was expelled after the university's chancellor upheld the officer's decision.
The accused student's father, who at the time was the head wrestling coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, started a blog that aggressively criticized the way his son's case had been handled. UNC fired the coach in June 2015: The administration said the decision was based on his performance, but the coach said he believed the university had no reason to dismiss him.
The accused wrestler sued in state court over his expulsion. The judge in that case ordered the university to reinstate the athlete, ruling that it had erred in punishing him for failing to prove he had obtained consent. The ruling raised questions about what affirmative-consent standards, which have become increasingly popular, mean for colleges' internal investigations.
That lawsuit was not the only legal challenge to be filed over alleged sexual violence at the university: Another lawsuit involved an unnamed woman who said she had been raped by a fraternity member.
In 2014, several female students reported that a male classmate was harassing them before and after classes in the English department, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. A group of students, unsatisfied by the university's response, filed a federal Title IX complaint.
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, revised its policies on sexual misconduct, and taken other steps to improve its procedures. Its resource page for sexual misconduct and relationship violence is available here. The university system appointed an independent commission in September 2016 to examine all campuses' Title IX efforts.
A woman is suing a Tennessee man and several branches of Pi Kappa Alpha for $1 million, saying she was raped at the fraternity's University of Tennessee at Chattanooga house in April, according to a federal lawsuit.