Opinion: UMKC’s image and lack of vital institutional control

UMKC has been rocked by scandal lately.

In the 2018-19 academic year alone, lawsuits have been brought against the medical school, dental school and the School of Education by former students.

An accomplished professor resigned over slave labor accusations and is now being sued by UMKC for stealing student research and defrauding the university.

And because accusations against an assistant softball coach were handled improperly, nobody knows which story is true.

What is going on? How does a “university on the rise” end up with so much chaos attached to its name?

To be fair, the larger and more prominent an institution becomes, the more conflict it invites. However, when the university fails to react to a situation until it explodes, two things happen.

First, the situation in question looks worse than it may actually be. Second, UMKC looks like they have no control over what happens concerning the school.

For example, had UMKC acted on the complaints against former pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra when they first surfaced, the university would not have had to deal with media surrounding the “slave labor” accusations. Furthermore, it may have not had to deal with their now-pending lawsuit filed against him and the negative press surrounding that.

This is embarrassing and unacceptable. UMKC has an entire staff dedicated to handling the public relations aspect of these situations. But when the university fails to react, a situation becomes a scandal, and people may have to wonder if UMKC lacks vital institutional control.

If in fact UMKC does still control its own image, it’s well past time for them to prove it.

cae6xc@mail.umkc.edu

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Dilks

    March 7, 2019 at 8:53 AM

    Thanks Chelsea. It would be nice if you had acknowledged in your editorial that we have new leadership since the incidents you refer to. Yes, their was mismanagement, but the new Chancellor and the Provost (who is functioning as a full-time Provost for the first time since taking on the position), plus a new Athletics Director and a new VC for Student Affairs have taken control of the institution with healthy input from the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and SGA. Yes, problems remain, but these problems are being addressed head-on. A story of the kind you are telling needs to acknowledge the current situation as well as past mistakes. We have worked hard to gain control over all aspects of UMKC: it would be great if the U-News were to find out what we have been doing by speaking with those in charge of faculty governance, the administration, and student affairs.

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