MISSOULA, Mont. - A University of Montana computer science professor is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, after the campus newspaper detailed his controversial blog posts which included offensive statements about women, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and Muslims.
UM's communications director Dave Kuntz confirmed Rob Smith is on leave as of Monday night, adding Smith will no longer be teaching and will not be on campus during his leave.
Smith's leave and the school's investigation follow reporting by the campus newspaper the Montana Kaimin, after student reporters published a number articles and podcasts about Smith's blog "Upward Thought."
According to the Kaimin, Smith deleted posts from his blog after their reporting started, however many of the posts are archived online.
In one post archived by the Kaimin, Smith writes about the physical attractiveness of women, referring to it as "your most valuable asset in finding a husband," adding "This value peaks from 16-18, fades slowly until 25, then starts fading quickly."
Other posts archived by the Kaimin titled "Homosexuality" and "Muslim Immigration: Stacking the deck to fulfill prophecy" include discriminatory remarks, raising concerns from the campus community.
UM Senior, Betta Lyon-Delsordo is studying Computer Science and Spanish and said she's appalled by the posts.
"I couldn't believe that somebody had written these things, who was working with students, who was supposed to be a role model and mentor to students," Delsordo said.
"His comments and behavior make it unacceptable for him to remain a university professor, where he requires young women to visit him alone during his office hours, and insinuates that he is attracted to teenagers," reads the front page of the Fire Rob Smith website.
University of Montana's Director of Strategic Communications, Dave Kuntz, said Smith is on paid administrative leave, while a campus investigation is underway.
"The racist the misogynistic language that was used, the anti-LGBT language that was used was not consistent with the University of Montana and what we stand for. It's not what our students stand for, it's not why they choose to come to school here. So we had to make swift action this week to make sure that we put the students success first," Kuntz said.
University of Montana President Seth Bodnar posted a statement on Twitter Monday, which reads, "I'm disgusted by the homophobic & misogynistic views reported in the Montana Kaimin. 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."
Smith's classes are planned to continue during the investigation with another professor. "The university’s goal is to make this transition with as little disruption as possible for the students in the computer science department," said Kuntz in via email.