Ex-UI Administrator Fired From University Of Tennessee After Sexual Harassment Case Made Public
Former University of Illinois administrator Lee Waldrep has been fired by the University of Tennessee, less than a week after the campus learned a 2017 U of I investigation that found Waldrep sexually harassed female students.
Waldrep resigned from the U of I school of architecture in August 2017--just before campus investigators concluded he singled out female students with unwanted attention and inappropriate touching.
He got a new job at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in March of this year. His campus website has been removed, but previously listed his role as professional academic adviser.
In an email, Tennessee spokesperson Tyra Haag said they didn’t know about the sexual harassment case against Waldrep until it was made public by news media on Sunday.
She said the campus did not follow standard procedures for reference checks on Waldrep before hiring him.
"The university is committed to ensuring those across campus who make hiring decisions understand the expectations for adhering to our processes and will take steps to prevent this from happening again," Haag said.
"I can also confirm that the university has not received any reports or complaints from students, faculty, or staff against Dr. Waldrep," she added.
In a message to students, faculty and staff, Tennessee’s Architecture Dean Scott Poole apologized for what has been a difficult week for many in the college.
“The university has hiring policies and protocols in place to ensure the best faculty and staff are hired,” Poole said in the message. “A background check on Dr. Waldrep did not reveal any criminal activity; however, our college did not complete the expected reference checks, which might have prevented this unfortunate situation.”
Poole said the campus is working to prevent a similar situation in the future; and Julie Beckman, director of UTK’s Center for Student Development will lead all advising efforts next semester.
Waldrep could not be reached for comment. According to the U of I investigative report, he denies allegations of any wrongdoing.
Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman