After allegations that UMKC School of Pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra coerced students to perform personal favors were published by the Kansas City Star Sunday, UMKC announced that Mitra will be suspended with pay until an expanded investigation is completed.
In a letter to faculty and students, Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal said UMKC was already looking into allegations of misconduct made against Mitra when he arrived at the school over the summer.
“The complaint UMKC received in 2014 regarding this matter could not be substantiated at that time due to the lack of corroborating witnesses,” Agrawal said.
A UMKC spokesperson told U-News d the details of those efforts will remain confidential until the process is complete.
The Kansas City Star article claims Mitra forced international students from India to perform menial tasks around his home. Students claim Mitra threatened to revoke their student visas if they did not comply.
Mitra refutes these allegations, maintaining that any work done at his house was related to the students’ studies. He also told The Star he does not understand why any student would have been concerned about having their visas revoked.
In a follow up letter sent to faculty and students on Tuesday, Agrawal encouraged anyone who experiences or witnesses misconduct to file a report online or through Dean of Students, Sandra Miles.
“Let us make one thing absolutely clear,” Agrawal said. “If you file a report, know that there will be no retaliation from the university, and retaliation by any individual will not be tolerated.”