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Stanford instructor dismissed for conduct violating drug policy

STANFORD -- Stuart Reges, a senior lecturer in the School of Engineering, was informed Friday, May 10, that his employment has been terminated, effective May 15, Stanford University confirmed Friday.

James F. Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering, made the decision and informed Reges personally. The decision, which was reviewed by Provost James N. Rosse, came after an investigation by Associate Dean Kenneth Down that included three interviews with Reges.

Under University policy, Reges has the right to appeal his dismissal to Gibbons, Provost Rosse and, finally, to President Donald Kennedy.

Gibbons said the dismissal was based on two items of conduct that directly violated Stanford's Policy on Controlled Substances and Alcohol:

Also taken into consideration, Gibbons said, was Reges' express refusal to agree to abide by all of the policy in the future.

"These violations of policy, coupled with your refusal to undertake to observe the policy in the future, in my view, constitute very serious professional misconduct of an academician at Stanford University," Gibbons said in a letter to Reges.

"My determination of professional misconduct is not based on the fact that you hold or state your opinion regarding this University policy. 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, especially in a community such as ours that promotes full and free discussion of opposing views."

Gibbons said that he strongly disapproved of, but for First Amendment reasons did not include in his decision, two other actions Reges confirmed - encouraging a student in drug experimentation and encouraging others to violate Stanford's drug and alcohol policy.

"I want you to know that, while my decision is not based on the facts of the last paragraph," Gibbons' letter said, "I personally consider your advice to students extremely irresponsible."

Gibbons expressed admiration for Reges' "outstanding record as a science lecturer, undergraduate curriculum planner and TA trainer," and regret that those services would be lost. Reges in 1986 won one of the University's Dinkelspiel Awards for outstanding service to undergraduate education.

Gibbons also said that, in the spirit of the rehabilitation portion of the University drug and alcohol policy, he would be willing to consider Reges eligible for future employment should he agree to abide by the policy.

Reges, whose appointment was to have expired at the end of the quarter in June, was given 30 days pay in lieu of notice. He has been on paid administrative leave since Friday, April 19, when the investigation was begun.

The University began the investigation after receiving new information from two sources about Reges' claims of specific conduct violating the University drug and alcohol policy. On Tuesday, April 16, Provost Rosse requested an inquiry into claims Reges made in a letter and an electronic-mail message to a Stanford vice president. And on Thursday, April 18, President Kennedy received a letter from Bob Martinez, director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy. Martinez enclosed correspondence from Reges in which Reges challenged federal law and University policy, and cited specific violations.

Federal law requires universities, as a condition of retaining eligibility for federal funding and financial assistance, to establish policies prohibiting illegal use of drugs. The Stanford policy on controlled substances and alcohol reads, in part:

"The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and/or use of controlled substances or the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol is prohibited on the Stanford campus, in the workplace, or as part of any of the University's activities. . . . Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination of employment or expulsion of students. Violations also may be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution."



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