Professor Resigns Amid Investigation Into 'Homophobic and Misogynistic' Blog Posts

A University of Montana professor has resigned amid an investigation into blog posts he allegedly wrote containing offensive material toward women, Muslims and the LGBTQ+ community.

In the posts, which were first reported by the Montana Kaimin, the university's student-run newspaper, computer science professor Rob Smith allegedly wrote that the age of consent was a "social construct' and that women should have children before their biological clock expires to feel fulfillment.

"Did you know that women peak physically at age 16?" he allegedly remarked in one post. "It is interesting that, on the one hand, modern society has made it taboo for a man to marry a 16 year old or so woman, suggesting it is inappropriate to find a 16 year old or so woman attractive, while simultaneously designing all manner of makeup products and fine-twined linen to make women older than this look as similar as possible to 16 year old or so women.

David Kuntz, a university spokesperson, confirmed to Newsweek that Smith had resigned Friday, but offered no further details in a statement Saturday afternoon.

Matthew Monforton, who identified himself as Smith's attorney, tweeted a statement Friday from the professor, who claimed the investigation was "not being handled with the objective due process."

"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," he wrote in the statement.

Earlier in October, Smith said in a statement that the blog posts were his personal beliefs and were not made in his "capacity as a faculty member," the Great Falls Tribune reported.

The posts sparked pushback from both students, faculty and university administrators.

A petition calling on the university to fire Smith received more than 3,000 signatures. "His comments and behavior make it unacceptable for him to remain a university professor," it read.

The blog posts also prompted protests where students chanted for Smith to either be fired or resign.

"Resign Rob Smith!"
"Fire Rob Smith!"

— Skylar Rispens (@skylar_rispens) October 15, 2021

University of Montana President Seth Bodnar said in a tweet on October 11 that he was "disgusted by the homophobic & misogynistic views" allegedly expressed by Smith.

"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" he wrote.

Douglas Brinkerhoff, another faculty member in the computer science department, called the posts "ethically and intellectually bankrupt" in the Kaimin.

"I would not advise any student, but particularly one from an underrepresented group in [computer science], to work with or take a course from someone who holds the views declared in these blog posts and videos," he said.

Prior to his resignation, Smith had been placed on paid leave during the investigation. Jesse Johnson, the university's computer science department chair, told the Kaimin that he was "delighted" by the resignation.

"I'm very confident that we all share in a collective sigh of relief," he said.

Missoula Montana
A University of Montana professor has resigned following outrage from students over “homophobic and misogynistic” blog posts. Here, a woman is seen holding a sign in Missoula, where the university is located, on April 7, 2021. Janie Osborne/Getty Images for Green New Deal Network

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