A University of Montana computer science professor was placed on paid leave Tuesday while UM conducts an investigation on his controversial blog posts, according to the University’s director of communications.
Rob Smith, tenured faculty of the Computer Science Department in the College of the Humanities, was placed on leave from his classes and campus after the Kaimin published the contents of his now-deleted blog “Upward Thought,” which featured his musings on gender, biology, religion and more.
“The University’s goal is to make this transition with as little disruption as possible for the students in the computer science department,” Dave Kuntz, UM communications director, said.
The investigation will involve the University’s Title IX and legal offices. Administrators will look into Smith’s blog, his YouTube channel and any student allegations brought against him in light of the Kaimin’s Monday article, Kuntz said.
Smith’s blog disparaged women, Muslims, the LGBTQ+ community and other groups. He said age of consent was a “social construct,” and the way for women to feel fulfillment is by having children before their biological clock expires — something that, by his definition, occurs between the ages of 13-25.
In one blog post, “Isaiah 3 part 2: The problem with the women,” Smith writes: “It will come across as some wacko propaganda, but did you know that women peak physically at age 16? 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. [I use the word woman because historically people used to base a woman's physical maturity on--you know, her physical maturity, instead of on an arbitrary age.]”
In a different blog post, Smith writes: “Men and women are different when it comes to production, even in a service/information economy. Testosterone creates drive and aggression, which translates into professional performance. Because of this, a graph of production for the whole population would be a Pareto distribution, and you would find far more men at the right side than women.”
While Smith is on leave, another professor will teach his classes. Kuntz said UM has no definitive timeline for the investigation, but the University will be working as quickly as possible to limit campus disruption.
Kuntz explained the University was paying Smith during this leave because of Smith’s collective bargaining agreement, the terms he agreed to when he was hired on as a faculty member.
"I am disheartened by some of the conclusions that have been expressed about my role at the University of Montana," Smith said in an email statement. "Any thoughts expressed on my personal blog do not, and have not, been made in my capacity as a faculty member, but have been made as a private citizen, and any such thoughts do not represent the University of Montana. I regret any offense caused by my expression of views as a private citizen outside of the workplace."
The Kaimin’s original story on Smith’s blog dives deeper into more posts. Though Smith deleted the blog, the Kaimin downloaded 48 entries, all of which can be found here.
This story will be updated.