Brint Wahlberg: Right now I'm celebrating a major accomplishment, being upright for the last hour... I've come down with a bad stomach bug and it had me in and out all day long. I was fortunate enough to wake up about 10 minutes before the debate took place, I followed it on twitter, smiled and did some re-tweets after the vote, threw up, and went back to bed, ha. This could not have been done without everyone who supported this cause. I'm just one person, a Griz fan, and a life-long citizen of Missoula who helped lead the charge here. I don't necessarily think our efforts toppled a "sure thing" appointment, as other senators had concerns in advance. But I do think all of the calls, the emails, the letters, and testimonies shed enough light on the concerns of such a controversial appointment. This was all done because of everyone who rose to the occasion, made the calls and sent the emails. I saw today on twitter than Senator Peterson said he had over 3000 emails on this. I had great help with a small team of people who shared my concerns, thanks goes out to all of them just as much. My understanding is that Governor Bullock might have actually hoped the vote would go this way so another nomination could be made. Not sure if that's the total truth but if it is that goes to show the concern that was out there. Its time to move forward and begin some process of healing. I'm glad Pat Williams apologized today, he owes that to the people he unfairly categorized. Pat is a legendary Montana Democrat and has had a long and successful political career that I admire. My disagreement with him stands only because of his choice of words and recent actions. I know his family will continue to be a force in the political realm, as they should be. Thanks everyone who believed in this and fought for a cause where they knew that this team is full of great kids, good students, and excellent community stewards. The UM has not been without it's issues, but that was never the debate, even though other tried to steer it that way. It sure feels good, I'm hopping over to our change.org petition to close it out by clicking the "Victory!" button. Thanks, Brint
We are the families, friends and supporters of The University of Montana, and the Montana Grizzlies Football team. We are petitioning you to oppose the confirmation of former Governor Brian Schweitzer’s appointment of Mr. Pat Williams to the Board of Regents. We are seeking his removal for statements that were not merely irresponsible, but directly and intentionally damaging to the student athletes and those associated with The University of Montana.
Mr. Williams is appointed, and compensated, for his expenses to serve the citizens of our state and the higher education system. The recent public statements impugning the football players and the University not only breaches his duty to responsibly and objectively support the entire higher education system, but worse, it creates yet another highly public and local example of hate speech, social division and inflamed rhetoric.
Mr. Williams is an experienced public official who was appointed to serve the citizens of Montana, our University system, and all students, some of whom are athletes. He has breached this responsibility by publicly, and in his capacity as a member of the Board of Regents, labeling our football players as “thugs.” This statement was made with the clear objective to paint a very bad picture of our athletes and the overall integrity of the athletic department at Montana. These young men have dedicated the better part of their lives to achieve this level of collegiate athletics, resulting in nationally recognized academic and athletic excellence. What would you suggest we tell these young men now? That it is acceptable to issue such reckless statements? Does our Governor and Legislature condone such actions?
Stating that the football coaches and the University administration are incompetent and irresponsible in their recruiting practices is untrue and damaging to all students and the citizens of our State. These comments are likely to negatively impact the national standing of The University of Montana by hindering fundraising, the ability to attract quality students and teachers, and by tainting our graduates for years to come.
Mr. Williams’s statements are now national news. Your decisive action to terminate the appointment of Mr. Williams will also be national news. We encourage you to send a clear message that Montana holds its public officials accountable, that it values its promises to citizens, and that it values the state’s academic institutions, students and student athletes.
Your failure to take actions clearly within your power will be correctly viewed as tacit endorsement of Mr. Williams’ statements. The supporters of this request include the individuals listed in the pages that follow and the additional names we will be sending you from our online petition available at