Who Is David Sorbello? The Geneseo Professor Reportedly Gave A Transphobic Quiz To Students
Late last week, a sociology professor at New York's SUNY Geneseo college, David Sorbello, reportedly presented his students with a transphobic quiz, according to a tweet from student Jasmine Cui. In the photo included in Cui's tweet, the quiz appears to be titled "Female Or Shemale: Can You Tell?"
In response, a petition demanding the immediate firing of Sorbello has been signed by more than 200 students. In a statement, the college said that "we are taking the matter very seriously."
The quiz, projected onto the wall of a lecture hall, according to Cui's photo, was given during an introduction to sociology class. Jillian Sternberg, who took the photo now circulating online, told BuzzFeed News that the professor told her after class the quiz was "partially for humor."
He just said, "We want you to write whether it's female or she-male" ... He never said what the point of the quiz was during the class, but when I addressed him afterward he said it was partly for humor and partly to discuss sexual dimorphism."
He said something along the lines of, "Be careful not to get too drunk or you'll take the wrong one home. ... He would comment on some of the pictures, like, "I'm definitely not going to the bar with you."
In response, a petition by student Amelia Stachowiak was set up and titled, "Immediate Dismissal for David Sorbello."
According to Stachowiak's petition and a tweet by Cui, the professor addressed the incident by reportedly banning his students from taking photos of slides:
Instead of apologizing to his students, he chose to instead take away any future lectures being posted online and to ban all electronic devices in his classroom.
Stachowiak added in the petition:
His reaction is neither acceptable or appropriate for a person of his level of education and status within the college. I personally feel that it would be a mistake for SUNY Geneseo to keep this professor for employment in the future.
The university won't comment on the specifics of the situation, but released several statements alluding to the incident. The first, from Geneseo president Denise A. Battles, read:
A situation that took place in a sociology classroom earlier this week has been brought to my attention ... A professor is reported to have presented materials and made comments about which some students have expressed concern.
It went on to note that the college was taking time to carefully look into the matter.
"We are taking the matter very seriously and are gathering the facts to determine if and what action is warranted," she added. "SUNY Geneseo has a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to diversity and inclusivity."
Meanwhile, the SUNY Geneseo Student Association went on to release a statement of its own:
We can assure students that inclusivity is a primary value of the Student Association, as well as of the college. The Student Association does not tolerate acts of transphobia or other acts of intolerance, and as student representatives, the Student Association Executive Committee will uphold our commitment to our students by gathering and distributing information as it becomes available to us.
The petition also now reads: "Student Association is aware of and actively working on responding to this petition."