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Silent protest by SUNY Geneseo students focuses on controversial professor

Students at SUNY Geneseo marched on campus Wednesday afternoon, calling for faculty and staff to go through special sensitivity trainings. (WHAM photo)

Geneseo, N.Y. (WHAM) - Students at SUNY Geneseo marched on campus Wednesday afternoon, calling for faculty and staff to go through special diversity trainings.

The call comes as a professor on the campus is under investigation for a controversial lecture about the transgender community.

"We're going to keep pushing this until someone gives, until we get something," said SUNY Geneseo student Troy Keith. "This is not a perfect institution. You have to make changes in order to keep up with the times."

Students were silent, remembering those in the transgender community who have taken their own lives.

The impetus behind the silent rally: Dr. David Sorbello, an adjunct professor of sociology at SUNY Geneseo. Sorbello is currently under investigation by the university for a lecture slide asking students to identify people as "female or shemale?"

Students had duct tape over their mouths and held signs, advocating for a more inclusive and trans-friendly school community.

"I knew that this shouldn't have been happening, and I wanted everyone to know and get angry about it to," said SUNY Geneseo student Emmett Zand-Halstuch.

"We can't allow that on our campus, it's not acceptable," said transgender student Olivia Clarke.

A 13WHAM investigation later uncovered Sorbello was convicted of sex abuse in 2012 after he was hired to officiate youth hockey tournaments.

The guilty verdict was later thrown out and a new trial was ordered, but the victim didn’t want to testify.

Students said they want to see Sorbello fired.

Students added they also want more LGBTQ resources beyond a part-time staff member hired to coordinate activities.

Since 13WHAM News began covering this story two weeks ago, Professor Sorbello has not responded to multiple requests for comments.

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