Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse under investigation following inappropriate behavior allegations at UMass

Massachusetts

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior against 1st congressional district candidate and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

The College Democrats of Massachusetts alleges Morse had inappropriate sexual relations with college students during his time as a lecturer at UMass Amherst. Those allegations were first reported by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian which is the student-operated newspaper at UMass Amherst.

The College Democrats accused Morse of having relationships with students and sending inappropriate messages to students on social media after meeting them at events. He served as a lecturer at UMass from 2014 to 2019. Morse said he is confident that a full investigation into these matters will clear his name of any unethical conduct.

Based on the university’s policy on consensual relationships, ‘faculty are prohibited from entering into a sexual relationship with any student or post-doc.’ Alex Morse is not a current UMass employee, however, he was previously an adjunct instructor in Urban Government and Politics.

The university released a statement saying they were unaware of the accusations, but are providing support for students. In his fourth term as mayor of Holyoke, Morse said he plans to continue his congressional campaign against incumbent Richard Neal.

University of UMass Amherst full statement:

The allegations that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse engaged in inappropriate behavior with UMass Amherst students are serious and deeply concerning, and the university is launching an immediate review of the matter to determine whether the alleged actions during his time as a university lecturer were in violation of university policy or federal Title IX law.

The university has reached out to students to provide them resources and support. UMass was previously unaware of the concerns brought forward by the members of the College Democrats.

The university’s policy on consensual relationships between faculty and students notes that dating or sexual relationships between faculty and students or post-docs are inherently problematic because of the unequal power dynamic between the parties to the relationship, the responsibility of faculty for evaluating students’ work, the possibility that other faculty and students may be adversely affected, and because such relationships diminish the trust and respect that ordinarily characterize the faculty-student relationship and are therefore inconsistent with the educational mission of the university. Therefore, faculty are prohibited from entering into a sexual relationship with any student or post-doc for whom the faculty member has any responsibility for supervision, evaluation, grading, advising, employment, or other instructional or supervisory activity.

Morse is not a current UMass employee. He previously served as an adjunct instructor in Urban Government and Politics, last teaching the course in Fall 2019. The university has no plans to rehire Morse.

He taught the course in Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015, and Fall 2014.

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