➤ UMASS’ CONTRACT, from p.14
In October 2019, some members of the College
Democrats of Massachusetts (CDMA)
decided to smear Morse as a sexual predator
who used his status as mayor and a lecturer at
UMass from 2014 through 2019 to seduce students,
according to reporting by The Intercept,
an online news outlet. Timothy Ennis, one of
the students, hoped to win a job working for
Neal. Andrew Abramson, then the president
of a CDMA chapter, assisted and other CDMA
members may have been involved. They were
helped by senior offi cers in the Massachusetts
State Democratic Party.
The CDMA members unsuccessfully pitched
the Morse story to media outlets for several
months. Just three weeks before the primary,
the CDMA executive board approved a letter
that was sent to Morse that made vague and
unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct
with students and told him he was no
longer welcome at CDMA meetings. The letter
was leaked to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian,
a UMass student newspaper, which published
portions of the letter on August 7. Parts
of Morse’s statement were included in the story.
Morse, 31, said he had enjoyed consensual sex
with other adult men, some of whom he met on a
social media app and happened to be students.
Consensual sex between adults of the same
sex is legal in Massachusetts and across the
country. UMass policy allows faculty to have
sex with students who they are not teaching,
grading, or supervising. Many gay men use social
media apps, such as Tinder and Grindr, to
meet other men for sex.
UMass announced on August 8 that it would
investigate Morse “to determine whether the alleged
actions during his time as a university
lecturer were in violation of university policy or
federal Title IX law.”
By August 12, Tidwell had signed a document
➤ COP UNION V. RITCHIE, from p.16
They intimated the City Council defunding
the NYPD was partially to blame for the rise
in shootings. Torres supported the newbudget,
which purportedly shifted a billion dollars away
from the NYPD — though that is disputed.
“Should be a short investigation: 2000+ retirements
and resignations this year, ZERO new
PHOTO REUTERS/ CLODAGH KILCOYNE
House Ways and Means chair Richard Neal on a 2019 junket to
Ireland with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
attesting that she had read certain documents
provided to her by UMass, and Gerry Leone,
UMass’ general counsel, signed the contract
the next day. While UMass rushed to announce
the investigation during a hotly contested Democratic
primary, it was in no rush to end the
“This Agreement shall commence on August
12, 2020 and continue until terminated,” the
UMass issued a press release on August 14
announcing the Tidwell hire and asked “members
of the UMass Amherst community, as well
as anyone else who may have relevant facts regarding
the allegations” to contact Tidwell.
No student has come forward publicly to object
to Morse’s conduct and UMass has refused
to say if its invitation to “anyone” at UMass to
complain has produced a complaint.
In a series of stories, The Intercept proved
that the allegations against Morse were fabricated,
but those stories were no match for local
media that largely pushed the allegations and
Neal and his political allies who continued to
treat them as true or at least credible. Morse
lost the primary by roughly 20 points.
It is unclear why UMass has elected to run
the investigation through its general counsel’s
offi ce as opposed to using one of the university’s
cops hired since Jan., hundreds of millions in
overtime funds cut, and a raft of new laws that
killed proactive policing. What did you think
would happen?,” the PBA tweeted.
Torres, in reply, referred to an Independent
Budget Offi ce report indicating the NYPD would
likely exceed the overtime cap by $400 million.
“You feel hamstrung by a cap that exists only
on paper? I wish there were a cap on the @NYCPBA’s
nine Title IX offi ces.
Title IX is part of a federal law enacted in
1972 and is intended to address discrimination
against women at school districts or universities
that receive federal funding. In 2011, the
Obama administration expanded the scope of
Title IX to require those federally-funded entities
to address sexual harassment and sexual
assault. The recipients had to create grievance
processes to handle this new class of Title IX
complaints that have been praised for making
schools safer but also criticized as unfair and
biased toward those accused in a complaint.
In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded
the Obama “Dear Colleague” letter that created
the Title IX regime and began the process of issuing
regulations governing Title IX in 2019. It
issued fi nal regulations in May of this year that
took effect on August 14, the day after the UMass
general counsel signed the contract with
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.
In June, public schools and universities, including
UMass, in 18 states sued the US Department
of Education to stop the new regulations.
In a June affi davit submitted by Leone
in that lawsuit, he wrote, “Over 400 employee
and student Title IX/ sexual misconduct cases
have been reported during the past two fi scal
years (July I through to June 30). Of those 400
reports, UMass teams investigated 200 complaints.”
Gay City News sent detailed questions to Leone
in an email, including one asking if his offi
ce handled any of the 200-plus complaints not
processed by the Title IX teams and if any of
those were farmed out to a private law fi rm. In
response, Leone wrote, “During the pendency
of an investigation, the Offi ce of General Counsel
will not be discussing the matter externally
with anyone not involved in the investigation.”
Reached via email, Morse indicated a willingness
to comment, but did not respond to a
follow-up email and a phone message.
endless excuse-making and self-pity,”
The SBA got into trouble for previousl tweets,
taking fl ak for mocking homelessness and
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies on housing. Twitter
temporarily suspended its account after
it doxxed Chiara de Blasio, the mayor’s daughter,
publicizing her info following her June arrest
during the George Floyd protests.
➤ HOUSE OF YES, from p.17
regulations as unnecessarily harsh. Two of the
directives, issued in July, require bars to include
food with every order and to serve seated
customers only in an effort to minimize crowding.
One Manhattan restaurant owner began
a petition in July calling on Cuomo to revoke
his executive order forcing bars to serve food,
arguing that the edict puts an unfair burden on
the struggling businesses.
“The resulting mandate not only puts an
onerous burden on bar owners, it has no bearing
on safety or health,” read the petition, which
has been signed by more than 5,000 people. “All
super-spreader events have been about ventilation
— or the lack thereof — and proximity, not
what the people were ingesting.”
On House of Yes’ Instagram post, its owners
implied that the state’s unclear guidelines hurt
restaurant operators who are trying to follow
“We tried our absolute best to follow all the
guidelines dictated by 4 different agencies, and
still somehow came up short,” they wrote.
September 10 - September 23, 2 36 020 | GayCityNews.com