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UMKC Professor Resigns After Allegations That He Exploited Students For Labor

School of Pharmacy

After an eight-month investigation into alleged misconduct as a tenured professor, Ashim Mitra has resigned from the School of Pharmacy at the Universty of Missouri-Kansas City.

UMKC launched the investigation after reports that Mitra, who is from India, was taking advantage of his Indian students.

The Kansas City Star reported on the investigation last fall, talking to dozens of students who claimed that Mitra had threatened their student status and even their student visa status if they refused to do household chores. Students reported being asked to clean Mitra’s flooded basement, take care of his dog and serve food at Indian cultural events. One student described the work as "modern slavery." 

In November, the university began dismissal proceedings based on violations of the university’s Standards of Faculty Conduct. Under the proceedings, Mitra was immediatly suspended from his post pending completion of the investigation.

Mitra submitted a letter of resignation in recent days, before a formal disciplinary hearing was to take place, according to university spokesman John Martellaro.

"As I have stated unequivocally, UMKC does not tolerate misconduct,” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said in a press release. "We investigate reports of misconduct and, when a report is substantiated, the violator is subject to discipline.” 

The university declined to offer any further comment. Mitra did not immediately return KCUR's phone calls.

Under the terms of his resignation, Mitra relinquished his tenure immediately. He is banned from campus unless authorized, and is to have no contact with students. All his research and lab work are to be fully completed by March 31.

KCUR is licensed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @laurazig or email lauraz@kcur.org.

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