Rantz: Anonymous UW student uses fake quote to get professor fired
An anonymous student at the University of Washington is on a mission to fire a professor for not holding political positions the writer would prefer, using a quote as a key piece of ammunition. Except the quote was completely incorrect.
The controversy stems from the UW College Republicans “affirmative action bake sale” where students charged different races different prices for cookies. It was a demonstration to protest affirmative action. Computer Science professor Stuart Reges was in attendance, getting yelled at by a group of mostly young women angry he was a white man who disagrees with them on affirmative action. We aired a number of the clips on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. He was calm, despite being heckled and yelled at.
In a post sympathetic to progressive students, Nathalie Graham of the Stranger claimed Reges told the students “I don’t see racism [on campus].”
Except, that’s not what he said.
Reges actually said “I don’t see rampant racism.” That’s a completely different position than saying he doesn’t see racism. Graham eventually corrected her sloppy error, but it didn’t stop an anonymous Husky to use that quote, in part, to make the case that the school should part ways with Reges.
The author, posting on the self-publishing site Medium, argues the UW “can do better than Stuart Reges.” The author claims the bake sale was “racist.” The author uses this as a jumping off point to then attack Reges for his position that “women are less likely than men to want to major in computer science and less likely to pursue a career as a software engineer and that this difference between men and women accounts for most of the gender gap we see in computer science degree programs and in Silicon Valley companies.”
This is, of course, factually correct. You can argue why women are less likely than men to go into computer science, but it’s a well-documented fact. It’s exactly why there are so many programs trying to recruit women to get into the lucrative field.
But the essay he wrote was nuanced — certainly too nuanced for a know-it-all millennial college student who wants an echo chamber in the classroom, not alternative viewpoints. Indeed, as the Seattle Times notes, “Reges says he’s speaking out because he worries that descriptions of the tech industry as toxic for women will have the self-perpetuating effect of keeping women out of the industry.”
Not one to comprehend a nuanced argument, the anonymous student piles on via Medium to attack Reges:
Reges’ ideals and beliefs are part of the very problem which lead to sexism/racism in the tech industry. Most importantly, a change is needed as more and more students consider computer science as their first major of choice. Reges is usually the first person to introduce computer science to students at UW. The department is in dire need of a better role model, especially for women and minorities, one who upholds values similar to those of university: those of acceptance and diversity. It doesn’t matter if a person is a liberal or a conservative, or they support affirmative action or oppose it, being misogynist, racist, or homophobic(anti-LGBTQ+) puts them in the wrong.
Only, their ideological background does matter: this angry student is using his/her own personal political lens to ask for the dismissal of this teacher. The author is using his his participation — as a spectator — of the affirmative action bake sale as a means to further the ideological attack on the professor. And just happens to use a phony quote to do so.
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