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.