I saw this sign posted Thursday on a kiosk outside Main Hall at the University of Montana.
It definitely caught my eye, and I sent a picture out on Twitter.
Soon after, vice president of integrated communications Peggy Kuhr called and said the sign had been removed because it could fall into the category of hate speech.
She also said the Title IX office had been alerted and campus police would be as well.
Kuhr said she did not want the sign posted on Twitter: “The key here is that we take special care not to disseminate hateful speech.”
She also said UM was going to look for similar signs on campus and take any others down.
“It’s distressing, and it’s taken seriously,” Kuhr said.
I don’t know if it’s hate speech, or of it’s a campaign warning women. I hypothesized that a woman who had been attacked in the past posted the sign, but I don’t know the source.
UM had, in the past, a rape problem. Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio brought the problem to light several years ago, Jon Krakauer wrote a book about it this year, and he said the problem was prevalent on campuses across the country.
By many accounts, UM has gone to great lengths to raise awareness about sexual violence and even take measures to create a culture that protects women.
I think the sign shows the issue is still fresh for some people on campus. Regardless, it was an interesting thing to run across, and so I shared it.
I’ve shared pictures of farmers market veggies on campus, and the tasty lunch from the taco truck at the oval, and no doubt, I’ll be sending out some pictures that are maddening to officials.
I hope it all gives people a window into the Missoula campus. It’s a cool place, sign or no sign.
– Keila Szpaller