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Montana law school to launch independent review over handling of sexual harassment allegations

University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law building.
Ray Ekness
/
Montana Public Radio
University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law building.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The University of Montana law school is launching an independent review following a walkout and rally at the law school over alleged mistreatment of sexual harassment and assault victims.

About 100 university students and community members gathered Tuesday morning to demand change and accountability in the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, the Missoulian reported.

Speakers and students called on law school Dean Paul Kirgis and Associate Dean Sally Weaver to resign, saying the two administrators had failed students and created a toxic environment.

As first reported by the Daily Montanan, women from the law school say the dean and associate dean discouraged them from reporting allegations of sexual harassment and assault to the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.

Following students’ demands, university officials are launching an “independent, outside review to assess the learning and working environment in the Law School and the mechanisms in place to best support students,” according to a statement to the Missoulian on Tuesday from university spokesman Dave Kuntz.

The university has invested significant resources into investigating the allegations against the law school, Kuntz said in the statement. Those initial investigations found law school leaders did not violate university policy.