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.”
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