Controversial Google memo author is IMSA alum

A former Google employee who wrote a controversial memo about women's ability to work in technology is an alumnus of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Officials at the three-year Aurora residential campus confirmed Tuesday that James Anthony Damore was a member of the Class of 2007.

Damore, of Romeoville, was a software engineer fired by Google after writing a 10-page memo titled “Google's Ideological Echo Chamber.”

The memo, which was released over the weekend and circulated via social media, said a lower percentage of female employees at Google, as well as a wage disparity between men and women, isn't exclusively a result of discrimination. It said women tend to “prefer jobs in social and artistic areas” while more men “may like coding because it requires systemizing.”

Damore, who went on to study at the University of Illinois and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Bloomberg News he was fired on Monday for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” On Tuesday, the issue had become a political hot potato, and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Twitter offered Damore a job.

Catherine Stieg, director of community and alumni relations for IMSA, pointed to the school's diversity statement in lieu of comment.

“The affirmation, appreciation, and inclusion of multiple cultures are vital to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff and the IMSA community will be able to thrive in a multicultural academic and residential environment,” the statement reads. “IMSA's diverse cultural groups also include the political orientations, statewide regional cultures, and the multiplicity of beliefs, ideas, and visions that are critical to fostering an educational environment where students, faculty, and staff exchange ideas freely, encourage critical thinking, and reexamine their personal perspectives.”

IMSA's most recently enrolled class featured 118 boys and 120 girls, admissions office data shows. Of the applicant pool, 347 were boys and 308 were girls.

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