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Computer science prof resigns amid blog controversy | News

Computer science prof resigns amid blog controversy | News

ibarra_robsmithrally-1 (copy)

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder outside the steps of Main Hall, More than a 100 Students gathered on in front of Main Hall on Oct. 15 calling for the resignation or firing of University of Montana computer science professor Rob Smith. Smith stepped down from his teaching position Friday afternoon. The announcement comes after Kaimin reporting on his blog “Upward Thought” which sparked controversy and condemnation from UM and across Montana.

A University of Montana computer science professor resigned Friday afternoon, the announcement coming after Kaimin reporting on his blog “Upward Thought” sparked controversy and condemnation from UM and across Montana. 

Professor Rob Smith, whose now-deleted blog featured his views on gender, biology, religion and more, submitted his letter of resignation Friday at noon, according to computer science department chair Jesse Johnson. 

“We now have the opportunity to think broadly and think deeply about our culture, what it is and what it should become,” Johnson said. 

Smith’s lawyer Matthew Montforton tweeted a statement from Rob Smith, dated Oct. 22. 

“It is apparent to me that this investigation is not being handled with the objective due process I was assured it would.” Smith writes in the letter. “Rather than lend legitimacy to an investigation that I believe is being conducted dishonestly… I am choosing to resign, effective today.”

Smith’s actual resignation letter consisted of a single line, sent to the associate deans of the College of Humanities and Sciences, the provost, his lawyer, and UM’s Title IX coordinator. 

“I hereby resign from my employment at the University of Montana, effective immediately,” Smith said. 

While the computer science department already arranged for Smith’s classes to be covered for the rest of the semester after Smith took paid administrative leave on Oct. 11, Johnson said the department will now have to find instructors to cover his classes for next semester. 

Johnson said he is working on bringing in a consultant to talk to the remaining faculty, help the department foster a culture of equity and avoid the hiring mistake made with Smith. 

“Personally, I’m delighted,” Johnson said. “I’m very confident that we all share in a collective sigh of relief.” 

“We’re relieved to have this situation resolved quickly,” said Julie Baldwin, associate dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. 

Smith’s blog disparaged women, Muslims, people who identify as LGBTQ+ and other groups. He said that age of consent was a “social construct,” women should not receive the same education as men, and that the way for women to feel fulfillment is by having children before their biological clock expires — a countdown that, by his definition, begins at 13.

In one blog post, Smith wrote: “One false idea widely promoted is that girls should experience the same kind of education as boys. Many reasons are given for this. Here is the reality: If you follow that advice, in addition to all the challenges women face in finding a husband worth marrying and learning the difficult lessons needed to be a good mother (all of which they will have to do with many years less preparation due to filling that time with vocational training and/or working), you are creating an almost insurmountable barrier of forcing your daughter to choose between the quick-and-easy reward of what tend to be simple jobs that women take and the hedonistic pleasure that money buys and the long haul, mundane role of a wife and mother.”

In a different blog post, Smith wrote: “If you are in your peak, seek a woman in hers. This means you should be dating women who are as close to 18 as you can get, whatever age you are.”

This story will be updated.