House candidate Alex Morse to stay in race as college students accuse him of inappropriate relations
The young progressive is running against Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts.
On Sunday, the Mayor of Holyoke, Mass., Democrat Alex Morse, said he will remain in his congressional primary following a series of accusations leveled against him by three groups of College Democrats who say he used his positions as mayor and as a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to coerce college students into sexual relationships.
In a statement, Morse denied using his political position to take advantage of students. "I want to be very clear about this. I have never, in my entire life, had a non-consensual sexual encounter with anyone. I have never used my position of power as Mayor and UMass lecturer for romantic or sexual gain, or to take advantage of students," he said.
Morse is currently in the middle of a congressional primary in Massachusetts' 1st District, where he is challenging Rep. Richard Neal, who has served in Congress since 2013.
The accusations, which were initially obtained by the Daily Collegian, allege that the young mayor regularly attended College Democrat events, where he met collegiate men, whom he then pursued romantically.
"We have heard countless stories of Morse adding students to his 'Close Friends Story' and Direct Messaging members of College Democrats on Instagram in a way that makes these students feel pressured to respond due to his status," read the letter from students.
Morse was hired as a political science lecturer by the university in 2014, and has taught a class for multiple semesters on the campus, most recently during the fall of 2019. The university told the Daily Collegian it has no plans to rehire Morse.
On Saturday, the university said it has launched an investigation into Morse's behavior to determine if he violated any Title IX measures.
In his statement, Morse wrote that he is "being held to a different standard, one deeply connected to a history of surveilling the sex lives of people like me," making reference to his identity as a gay man. Morse also wrote that the timing of the accusations is "unfortunate," as "there isn't enough time for UMass to conduct an independent review" prior to his Sept. 1 election.