A SUNY Geneseo professor is under investigation after students said that one of his quizzes included offensive images and questions, including derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community.
Professor David Sorbello’s quiz was allegedly titled—brace yourself—“Female or Shemale: Can You Tell?” It prompted students to guess a person’s gender based on photographs of faces. Jillian Stenberg, a student at the college who took photos of the quiz, told Rochester’s 13 WHAM News that she gets angry every time she sees the pictures.
Stenberg also said that Sorbello made crass comments about each photo. He allegedly said things like, “Oh, I’m not going to the bar with you,” and “This is a lesson to you guys not to get too drunk or you might go home with the wrong one.”
Since sharing the photos, Sorbello has prohibited students from taking pictures of his lecture slides. Now, students have started a petition calling for Sorbello’s immediate dismissal.
“I just don’t think a professor should be exposing students to that, especially like a male professor,” Leliana McDermott, a transgender student advocate, told WHAM. “Then male students are going to think that’s okay, because it’s a male figure.”
While Sorbello did not immediately respond to WHAM’s request for comment, SUNY Geneseo president Denise A. Battles released a statement that includes the following:
“A professor is reported to have presented materials and made comments about which some students have expressed concern. We are taking the matter very seriously and are gathering the facts to determine if and what action is warranted.
The classroom is an environment in which students and faculty can and should discuss challenging topics and ideas, which makes it all the more important that we gather and fully review the facts in this case.
As we review this situation, let me say unequivocally that SUNY Geneseo has a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to diversity and inclusivity. We work diligently to sustain an inviting and supportive environment for people of all gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, races, religions, and other identities.”
If it were up to us, Sorbello would be looking for a new job.