Conservative Organizer Says UM Professor Sent Students to Harass
University of Montana student Taylor Powell told KGVO News this week that a UM Anthropology professor confronted her at her table at the University Center recently regarding the conservative nature of her organization, Turning Point USA.
Powell said Turning Point, USA has been officially recognized by the University of Montana.
Powell said the professor was raising funds for TSA agents who were part of the partial government shutdown, and did not appreciate Powell’s organization. When Powell praised her for the fundraising effort, she said the professor became more agitated.
“I have tabled for three weeks in a row, and this was on the 24th of January,” said Powell “The professor came up to me and started talking to me about what our university was and I informed her like I inform everyone else that we’re founded on free markets, free speech, limited government and individual rights and liberties. Basically what the Constitution upholds.”
Powell said she began getting students at her table who seemed confrontational, and eventually became personally abusive.
“The attack went from a political basis to personal attacks and due to the fact that I’m from North Dakota and that somehow I don’t understand Montana and the politics here, and I shouldn’t even be here because I’m not from this state,” she said. “I’m a student here. I have just as much right as any student at the university, whether I’m from Montana or North Dakota or any other country to be here and express my personal ideals.”
Powell said she realized that from remarks made by the professor about how her students had returned to class ‘energized’ after visiting her Turning Point USA table, that the professor had sent them to question her.
Powell said after receiving personal abuse, she broke down. Then, she decided to take action to keep the same treatment from happening to other students with opinions that don’t fit into the main stream at the university.
“We took the complaint to the Office of Equal Opportunity and they are going to be launching a formal investigation, which will involve them talking with the professor and, I guess figuring out her stance for doing that and what she did in the class,” she said. “They seemed somewhat concerned, but not entirely and they said it could take up to 60 days or longer for any action to be taken.”
KGVO has reached out several times via phone and email to the professor in question (who has not been named, and will not be identified until her side of the story can be told), but there has been no reply.
The Office of Equal Opportunity informed KGVO that all complaints to its office are confidential.