MISSOULA — The University of Montana has launched an investigation into one of its professors for what President Seth Bodnar called "homophobic and misogynistic views" expressed in his blog.
Just days after the University of Montana Law School came under fire for the mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations, a new controversy is brewing.
The Montana Kaimin -- UM’s student newspaper -- first broke the story of computer science professor Rob Smith, who they say had posted disparaging remarks towards women, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community in a personal blog.
The blog and its contents have since been deleted, but they’ve prompted a reaction from students, staff, even administration.
“I am personally disgusted by the homophobic and misogynistic views that were reported in the Montana Kaimin. Building a culture of respect, empowerment, and equity is foundational to our mission at UM as well as personally important to me. I have directed the appropriate university officials to take immediate action to address this matter through investigatory and supportive measures,” UM President Seth Bodnar stated in a tweet on Monday.
I'm disgusted by the homophobic & misogynistic views reported in the @MontanaKaimin. Building a culture of respect, empowerment, & equity is foundational to our mission. I have directed UM officials to immediately address this matter through investigatory & supportive measures.
— Seth Bodnar (@SethBodnar) October 11, 2021
UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz told MTN News that Smith is on leave pending the conclusion of the university’s investigation, and he will no longer be teaching and or be physically on campus during his leave.
"The University of Montana is a place of 10,000 students and 3,000 employees and we really celebrate open thought and discussion. But when that crosses the line into harming students or potentially putting our environment at risk for safe learning spaces. We want to take swift action that's at the university did last week and again this week." - UM spokesman Dave Kuntz
Smith’s classes are planned to continue as scheduled with another instructor. The university’s goal is to make this transition with as little disruption as possible for the students in the Computer Science department.