Election puts campus sex column back in the news

Defenders of student press freedom were outraged when, in 2009, then-University of Montana assistant professor Kristen Juras tried to shut down a sex column published in the college newspaper, the Montana Kaimin. In the end, however, the threats came to nothing. Columnist Bess Pallares, then Bess Davis, graduated, ending the run of “Bess Sex.”

Seven years later, Juras, while campaigning for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court, reopened the controversy on Facebook. Juras suggested the column was axed as a result of the federal investigation into campus sexual assaults. Pallares responded angrily to the comment, which didn’t hold up to fact-checking. After all, the federal investigation into the UM rape scandal didn’t start until 2012, three years after Pallares graduated. 

 Mollie Lemm is a freshman at the University of Montana pursuing a major in journalism. She is from Polson, Montana, and enjoys photography, Ultimate Frisbee and anything outdoorrelated.

Interested in student press freedom? Learn what it feels like to defend your rights as a high school newspaper editor and what free speech laws for students exist in Western states.