Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

Embattled UM computer science faculty member resigns, questions Title IX investigation

By: - October 22, 2021

A University of Montana associate professor under investigation for a blog that disparaged women, LGBTQ+ people and Muslims announced his resignation Friday in a statement released on Twitter via his lawyer. “Recently, the University of Montana announced that it would investigate me after a public backlash over statements I made on my personal blog concerning […]

AG Knudsen asks court to toss Montana Medical Association lawsuit

By: - October 22, 2021

Arguing House Bill 702 created a “new protected class” in Montana, Attorney General Austin Knudsen asked the U.S. District Court in Missoula to throw out the lawsuit over legislation that prohibits hospitals from requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and other diseases. In the court filing, Knudsen said the plaintiffs, which include the Montana Medical […]

Montana Dems to GOP leaders: Investigate AG for power abuse, threats against health care workers

By: - October 21, 2021

Montana House and Senate minority leaders called Thursday for the Republican Senate president and House speaker to “take immediate action” and direct the Montana Legislature’s special counsel to launch a probe into reports Attorney General Austin Knudsen and other officials used state resources, including law enforcement, to harass and intimidate physicians and staff at St. […]

PSC chair: ‘No more lip service,’ agency addressing audit findings

By: - October 20, 2021

The Montana Public Service Commission received praise Wednesday for shoring up internal regulations and restructuring after a financial audit earlier this year showed abuses and led legislative auditors to call for better controls and an improved culture at the regulatory agency. “I just wanted to thank Mr. Brown (Chairman James Brown) for some really great […]

UM announces interim leadership at Blewett School of Law

By: - October 19, 2021

The University of Montana provost announced Tuesday the interim leadership at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law will be a trio of professors: Monte Mills, Sara Rinfret and Cathay Y.N. Smith will serve as acting deans as of Oct. 25. “I’m grateful to Professors Mills, Rinfret, and Smith for stepping forward at this critical […]

UM: Gender discrimination claims ‘false and inflammatory’

By: - October 18, 2021

Four women alleging gender discrimination at the University of Montana made “improper, false and inflammatory accusations” against the campus, and their complaint appeared to be “‘designed to provide quotations for newspaper stories,’” according to the response Monday from UM and the Montana University System. In court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Missoula, UM […]

Judge grants preliminary injunction in lawsuit against NorthWestern Energy

By: - October 14, 2021

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters granted this week a preliminary injunction on enforcement of a bill that aimed to help the coal-fired Colstrip power plant stay open — but legislation that the plaintiffs argue is unconstitutional. In the complaint, four of the Colstrip owners from Oregon and Washington alleged Senate Bill 266 impaired their contract […]

MSU holds grand opening for $20M American Indian Hall

By: - October 13, 2021

Montana State University will hold a grand opening Saturday for its new $20 million American Indian Hall, with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland among the dignitaries who plan to be in attendance. Walter Fleming, head of the Department of Native American Studies at MSU-Bozeman, said it’s exciting to host Haaland, a Pueblo of […]

PSC rejects NorthWestern’s request to increase base power costs

By: - October 12, 2021

The increase in July that many Montana power customers saw on their bills won’t be permanent — at least just yet. The Montana Public Service Commission denied last week NorthWestern’s application to increase its base power costs. In an earlier interim order, the commission had granted a request for a temporary adjustment, which NorthWestern had […]

UM: Computer Science faculty member put on leave

By: - October 12, 2021

A University of Montana Computer Science faculty member who had posted disparaging remarks about women, LGBTQ+ people and Muslims on his blog is on leave pending an investigation, UM said Tuesday. “That action was made last night,” said UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz in an email. “Mr. (Rob) Smith will no longer be teaching and he […]

UM: Computer Science faculty member under investigation

By: - October 11, 2021

An investigation of University of Montana Computer Science faculty member Rob Smith is underway following reports of derogatory statements about women and LGBTQ people he made on his blog, “Upward Thought,” a UM spokesperson said Monday. The Montana Kaimin reported this week that Smith had written posts that disparaged women, Muslims, and members of the […]

UM: Paul Kirgis to be ‘strong addition to the law faculty’

By: - October 10, 2021

An independent review of the University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law will begin as soon as possible, and UM plans to launch a national search for a new law school dean. “The search committee for a new dean will include students, faculty, staff, administrators and community leaders,” said Dave Kuntz, UM spokesperson, […]