UW Institutes 'Diversity' Training After Professorโ€™s Op-Ed on Sex Differences

The University of Washington-Seattle has caved to student demands culminating after a computer science professor pointed out why efforts to close the โ€œgender gapโ€ in computer science may be futile.

The controversy began in June, when UW-Seattle Professor Stuart Reges published โ€œWhy Women Donโ€™t Codeโ€ for Quillette, in which he articulated why women are less interested in computer science than men. (Hint, hint: men and women are different).

Though Reges admits the title was hyperbolic โ€” as he has taught hundreds of women to code during his career โ€” UW students didnโ€™t see it as such. They circulated an internal memo of concern and lobbied UW against his โ€œgender harassment.โ€

Roughly five months later, a group of graduate students have announced that theyโ€™ve negotiated with senior officials at the UW computer science school to ensure that โ€œmore will be done to address gender harassment at the Allen School.โ€

While itโ€™s unclear exactly how many โ€œgrievance demandsโ€ students filed, the school agreed to at least three.

From now on, UW will provide โ€œintersectional diversity and sexual harassment training to both [student employees] and [the professors who supervise them]โ€ which all students and professors will be highly encouraged to attend.

Additionally, going forward, โ€œa group of mostly senior faculty will review the introductory programming courses to ensure that they are inclusive of students from all backgrounds.โ€ To be fair, itโ€™s unclear what this means.

How will professors make coding classes more โ€œinclusive of students from all backgroundsโ€? Will they mandate that textbooks feature more racial and gender minorities?

When asked by PJ Media, UW spokesman Victor Balta said that nearly every aspect of 100-level computer science courses will be inspected to ensure they promote inclusivity. This includes โ€œcurriculum, organization, programming language and environment, teaching methods and techniques, new devicesโ€ฆ as well as ensuring that our gateway courses are attractive and welcoming to the broadest group of students.โ€

All this, it seems, simply because students were outraged at Regesโ€™ op-ed pointing out that men simply are more interested in coding, as men tend to want to work alone and with numbers, while women are more people oriented.

In a Thursday interview with PJ Media, Reges took umbrage at the constant insinuation by students over the past few months that his Quillette memo amounts to โ€œgender harassment.โ€โ€™

โ€œThe graduate students are claiming that by merely discussing ideas they dislike that I have committed gender harassment,โ€ Reges told PJ Media, noting that it is legally considered a โ€œform of sexual harassment.โ€

โ€œThis would be an alarming precedent to establish,โ€ he added.

Reges also finds it unfortunate that the university settled the issue without challenging studentsโ€™ claim that my [writings] constitute gender harassment.โ€

โ€œIf we can't have free and open discussion on topics like these, we have no hope of combating tribalism and finding common ground.โ€

By the way, Reges still stands behind the main points in his op-ed.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.