Warning sign? Or hate speech? Sign raises alarm at UM.


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

Stacy Rye will be good for media

Photo editor Kurt Wilson captured the look on Stacy Rye’s face. I think it’s happiness and surprise all at the same time.

In September, Rye will be sworn in as a county commissioner, replacing Bill Carey. Carey is retiring before the end of his term.

Sometimes, I think process is a sham, and deciders have already made a decision before the process follows its course. In this case, my faith in process was restored a tiny bit.

Early on, Commissioner Jean Curtiss talked about selecting a candidate to replace Carey. She didn’t mention Rye by name, but she said the job differs from city government, and she said commissioners don’t represent just one city ward.

Rye served on the Missoula City Council for eight years, and the comments definitely seemed like a direct notice to the former councilwoman.

I figured the remarks meant she wouldn’t be voting for Rye.

I figured wrong. Curtiss and Commissioner Cola Rowley had to reach consensus on the appointment, and they did on the first try after multiple candidate interviews and at least one questionnaire.

Here’s the comment Curtiss made in Martin Kidston’s story:

(Rye) is the one who is the most ready on Day 1. She has served as an elected official for eight years, has experience with public policy, has knowledge of local government and understands the challenges of the (agricultural) policy.

Also running were Shantelle Gaynor, a longtime county employee, and Jim Parker, who runs campaigns for Democratic candidates.

As a reporter, I’m glad Rye got the job.

Candidates often pledge transparency and media access while they’re campaigning, and once they’ve won, they batten down the hatches. Or cry about coverage. Or throw tantrums. But I digress.

I covered City Hall when Rye was a councilwoman, and I’m pleased someone who talks to media got the commissioner job.¬†I know Rye didn’t like at least some of my City Hall coverage, but she never shied away from talking with the Missoulian.

Gaynor also has a track record of being available to press, and I believe she would have continued to communicate with reporters as well had she been appointed.

In other news, I’ve continued to cover the departures of the state medical examiners. Here’s a story about a family who was told the wrong cause of death for their child by a pathologist the state retained for years despite his problematic track record.

All for now.

– Keila Szpaller