David Sorbello, a SUNY Geneseo professor, is facing backlash after he used a presentation slide about transgender individuals.
According to reports, the slide shown was titled “Female or Shemale? Can you tell?” and featured 16 photos of women. Sorbello, a sociology professor, then allegedly asked students to label which women on screen were trans women.
Jasmine Cui, SUNY Geneseo sophomore, student senator and member of the diversity committee posted the photo to Twitter and Facebook, saying that the school’s sociology department needs to “rethink” their approach in teaching transgender women.
“The professor was quoted as saying: “so this is a lesson to you all not to get too drunk or you might take the wrong one home,” Cui allegedly said.
SUNY Geneseo released a full statement about Sorbello’s offensive slide:
A situation that took place in a sociology classroom earlier this week has been brought to my attention and I felt the need to communicate to you about it, particularly as it pertains to our value of inclusivity. 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.
I use this opportunity to remind you that our Interim Chief Diversity Officer robbie routenberg is available as a resource to the campus community. I would also encourage any students who have support needs to contact Lenny Sancilio, dean of students, and Dillon Federici, coordinator of LGBTQ Programs and Services.
Two online petitions regarding this incident have been started, one for Geneseo community members and one for SUNY Geneseo students. More than 100 students have signed a petition calling for Geneseo’s firing.