Vols cheer coach on leave again following complaints of racial insensitivity

@ # State

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The spirit coordinator at the University of Tennessee has been placed on paid leave for a second time after alleged inappropriate conduct and unsatisfactory work-related behavior.

Joy Postell-Gee received the letter from UT on June 29, stating her leave began at 5 p.m. that day. While on leave, Postell-Gee will not be allowed to perform any of her school duties, contact students for any reason or be on campus. If she does need to contact students or be on campus for any reason, it must be pre-approved by the athletics officials. The university cited complaints of inappropriate conduct and unsatisfactory work related behavior as the reasons.

Squad members filed reports against the coach claiming she used insulting nicknames for members, sparking the Office of Equity and Diversity to issue a Feb. 24, 2017, report confirming several instances of racially and ethnically insensitive remarks made to the spirit squad.

Another complaint of verbal and mental harassment was made by a squad member on Nov. 28, 2017. Then, on Jan. 8, 2018, a squad member reported frequent demeaning and insensitive comments made by the coach toward squad members.

That same month, Postell-Gee was issued a warning that she violated HR policies regarding her respect for others and the disclosure of a student's protected health information. That January warning resulted in administrative leave with pay. Postell-Gee then returned to work on June 8, 2018.

As the spirit squad coordinator, Postell-Gee oversees hundreds of cheerleaders, dance team members, mascots, Smokey dog handlers and spring sports ambassadors.