UMKC officials are investigating an alleged sexual assault that took place off campus Friday night. Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer released a statement Monday morning regarding the alleged incident.
In an exclusive interview with U-News, the victim of the alleged sexual assault, third year Studio Art and Secondary Education student Eleonore Fischer, recalled that evening’s event.
Fischer says around 11:30 p.m. Friday she arrived to the party on the 4900 block of Tracy Avenue. For most of the party, she says she had no problems.
Around 1:15 a.m. Saturday, after the party died down, Fischer was sitting on a couch on the top floor of the duplex in the living room with her boyfriend and a friend. Fischer says she got up to get a breath of fresh air and was on her way downstairs when the three alleged attackers approached her. Fischer said the alleged attackers are UMKC student athletes on the men’s soccer and tennis teams.
“The first guy came up to me asked for my name and then touched my arm, I could tell immediately that they were drunk and something was weird. I told him not to touch me,” Fischer said. “The second guy also asked me my name and then touched my shoulder and that’s when I said more forcefully not to touch me.”
Fischer says after telling the alleged attackers not to touch her, they began laughing and mocking her. After backing away from the three men into the living room, she then entered the kitchen to try and call a friend. Shortly after taking out her phone to make a call, the three men entered the room.
Fischer says the three men lined up in front of her, with one turned around facing the wall and the other two men to her right and left.
“I was in the middle of the room with my back against the counter, at this point the first guy who approached me [in the stairwell] was touching my hair,” Fischer said.
Then, the men to the left and right of Fischer began undoing their pants, she said. The man in the middle who was facing the wall turned around and also had his pants undone and pulled down. According to Fischer, this happened very quickly. She says she stepped towards the door, but the man who was previously facing the wall stepped in front of it to block her from leaving.
“The taller guy stepped to block the door from me, and the soccer player grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the room. At that point I screamed and I squeezed in-between the two guys and out of the room,” Fischer said.
Fischer says after this she ran to meet up with her boyfriend and other friends.
“After that had happened I was really upset, my boyfriend and his friend came up to me and were trying to figure out what was going on, but I was too flustered to tell the whole story,” Fischer said.
Following the encounter, Fischer took to social media to share her experience. Bichelmeyer also noted in her letter to the UMKC community that the topic generated substantial social media traffic.
In an update provided to UMKC community members later today, Bichelmeyer said the incident falls under the Kansas City Police Department’s jurisdiction because it occurred off campus. Acknowledging the desire for swift and decisive action, Bichelmeyer asked the community for patience as UMKC’s Title IX office conducts its investigation.
UMKC school officials advise anyone with additional information to contact UMKC Title IX coordinator Mikah K. Thompson at 816-235-6910 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the UMKC Police department at 816-235-1515.