University of Montana Law School Dean, Associate Dean Resign Over Mishandling of Title IX Claims
The dean and associate dean of the University of Montana’s law school are resigning in response to allegations they ignored or mishandled claims of sexual assault and misconduct.
Missoula, Montana – Protests of the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law’s handling of sexual assault and misconduct claims have prompted two of its deans to resign.
Law school Dean Paul Kirgis submitted his resignation Wednesday night, reports the Daily Montanan.
“I have come to the conclusion that the School of Law and its students would be best served by a change in leadership,” Kirgis said in his letter. “Consequently, I have decided to step down as dean. My priority is to make that transition in a way that minimizes disruptions for students, faculty and staff. I will work with those groups and the provost to plan the process and timing for this transition.”
University of Montana spokesman Dave Kuntz said Weaver will also be resigning.
Kirgis’ and Weaver’s resignations came only two days after more than 100 students and community members protested at the law school and demanded their resignations. In a report by the Daily Montanan, at least 13 current and former students accused Kirgis and Weaver of various wrongdoings in handling their sexual misconduct claims, ranging from retaliation and intimidation to months-long delays in resolving claimant allegations, reports Yahoo News.
Both Kirgis and Weaver deny the allegations.
“The University of Montana Title IX office has investigated a lot of claims about students and faculty in the law school. Dean Kirgis was not found to have violated any University policy,” said Kuntz. “Regardless, he made the decision that he did this week.”
However, in response to the protests, the law school said it would launch an “independent, outside review to assess the learning and working environment in the Law School and the mechanisms in place to best support students,” Kuntz told The Daily Beast.
Kirgis’ and Weaver’s resignations come only three months after more than two dozen plaintiffs filed a lawsuit claiming the University of Montana fostered a toxic environment against women.