In nearly 15 years at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Title IX coordinator Ashley Blamey showed up to work every day with a sense of purpose, knowing she was part of something bigger. than herself.
Blamey’s commitment to improving people’s time and experiences at UT is recognized by the highest honor bestowed upon a staff member: the Volunteer Spirit Award, given annually to those who have gone above and beyond. of their professional role to act with courage and to give of themselves in an extraordinary way.
“It’s a privilege,” said Blamey, who was surprised in her office by Chancellor Donde Plowman and some of the 11 members of the campus community who had nominated her for the award. “I often did the work behind the scenes. I appreciate that, but it’s an incredible feeling to have your work recognized and to know that your colleagues have taken the time to offer you.
In the four years since her appointment as coordinator following the establishment of the Title IX Office in August 2017, Blamey has worked with her team to develop UT’s Title IX work into a global mission.
“Ashley has worked tirelessly to advance UT as a leader in the areas of Title IX prevention, response, and compliance,” said Amanda Samsel, director of student conduct and community standards. . “She took a program that barely existed and turned it into a strong national model for others to follow. She used her voice to empower those who felt they had none. She fought to establish a fair, thoughtful and caring process for all students, regardless of their role in an alleged incident.
Blamey’s time at UT is marked by innovation and firsts. Her first role, in 2008, was as the university’s first case manager. She created the university’s 974-HELP resource, chaired the campus case management and threat assessment teams, and was nationally honored as the first chair of Higher Education Case Management. Association, which is the leader in Behavioral Intervention Teams on campuses.
Blamey was then appointed as the first director of the university’s Center for Health Education and Wellness. While there, she and her team created the “Vols Help Vols” mission and the VOLS 2 VOLS Peer Health Educators program. Under his leadership, UT received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to develop best practices related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and harassment.
In 2014, Blamey became the first graduate of UT College of Social Work’s doctoral program. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from East Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in social work from UT.
The driving force behind everything Blamey and his team do at the Title IX Office is to find ways to reduce the damage. They are reminded every day that they work for the students, the families who sacrifice for access to education and the opportunity to prepare students for the next stage of their lives.
“Volunteering means working with others for a greater good,” Blamey said. “It’s about putting others before yourself and building a community where you want to learn and work.”
While other universities buy Title IX training packages for their campuses, Blamey and his team produce their own, which they update every year. In response to the Chancellor’s call to expand the culture of ‘Vols Help Vols’, they have developed the in-house Vols ACT training, encompassing three essential steps to being an active bystander: recognizing the situation, considering options and taking action.
Beyond campus, Blamey is involved in the Safe Bar initiative to train local bars and restaurants in bystander intervention to help prevent cases of alcohol-related sexual assault. She is a member of the Knox County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Death Response Teams and the Family Justice Center Coordinated Community Response Team.
Her background in social work is perhaps what most distinguishes her approach to Title IX work. “I look at each issue in the context of the individual and the community,” she said. “That’s been true for every job I’ve worked at UT.”
Blamey is among those honored at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet on May 3, the university’s biggest recognition event of the year. Visit the Chancellor’s Honors website for more information.
Brian Canever (865-974-0937, [email protected])