Community Questions UMES Hiring Decision

The new hire at University of Maryland Eastern Shore is starting to raise some questions. 

"You could have found somebody better, that had better credentials that didn't carryover the bad resume. Cause I feel like definitely with this area, we're a family community base.", says Princess Anne resident, Marion Fletcher. 

Residents are concerned about the background of Jason Casares, the new Title IX coordinator at the university, because of allegations raised against him while he was working at University of Indiana Bloomington in a similar role. 

In December of 2015, a woman accused Casares of sexually assaulted her at a conference in Texas.

That accuser filed a report with police, but no charges were issued. 

She also tweeted an open letter laying out her allegations. 

Saying in part, "I made the mistake of letting my guard down while socializing with Jason about Association business. Jason took advantage of me after I had had too much to drink." 

That's when the university put him on administrative leave and launched an investigation of their own. 

Casares resigned later that month. 

47 ABC asked UI Bloomington about what happened and were given a statement in response that says they investigated the allegations and Casares resigned. 

University officials also said they couldn't comment further because the situation was a personnel matter.  

Regardless of why he resigned, his hiring is something that's not sitting well with some members of the community like Marion Fletcher.

"Especially for our campus. Really the only thing for Princess Anne is UMES. So we're big on the community. By him having these things in the past allegations and its not really committing any crimes but its still the allegation it brings about a pretty iffy situation." 

According to crime stats published on UMES', website there were 17 reported sex crimes to the school in 2016.

But those numbers may be far less than what actually occurs. 

We spoke with an expert in the field who says many people on college campuses never come forward and if they question the integrity of the Title IX office  even more may choose to stay quiet. 

"It would be imperative that they are trustworthy. That the survivors, the victims, the people that have complaints and are coming forward will feel like their complaints are going to be handled in the utmost professional way."

And Adriann Stanley thinks the hire is a bad move. 

 "I think its a smack in the face. How can they expect somebody to feel comfortable going to the office with somebody who has previously been dealt with sexual harassment. Like you don't feel comfortable. I know I wouldn't feel comfortable."
 
Now some community members like "Joyce"  are wondering how he got the job. 

"Whoever did the background check did not do a very good thorough background check at all. Or they might not have cared, they just wanted to put this guy in position here at UMES. No I don't think that they cared really." 

We spoke to UMES about Casares' hiring  and even asked to speak to Casares himself about the allegations. 

Those requests were denied  instead all we got is this statement which says in part that before he was hired, he went through a background check and vetting process. 

 

Categories: Local News, Maryland

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