It’s Time for People To Be Fired In Missoula

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I just had the opportunity to read the Missoulian’s story on the ongoing rape crisis in Missoula. As unbelievably bad as the response from the University, Police Department, and city have been up to this point, the newly released e-mails reveal a culture hostile to women who reported rape and more interested in public relations than justice or even safety.

Heads need to roll. Not for the sake of UM’s reputation, not for the abstract pursuit of justice, but to ensure that Missoula is no longer a community that tolerates this kind of behavior from people entrusted with protecting public and student safety.

No one who believes that it’s appropriate to accuse rape victims of lying deserves to serve in a job committed to public safety. No one who believes it’s appropriate to punish a rape victim for having the courage to go public should serve in a position involved with students.

Huge credit to the Missoulian for investing the resources to get these e-mails. Read jhwygirl’s take over at 4and20blackbirds.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Rob KaileylizardThe Polish WolfMoorcatCaptBobALou Recent comment authors
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CaptBobALou
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CaptBobALou

I’m reading the lack of comments as, “You are exactly right.”

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

You’re reading them correctly, I think.

Rob Kailey
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Whatever you do, Pogie, don’t tell Missoulians that they might actually be responsible for this mess. It must certainly be someone else’s fault. Let’s say Foley, or maybe Engen. Certainly no idea or person that Missoulians had a hand in promoting … To those who’ve actually paid attention, these issues go back decades. This is not a new outrage. My question is this: can Missoula overcome it’s moral arrogance and actually change the culture that’s been built over a quarter century? My pessimistic assessment is “no”. The people who could change things are never to be even remotely responsible. It… Read more »

lizard
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lizard

expressing the need for accountability of leadership does not exclude individual action as one disingenuous commenter seems to be insinuating. both are needed, and both can happen simultaneously. part of beginning to address the cultural baggage is to demand new leadership to begin working on shifting institutional priorities. at the same time, go to events like the slut walk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gipbgWy2YvU

as for the Missoula bashing and prognostication of partisan consequences, that’s not what this is about. those who take it there are being counterproductive and opportunistic.

Rob Kailey
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Missoula bashing? Where were you 20 years ago, Lizard? Just asking …

Rob Kailey
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Let’s be clear, poet. These issues plagued Missoula a very long time ago. Some of us, a few, complained about such well before your poet ass ever moved to this town. Quit pretending that your arrival marked the outrage. It didn’t, nor would it.

Moorcat
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Lizard’s left handed insult to Rob aside (he is a big boy and quite capable of speaking for himself), I find the situation in Missoula to be beyond words. Understand that I have a daughter attending UM right now so I have been keeping quite a bit of attention on the situation. What disturbs me most is that it now it has spawned a Federal Investigation due to the lack of action taking by the various parties involved. Why should this federal action be needed? As far as the situation spanning decades, it does, regardless of how much you dislike… Read more »

lizard
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lizard

well, what I find most disturbing is how women who report being raped get blamed—not just by law enforcement (I know one person who is a part of the 80 case review), but by their peers as well. and if it’s not overt blame, then it’s a more broad, cultural indifference to the prevalence of sexual assaults that happen, the majority being perpetrated by assailants the victims have some familiarity with.

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

I understand Rob’s frustration with moral arrogance; it’s a common annoyance of towns where academia has a powerful influence. But there’s a much bigger issue here, and it’s certainly not limited to Missoula, or college towns. For all the progress that has been made in women’s rights, that assertiveness in women’s rights (like the slut walk you mentioned) has a certain backlash, both among young men who have decided that those women have gone too far, and who would never rat out a ‘bro’ for the sake of a ‘hoe’. I observe it frequently with my male students, which is… Read more »

Rob Kailey
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The problem with moral arrogance is part and parcel of what you refer to as the bigger issue. Pointing out that moral arrogance exists is not an accusation of immorality against it’s supporters. Those who rely on that righteous ego often use that illusion to vilify critique, in the manner of “you’re blaming us yet we are righteous, so it must be you who are flawed”. The Catholic church has used that fallacy with great effectiveness. Moral arrogance truly isn’t an immorality, but rather a denial, one that most of us engage in at points in our lives. In terms… Read more »

lizard
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lizard

Missoula is where you go, who you talk to. those who peddle this beautiful valley as some idyllic liberal enclave are as guilty of trying to box up and label this town’s diversity as some axe-grinder who hands out blanket accusations of moral arrogance.

JC has a post worth reading about image and truth. there is lots of defensiveness being expressed by those who take a part in manufacturing the image.

Rob Kailey
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“Axe grinding” or not, JC wrote nothing more than I have, and in fact considerably less. He takes his ire out on the Missoula Independent, and well he should when they defend the very moral arrogance you seem pissed at me for having the temerity to point out. The key to that, Lizard, is that an image has to exist in consciousness for it to be defended. The Missoula Independent didn’t create that image. Neither did Fred Van Valkenburg, President Engstrom or Mayor Engen. Pat Williams I would say is probably a bit more culpable, and kudos to Duganz for… Read more »

Rob Kailey
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I’ been out working on a fence for a while, but it just keeps bugging me.

Somehow I doubt that the victims of Missoula’s culture of rape are all that comforted by knowing that their online champions bravely avoid using their own real names.

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