As a lifelong educator, I am writing to support Pat Williams. I have been disappointed to see the recent calls that he not be confirmed to the Board of Regents.
Congressman Williams has dedicated his life to serving the state of Montana and his record of support for the university, and education in general, is clear and impressive. Pat authored the legislation creating the university’s Mike Mansfield Center and sponsored numerous bills to continue funding it. He helped create the state’s seven tribal colleges, making Montana the proud home of more tribal colleges than any other state. He also created the Rural Disabilities National Research Lab and the Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, both at the University of Montana. He led the legislative effort to create The Agriculture Plant Research Center at MSU, and the list goes on.
The issue Pat raised deserves real discussion. Violence at our universities needs to be addressed and resolved. Why is Pat Williams’ ability to serve as regent being called into question when his concerns have been publicly noticed both by the university and multiple federal investigators?
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As a former president of Western Montana College, I hope that free speech would be a hallmark of a board of regents that exists to support and promote higher learning. Pat Williams embodies exactly who should be serving on that body and he should be confirmed.