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Stuart Reges is an award-winning professor at the University of Washington in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. The Allen School encourages professors to include on their syllabi a statement recognizing that the land on which the university sits was once owned by indigenous tribes. Professor Reges disagreed with the University’s “Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement” — instead, he challenged his students and fellow faculty to consider the utility and performative nature of land acknowledgments by including a modified statement on his syllabus.
The University’s administrators later concluded that the professor’s viewpoint was “offensive” and “inappropriate,” and created a “shadow” section of Professor Reges’s class. The school next launched an investigation of the professor under a policy that prohibits “unacceptable” and “inappropriate” speech. The investigation has been ongoing since March 2, 2022, and carries the threat of termination.
On July 13, 2022, Reges sued University of Washington officials to challenge the investigation and punishment as viewpoint discriminatory, and the policy as unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. Representing Reges is Josh Bleisch, Faculty Legal Defense Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, who joins us to discuss the status of the case.
Joshua Bleisch, Faculty Legal Defense Fund Fellow, The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression
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