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