University of Montana Launches Investigation of Computer Science Professor’s Blog Posts | State and regional
University of Montana students, staff and other community members call for the dismissal of computer science professor Rob Smith after the student newspaper published several blog posts and videos making disturbing statements about women , Muslims and LGBTQ people.
Smith is currently employed as a full faculty member “at this time,” according to UM spokesperson Dave Kuntz. The university is launching an investigation into the situation.
“I am personally disgusted by the homophobic and misogynistic views that have been reported in Montana Kaimin,” MU President Seth Bodnar said in a statement on Monday.
“Building a culture of respect, empowerment and fairness is at the core of our mission at UM and is personally important to me,” added Bodnar. “I have asked the appropriate university officials to take immediate action to address this issue through investigations and support measures.”
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Smith has been running a blog called “Upward Thought” since 2013 and joined the university as an associate professor in July 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In one article, he encourages men of all ages to engage in relationships with women as close to 18 as possible as they begin to “lose value” after the age of 16. In another, he states that the crises around child sex trafficking and pedophilia are driven by the “sins” of accepting queer and transgender people.
In January 2017, Smith wrote an article titled “Muslim Immigration: Stacking the Bridge to Fulfill Prophecy.”
“The point is, one cannot be both a peaceful Muslim and a faithful Muslim,” Smith wrote. “In other words, Muslims are only peaceful to the extent that they are not Muslims. “
Smith backs up his claims by quoting the Bible and Mormon texts. The blog frequently links to a YouTube channel of the same name with 304 subscribers. The Kaimin reported that Smith “was excommunicated from the Mormon Church.”
Smith could not be reached for comment for this story.
His blog posts have largely been deleted or archived since the Kaimin began reporting on the issue. The newspaper has saved PDFs of its blog posts to its website.
The only remaining blog post is titled “The Next Phase of This Blog” and was published on September 29th. Smith writes that the content of the blog is derived from the scriptures.
“Although this blog has always been public, it was never written for a general audience. It presupposes specific core beliefs, ”Smith wrote in the post.
“It’s strange to me that anyone who doesn’t believe in the scriptures spends their time on this blog, let alone researching things they don’t agree with, and there are sure to be a lot of them,” he said. he continued.
“I expected there would come a time when this format would not be sufficient anymore, and it looks like the time is right,” the post said.
Smith wrote that he spent time analyzing the “costs and benefits” of maintaining the blog and ultimately decided that “the costs outweigh the benefits.” He alluded to editing previous posts to “make them more suitable for the general public,” but said they are unlikely to be reposted anytime soon due to “book projects.”
In the wake of Kaimin’s report, students on campus organized a website, Change.org petition, and Facebook page calling for Smith’s dismissal.
One of those students is Betta Lyon Delsordo, a UM senior pursuing a dual major in computer science and Spanish with certificates in cybersecurity and global leadership. She first heard of Smith’s blog posts in early October.
Lyon Delsordo didn’t have Smith as a teacher or internship advisor because she deliberately structured her class schedule to avoid him after her sister told her about her own negative experiences with him, she said. declared.
“Knowing that this kind of person is in my department and is supposed to be a role model and inspire people to be their best in this area is really disheartening,” said Lyon Delsordo.
Computing is a profession largely dominated by men. Lyon Delsordo has been passionate about engaging young girls with IT for six years and tells them that technology has the power to change the world and that women need to be part of that change.
“The things that technology can do are very scary, but they can also be very powerful and that’s why we need to have more women in the field,” said Lyon Delsordo. “When we leave that power to guys like Rob, the things they’re going to do with technology can be very scary. “