Stuart Reges, a principal lecturer of computer science at the University of Washington, alleges that he was demoted for being sympathetic to James Damore, the fired Google employee who wrote the controversial Google memo in 2017.
In an article for Quillette, Reges wrote that it all started in 2018 when he wrote another piece for the outlet titled, “Why Women Don’t Code,” which gained popularity after Jordan Peterson tweeted a link to the story.
The recent Quillette article states that he was initially hired to run UW’s introductory computer science classes to which he developed two “highly successful courses that have over 4,500 enrollments combined per year.”
Yet after his 2018 Quillette piece graduate students at the school filed a grievance against him with their union.
Reges told Campus Reform that he was deeply concerned about what happened to Damore and that he hoped it was an overreaction but said, “I've since concluded that he was the canary in the coal mine. I have seen more and more emphasis on what I call the equity agenda in tech in general and at my school in particular.”
In response to the graduate students' complaints, UW created a working group, which in turn released new guidelines.
The guidelines included less rigorous grading when it comes to coding, sensitivity and bias training for teaching assistants, and spending less time trying to identify students who are cheating. The working group also suggested reviewing each course to ensure it is inclusive.
Furthermore, the guidelines recommended that professors include in their class syllabi "indigenous land acknowledgment" gender-neutral names that also reflect a number of different cultures, and the avoidance of the use of phrases like "y'all," "folks," and "you guys."
Reges said that before he wrote the Quillette article he spent a year discussing it with professors, to which he concluded,
“I am convinced that our diversity efforts are entering a dangerous phase where we emphasize blaming men more than encouraging women, seeing any difference in participation as proof of oppression when perhaps it is just a difference in the choices that men and women make for what career options most interest them.”
He told Campus Reform, “There was an intense reaction from my faculty colleagues and particularly from a group of graduate students in our department. Many have called for me to be fired.”
In a response to his assertion that he was demoted, UW spokesperson Victor Balta told the DailyUW, “To be clear, Stuart is not being punished; he has not been demoted or placed on probation.”
When asked by Campus Reform for his response to the denial by the school, Reges said, “having the most complex and impactful duties that I perform taken away from me is obviously a demotion. The bigger issue is the fact that I was reappointed for just one year."
He continued, “every other lecturer reappointment in the Allen School has been for three years and given that I have the highest lecturer rank (Principal Lecturer), the faculty code states that the normal reappointment would be for at least three years. They had to get special permission from the provost to make such a limited appointment.”
Reges said that he will be able to survive no matter what happens and is “just taking it one day at a time.”
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Washington for comment but did not receive comment in time for publication.