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Chancellor Speaks Out on Alleged Rape at UMKC | Leo Morton Responds to Student Criticisms

Sam Danley, News Editor
Esmie Tseng, Managing Editor

Chancellor Leo Morton addressed concerns following the alleged rape on campus and responded to student feedback. This was the second message to the UMKC community from an administrator since the news broke last week.

In a mass email sent early Tuesday evening, Morton followed Vice Chancellor Mel Tyler in addressing UMKC students, staff, and faculty. Morton reinforced many of the points made by Tyler in Friday’s announcement, such as supporting a “top-to-bottom review of security measures and staff training in our residence halls.”

Morton also highlighted resources and initiatives aimed at addressing sexual assault. He assured students that the university would address their concerns regarding a lack of communication and “some training and education gaps.”

Morton indirectly addressed the comments made by Director of Public Relations John Martellaro in a UNews interview last Thursday. The comments, deemed insensitive by many students, heightened criticism and prompted community members to schedule a demonstration against rape culture on campus tomorrow.

“…when I hear that a member of our UMKC community has expressed views that seem to run counter to our support of sexual assault survivors, I address it directly and seek to understand the context and provide an opportunity for learning and remediation,” wrote Morton.

Within 24 hours of the interview last Thursday and the response, Martellaro publicly apologized for his remarks in a Letter to the Editor and on Facebook.

Morton stressed his impression that this event is a learning opportunity for the school, and acknowledged the university administration could have handled their communication better. Morton pledged the university will be working to improve gaps in training and education.

Morton also invited community members to offer additional feedback in a listening session scheduled for next Monday.

Morton says the goal of this session is for school officials and students to “work together to address rape and rape culture on campus.”

The Rally Against Rape and Rape Culture will take place tomorrow, March 8 at 12 p.m. in the quad. The Chancellor’s listening session will take place next Monday, March 13 at noon in Pierson Auditorium.

This article was corrected to reflect the right time of the Chancellor’s listening session.

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