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Stanford Fires Drug-Using Teacher : Universities: Lecturer attacked federal policy and flouted school's rules. He says 'government pressure' led to his dismissal.

May 11, 1991|PAUL FELDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Stuart Reges, an award-winning Stanford University lecturer who recently sparked a national controversy by aggressively attacking federal drug policy, was fired Friday.

University officials announced that they were dismissing Reges, 32, for violating the school's anti-drug policy by carrying illegal drugs on campus and paying for alcoholic beverages for students under the legal drinking age of 21. Reges, according to Engineering School Dean James F. Gibbons, admitted both violations during a series of three interviews with school administrators.

But Reges, in a telephone interview, countered that such grounds were merely an excuse. "They fired me because of government pressure," said the computer science lecturer.

The action came less than two months after Reges, who has admitted using "speed," cocaine and MDA, wrote a letter to federal drug czar Bob Martinez daring him to take action. "In brief I disagree with the government's anti-drug campaign and I am doing everything I can to make fools of you," Reges wrote. "I still carry illegal drugs in my backpack while on campus. I do not fear any of you, I have not changed my behavior, and nothing has happened to me."

In reaction, Martinez, newly appointed director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, threatened to cut off Stanford's sizable federal funding if the university did not take action against Reges.

Reges, an 11-year lecturer who won the university's Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education in 1986, was placed on paid administrative leave three weeks ago.

Gibbons said Friday that Reges' admissions during a subsequent investigation--as well as his refusal to agree to abide by the university's policy in the future--resulted in the termination.

"These violations . . . in my view constitute very serious professional misconduct of an academician at Stanford University," Gibbons wrote Reges. "There are many acceptable ways to object to a policy with which you disagree. However, violating the policy is not an acceptable form of objection."

In the dismissal letter, Gibbons wrote that in the spirit of "rehabilitation," he would be willing to consider Reges for future employment if the lecturer agreed to abide by university drug policies. But Reges, who said he will appeal, indicated he is not likely to do so. "It reminds me of the loyalty oaths the Communists were asked to sign," he said.

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