KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee said a staff member at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis misunderstood the school's review policy for facility uses and mistakenly told the organizers of the "Saving Ourselves" Symposium the group could not use a facility on campus for the event.
"The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's decision to deny use of the Student Alumni Center for the Tri-State African-American Community Summit was in error and based on a staff member's mistaken belief that policies and procedures on use of campus facilities were under revision," the university said in a statement. "We welcome the opportunity to re-open a dialogue with representatives from the Community Summit."
The event is organized by the Red Door Foundation and the MidSouth AIDS Fund.
The Board Chair of the Saving Ourselves Symposium, Dustin James, said the group was first notified Thursday about the denial of access to the Alumni Center on campus.
James said in an email, a staff member of the university wrote: "The UT system which is governed by the President's Office on the Knoxville campus is undergoing revision of policy and procedure regarding usage of campus facilities... As a result we are unable to provide space for your upcoming conference."
James said even after UT sent a statement to the media, the organizers for the event had not yet been notified of the error.
Some health care professionals told 6 News the conference would be beneficial for the community at large, especially in the Memphis area.
"This was a program that was geared toward health care providers and clinicians to provide good and accurate information," family nurse practitioner Corrine Rovetti said.
The confusion follows last week's announcement that the university is withholding state funds for the Sex Week program following political pressures.
Sex Week co-chair Brianna Rader said she hopes the school will allow access to the campus facility for the HIV/AIDS awareness conference.
"This is a public health concern so it means quite a bit when a public institution supports a cause," Rader said.