The University of Missouri-Kansas City is investigating reports of a sexual assault committed by UMKC students at an off-campus party on Friday, the interim chancellor told students and faculty on Monday.
School officials said they have reached out to persons involved and an investigation is underway.
“We take such reports very seriously,” said a letter to the UMKC community from Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, interim chancellor and provost. “UMKC puts the highest priority on the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and members of our community.”
The 19-year-old boyfriend of the female UMKC student who reported the assault said he was at the party and later was with his girlfriend when she described it to police.
She wrote in a message to The Star that he had permission to speak on her behalf. Generally, The Star’s policy is to not name victims of sexual assault.
The man said the party was winding down at a home in the 4900 block of Lydia Avenue when three male UMKC students surrounded his girlfriend in the kitchen and started pulling their pants down.
When she tried to leave, they grabbed her and blocked the doorway, he said, but she escaped, screaming. He said he and others tried to identify the three male students but were not able to as everyone left the party.
On Saturday, he and his girlfriend went to a Kansas City Police Department station and made a report of the incident, the man said.
Later that day, they also went to a UMKC campus police station, where officers told them that they would not investigate because Kansas City police had jurisdiction and had taken a report.
Still, he said, he was troubled that the campus police did not bother to take down any information, such as their names and phone numbers.
“Their arms were crossed,” he said. “They weren’t taking notes. They didn’t ask for anybody’s names.”
Monday, the man said, he and his girlfriend spoke with UMKC’s Title IX coordinator, who took a report on the incident.
“She was very helpful,” the man said. “She wanted to know everything about the situation. That talk with her today was more reassuring than our two previous contacts with police, because it seemed like she actually cared and was going to do something about it.”
School officials say they are seeking the public’s help. Anyone with information should call the UMKC Title IX coordinator, Mikah K. Thompson, at 816-235-6910 or the campus police at 816-235-1515.
The incident has generated substantial activity on social media, Bichelmeyer said in her letter to the UMKC community. She could not be reached for comment.
UMKC campus police did not investigate because the incident did not occur on campus, said John Martellaro, a UMKC spokesman.
Because the matter remains under investigation, Martellaro declined further comment.