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, […]

Law students feel relief at resignations, sadness at experiences of women

BY: - October 7, 2021

News of resignations by the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana dean and associate dean of students elicited “widespread relief” from many students Thursday, some sadness the situation had to reach a boiling point, but also hope for a fresh start. “There’s healing to be done,” said Kirsten Gerbatsch, a […]

GOP pushes back against FBI, Department of Justice looking into school board threats

BY: - October 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Thursday objected to a move by the Justice Department to investigate violent threats made against local school board members and teachers, arguing that the federal agency is “policing the speech of citizens and concerned parents.” “Violence and true threats of violence should have no place in our civic discourse, but […]

Paul Kirgis steps down as dean of UM School of Law; Sally Weaver also to resign as associate dean

BY: - October 7, 2021

Paul Kirgis stepped down late Wednesday afternoon as dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. “I have come to the conclusion that the School of Law and its students would be best served by a change in leadership,” Kirgis said in a brief resignation letter. “Consequently, I have […]

Court allows challenge to bill limiting election work on college campuses

BY: - October 6, 2021

A lawsuit challenging provisions of campaign finance legislation passed this year that restrict voter mobilization activities on college campuses — and indeed, the process by which those provisions were added to the bill — will be allowed to continue, ruled a Lewis and Clark County District Court judge on Wednesday. Plaintiffs Forward Montana, a political […]

UPDATED: Law students say, ‘Pack it out, Paul’

BY: - October 5, 2021

Everett Johns stood on the steps of Main Hall on Tuesday at the University of Montana and called on President Seth Bodnar to ask for the resignations of Alexander Blewett III School of Law Dean Paul Kirgis and Associate Dean of Students Sally Weaver. “At best, they are incompetent leaders, and at worst, they have […]

FBI to investigate threats made against school board members, teachers

BY: - October 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has directed the FBI to meet with local governments and law enforcement to discuss strategies for dealing with increasing threats to teachers and school board members spurred by a conservative backlash against discussions of race in public schools. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our […]

Prominent lawyer, former faculty, had raised leadership questions at law school

BY: - October 4, 2021

A prominent Montana lawyer and former longtime faculty member at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana had raised concerns about its leadership in 2019 in a pointed six-page letter declining an offer to stay on board. Maylinn Smith, then co-director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, told […]

Democrats plan for free community college would boost undocumented students

BY: - October 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—The massive economic policy package Democrats are trying to muscle through Congress could open the door to free community college for undocumented immigrants. But that lifeline for many people now denied access to higher education could also reignite controversies in Republican-leaning states over immigration and federal overreach. The provision on immigrants was included in a plan drafted […]

Congress has a plan for universal pre-K, but will states opt-in?

BY: - October 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nearly a fifth of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion sweeping social spending package is dedicated to providing low-cost care for children from birth to kindergarten—investments that would benefit single parents and low-income families. But how the states implement their programs for pre-K for 3-and 4-year-olds—or whether they even decide to accept the cash, […]

Parental rights advocates demonstrate at Capitol against school board mask mandates

BY: - October 1, 2021

The same day Senate Bill 400 — a bill limiting the government’s ability to interfere with parental rights — went into effect, nearly 100 people gathered outside the state Capitol on Friday to hear lawmakers and citizens promote parental rights. “The interests and role of parents and the care, custody, and control of their children […]