Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The University of Montana has complied with a request from Montana Governor Greg Gianforte to take down its institutional TikTok account.

According to a press release from the governor’s office that stated: ‘After banning TikTok on state devices, for state business, and while connected to the state network, Governor Greg Gianforte today urged the Board of Regents to support efforts by Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian to take similar action within the university system.’

Governor Requests all State Agencies Remove their TikTok Accounts

KGVO News spoke to UM Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz who said UM agreed to comply with the governor’s request.

“As the Montana University System is a state agency, just like the other agencies that run the state government, and with the governor's memo, the university system will begin the process of taking down any TikTok accounts that are run on state hardware, state servers, etc.,” began Kuntz. “Here at the University of Montana, we do have an institutional TikTok account that's used for marketing and student communications. And so we've begun that process to comply with the governor's memo and take some proactive actions.”

UM Received the request over the Holidays and is Complying

The governor cited the fact that TikTok is run by the Communist Chinese government and ‘may pose a massive security threat’. Kuntz said UM officials received the memo during the Christmas holidays and had already begun the process of taking down the site.

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“There's no pushback on this issue from the university or the system,” he said.
“We do have our own IT leadership and reporting system, but we got the governor's memo here shortly before the Christmas holiday and have begun the process to comply with it. So we plan to be in complete compliance with that memo here in the coming days and weeks as we start to put those accounts on pause.”

Kuntz acknowledged the fact that all state agencies are complying with the request from the governor.

“As a state agency, we want to make sure that we're in compliance with that memo and continue to be good partners with the data of our students, our administrators, the folks who administrate those accounts,” he said. “We got that memo from the governor here a few weeks ago and the work is being done to make sure that we're in compliance with it, just as other state agencies such as the Department of Commerce or the Department of Labor and Industry are in compliance with it, too.”

Kuntz said Students and Staff are Free to Keep their own TikTok Accounts

Kuntz was careful to note that individual students and staff are not included in the request to eliminate TikTok from their social media.

“For now with this memo from the Governor, we will take down that institutional TikTok account,” he said. “But you're right. That doesn't mean that we will have students on campus won’t be utilizing their own TikTok accounts. This memo is specific for the accounts that are run by the state agencies of which the University Montana is a part of the university system.”

KGVO also reached out to Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian for a comment.

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