Dave Hart addresses media amidst sexual assault allegations
University of Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Dave Hart hosted a press conference for approximately 40 minutes on Thursday to address the culture and policies in place in regards to sexual assault at UT.
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University of Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Dave Hart hosted a press conference for approximately 40 minutes on Thursday to address the culture and policies in place in regards to sexual assault at UT. Here are some notes and quotes from the presser.
“It is my intent to be open and transparent,” Hart said at the opening of his presser, “But I ask that you respect the fact that I cannot comment on specifics of the lawsuit.”
Hart also stated that he has tremendous sympathy for victims of sexual crimes, both at Tennessee and throughout the country, calling sexual assault an “unacceptable act.”
Reports yesterday were released that former Vols wide receiver Drae Bowles signed an affidavit that Butch Jones called him a “traitor” when he provided aid to a sexual assault victim. Hart could not address the claim but added that he stood by Jones.
“I trust Butch Jones implicitly,” said Hart.
Hart’s opening statement lasted 20 minutes, then he answered several questions from the media.
He also added that student-athletes do not receive any preferential treatment when faced with allegations.
Hart was not present at the all-coaches press conference at the Ray & Lucy Hand Studio Tuesday, but he revealed to the media that was because both he and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek were in Nashville seeking “in-house counsel.”
“I was not in town for the press conference but even if I were I wouldn’t have gone,” said Hart, adding that it was completely organized by the coaches and UT spokesperson Ryan Robinson.
Other quotes from Hart’s press conference:
“When someone makes a bad decision it affects the whole group. But I know the kind of people we have. We have good people.”
“We have coaches who have experienced this kind of trauma in their families. They get it.”
“This has to be genuinely a top priority. It can’t just be “on the list.”
“We encourage our students to report instances of sexual assault.”
After the press conference, there were around 20 protesters gathered outside the studio to support the alleged victims known as “Jane Doe’s.”
Featured image by Sumner Gilliam
Edited by Cody McClure
Dominic is in his second year writing on staff at TNJN. Along with being a staff writer, he also covers the UT men's basketball beat. He is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media. Follow him @dominiclobianco on Twitter!