Professor Resigns Amid Probe Into Posts On Women, Muslims

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A University of Montana professor who was placed on administrative leave while the university investigated blog posts about his religious beliefs that maligned women, Muslims and people who are LGBTQ resigned on Friday.

“It is apparent to me that this investigation is not being handled with the objective due process I was assured it would,” computer science professor Rob Smith said in a statement released by his attorney, Matthew Monforton.

“Rather than lend legitimacy to an investigation that I believe is being conducted dishonestly and, in the interest of sparing my wife and children the need to endure another ‘investigation’ where merit is trumped by ideology, I am choosing to resign, effective today," Smith wrote.

The UM student newspaper, the Montana Kaimin, was first to report the blog posts in which Smith wrote that women begin to “lose value” after age 16, that faithful Muslims are not peaceful and that child sex trafficking and pedophilia are driven by the ”sins” of accepting LGBTQ people.

At the time, Smith said the posts were his private beliefs and such comments have not been made in his capacity as a professor.

UM President Seth Bodnar announced an investigation on Oct. 12, calling Smith’s views “homophobic and misogynistic.”

Smith began his blog, called “Upward Thought,” in 2013. By late September, Smith had deleted his previous posts and wrote that his blog was a way for him “to be able to think out loud” and “hear the feedback of others.”

The Kaimin had saved some of the posts.

In January 2019, Smith wrote that a man’s value “keeps increasing over time,” in terms of his earnings and wisdom, but “the longer a woman waits to marry, the less currency she has to attract a valuable man.”

In a November 2020 post, Smith called it a "false idea” that “girls should experience the same education as boys,” suggesting it can delay a woman from starting a family until she is in her 30s when her “ability to qualify for a good husband and learn what it takes to be a good wife and mother is exceedingly reduced.”

A week before Smith went on leave, the dean and associate dean of the university’s law school stepped down after students complained the administrators failed to take seriously reports of sexual harassment and assault.