Paul L. Caron

Friday, October 8, 2021

Montana Law School Dean, Associate Dean Resign Following Student Walkout Over Mishandling Of Sexual Misconduct Allegations; Provost Temporarily Takes Control

Daily Montanan, Paul Kirgis Steps Down as Dean of UM School of Law; Sally Weaver Also to Resign as Associate Dean:

Montana Logo (2021)Paul Kirgis stepped down late Wednesday afternoon as dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana.

“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 a brief resignation 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.”

Kirgis remains a tenured faculty member at UM, where he was hired in 2015. UM said the provost will temporarily take the reins of the law school and oversee the transition to a new acting leader as soon as possible.

In an email Thursday to the Blewett School of Law community, Kirgis said Associate Dean of Students Sally Weaver also will “step aside from her position.” ...

In a walkout Tuesday that drew roughly 120 demonstrators, students from the law school called on President Seth Bodnar to request resignations from Kirgis and Weaver. Students had said the law school administrators were mishandling sexual misconduct allegations and destroying the reputation of students and faculty at the law school.

The resignation and demonstration followed reports from students that Kirgis and Weaver discouraged women from taking sexual assault allegations, including rape, to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, as first reported by the Daily Montanan. The Title IX office handles sexual misconduct on campus.

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