Alex Morse, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts, apologized Friday after a prominent college group accused him of having inappropriate contact with students.
Morse, who has served as mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, since 2012, “used his position of power for romantic or sexual gain,” according to a letter sent by the College Democrats of Massachusetts to Morse on Thursday. The allegations were first reported by The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
The group accused Morse, 31, of regularly matching on dating apps with college students ― some as young as 18 ― and having sexual contact with students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he taught classes.
“Numerous incidents over the course of several years have shown that it is no longer appropriate to encourage interaction between College Democrats and Alex Morse,” the group, which has 25 chapters across the state, wrote in its letter.
In a statement, Morse acknowledged having had “consensual adult relationships” with some college students and apologized to anyone he has made feel “uncomfortable.”
“I want to be clear that every relationship I’ve had has been consensual. However, I also recognize that I have to be cognizant of my position of power,” Morse said in response to the allegations.
He added: “As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my sexuality, like any young, single, openly gay man, I have had consensual adult relationships, including some with college students. Navigating life as both a young gay man and an elected official can be difficult, but that doesn’t excuse poor judgment.”
The University of Massachusetts Amherst on Saturday announced a review of the allegations. The university said it has no plans to rehire Morse, who worked as an adjunct instructor between 2014 and fall 2019.
Morse became the youngest and first openly gay mayor of Holyoke after he was elected in 2011 at the age of 22....