UMKC Students Protest Campus Sexual Assault Policies

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University of Missouri-Kansas City students, outraged over the way the university responded to a rape in a campus dorm, stormed into a vice chancellor’s office Wednesday afternoon with a list of demands.

The protest, involving about 60 students and supporters, came several hours after UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton in a letter to students, faculty and staff promised a complete review of training and security measures in residence halls.

“We are aware, from your feedback, that some training and education gaps exist, in particular for faculty and staff, and will be working to address those,” Morton wrote. He did not offer details.

The rape of a female student occurred Feb. 23 at Johnson Hall on the UMKC campus. A 22-year-old man, who was not a UMKC student, last week was charged with raping the woman.

Wednesday’s noon rally was in response to the university not immediately informing the campus community about the rape. Several students said they were furious that university spokesman John Martellaro, in comments to the University News student newspaper about the incident, seemed to downplay the assault and told student reporters that an electronic campus alert was not made about the rape because it was not a security issue.

“We are all outraged that this happened,” said Ana Maldonado, a concerned citizen who attended the rally in support of students. Other students at the rally said they represented a variety of student groups on campus.

“We do think that this was a security issue,” said Helen Proctor, a UMKC senior and co-founder of Squad of Siblings, a group focused on combating sexual violence in Kansas City.

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