School, university and college are meant to be institutions of learning; places to open up the mind to new experiences, opportunities and perspectives.
Unfortunately, education in such places can sometimes be abused in order to spread prejudiced ideologies, racism, sexism and homophobia, as reportedly just seen at SUNY Geneseo college in New York.
Last week, sociology professor David Sorbello at The State University of New York College at Geneseo (also known as SUNY Geneseo), reportedly presented his students with a quiz which appeared to be titled 'Female Or Shemale: Can You Tell' according to a tweet from student Jasmine Cui.
In the photo included in Cui's tweet, pictures of four women were presented on the screen at the front of the lecture theatre.
The student captioned the post: 'RT if you think the sociology department @SUNYGeneseo needs to rethink its approach to teaching about trans issues.'
Jillian Sternberg, who took the photo, told BuzzFeed News that the professor told her after class the quiz was 'partially for humour'.
Explaining the incident, Sternberg said:
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 humour 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'.
Labels such as 'she-male' perpetuate sentiments of homophobia and biases against minority groups.
A person's gender should never need to be validated or guessed at by anyone.
According to Stachowiak's petition and a tweet by Cui, the professor addressed the incident by reportedly banning his students from taking photos of his presentations.
'Instead of apologising to his students, he chose to instead take away any future lectures being posted online and to ban all electronic devices in his classroom,' she explained.
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.
The college is also reportedly looking into the incident.
'We are taking the matter very seriously and are gathering the facts to determine if and what action is warranted,' she said. 'SUNY Geneseo has a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to diversity and inclusivity.'
An update to the petition against Sorbello reads: 'Student Association is aware of and actively working on responding to this petition.'
ELLE UK has reached out to Professor Sorbello for comment.