Vanderbilt creates director for the protection of minors position

Newcomer was formerly with Highway Safety Office

Vanderbilt University has announced it hired in June Dawn Riddle to serve in the recently created position of director for the protection of minors.

Vanderbilt officials say Riddle’s office will provide training and education, develop and disseminate best practices, and coordinate the response to incidents.

Elizabeth P. Latt, VU assistant vice chancellor, news and communications, said the initiative that led to the creation of the position began in April 2012 with a message to the Vanderbilt community from Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos emphasizing the need to protect children on campus in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University. (Read more here.)

"The position is part of efforts at Vanderbilt and across higher education to strengthen policies and practices involving minors who visit, attend and participate in campus programs on campuses," Latt said. "We want to be sure that we have every safeguard in place to prevent and respond to possible incidents involving children.”

News of the hiring comes about two months after the rape of a VU female student, allegedly by four Commodore football players who are no longer enrolled at the university.

Previously, Riddle (pictured) directed a statewide training program for law enforcement through the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office and Columbia State Community College. She also once served as a faculty instructor of criminal justice at South College, a trainer in ethics and integrity and collaborative response to domestic violence at the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Center, and a program manager within the Knoxville Police Department domestic violence unit.

Riddle holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Both degrees are in criminal justice.