UMass Investigating Allegations Of Inappropriate Behavior By Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse

Joanna Estrada
August 10, 2020

Morse denied ever using his position of power as mayor or as a lecturer to take advantage of students.

Mayor Alex Morse (D) said Sunday he will remain in his congressional primary race against Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) amid a University of Massachusetts investigation into allegations that Morse had sexual relationships with students while teaching at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

A Democratic candidate for US House in MA has apologized after three college groups accused him of using his position of power to pursue romantic or sexual relationships with students.

Morse taught a course on urban government and politics during seven semesters over five years, according to the university, most recently in fall 2019.

The college said Morse is not a current UMass employee and there are "no plans to rehire" him.

"The university has reached out to students to provide them resources and support", the school's statement said.

As a result of the allegations, the University is launching an "immediate review" to determine whether Morse violated the school's policy or federal Title lX law during his time as a lecturer. Morse's profile remains on the school's website as of Saturday afternoon.

Consensual relationships, such as dating or sexual relationships, between faculty and students are "inherently problematic because of the unequal power dynamic between the parties to the relationship", and "the responsibility of faculty for evaluating students' work", the University wrote in a statement.

In a statement provided to the Daily Collegian Friday evening, Morse admitted to having "consensual adult relationships, including some with college students".

Morse told the student newspaper that the relationships were consensual, and the University of MA said in a statement Saturday that it was not aware of the allegations before the College Democrats raised them.

Morse apologized to anyone he has "made feel uncomfortable", and offered to meet with any person or group to address their concerns.

The campaign did not immediately respond to a request for Morse's full statement, or a query about whether he would be available to answer questions from reporters.

Morse, one of the state's first openly gay mayors, was first elected mayor of his hometown in 2011 at age 22. "Even if these scenarios are mutually consensual, the pattern of Morse using his platform and taking advantage of his position of power for romantic or sexual gain, specifically toward young students, is unacceptable".

Rep. Neal, who now chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, also teaches at UMass.

He continued, "Navigating life as both a young gay man and an elected official can be hard, but that doesn't excuse poor judgment".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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