MISSOULA — Two Deans at the University of Montana will resign following protests where students said administration in the Alexander Blewett III School of Law didn't take reports of sexual assault and misconduct seriously.
University of Montana spokesman Dave Kuntz says law school Dean Paul Kirgis submitted his resignation Wednesday night.
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"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. Regardless, he made the decision that he did this week."
Earlier this year, Keila Szpaller with the Daily Montanan reported that Kirgis, along with Associate Dean Sally Weaver, discouraged students from reporting sexual misconduct to the Title XI office.
"I think everybody over at the law school is eager to turn the page," said Kuntz.
Kuntz said Weaver will also step down, "that timeline hasn't been determined yet, but she'll move on from her role as well." He added this has been disruptive to the school, but UM is looking ahead.
"Despite everything that's happened this week, we're really eager to make sure our students are served, and that's with our student services, and the resources they need. While this week was disruptive at the law school, we think this decision will help us work collaboratively to find that leader going forward who can really lead the law school into this new chapter." - University of Montana spokesman Dave Kuntz
Kirgis will return to the classroom. MTN News did reach out to both Kirgis and Weaver.
"We respect Dean Kirgis' decision and his service of nearly a decade to the University. Right now we're going to shift our focus to finding a strong leader that can come in, work with the faculty, work with the staff over at the law school to turn the page," said Kuntz.
Kuntz said the University will launch a nationwide search for a new dean as soon as possible. There will likely be an interim dean until a replacement is hired, and in the meantime, acting provost Reed Humphry will take over leadership.