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Students walk out after professor says there are only two sexes

Shola Lee

Published 
| Last updated 

Students walk out after professor says there are only two sexes

Featured Image Credit: University of Southern Maine

A class of students walked out after their professor said that only two sexes exist.

On 14 September, students at the University of Southern Maine walked out and demanded that their professor Christy Hammer be replaced after making the comment.

One non-binary student, Elizabeth Leibiger, said they felt 'under personal attack' following the incident.

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The incident took place at the University of Southern Maine. Credit: Google Maps
The incident took place at the University of Southern Maine. Credit: Google Maps

The discussion has prompted calls for Hammer's resignation. It started on 7 September, when the educator reportedly said that only two biological sexes exist, during a 'Creating a Positive Learning Environment' class.

The class is required for students at the university to complete a graduate-level Extended Teacher Education Program.

Then, on 14 September, the discussion was revisited with Leibiger, who was absent for the early class, bringing up the issue.

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The student said: "I asked [Hammer] how many sexes there were. She said, ‘Two.’ I felt under personal attack."

The comments were made during a class. Credit: B Christopher / Alamy Stock Photo
The comments were made during a class. Credit: B Christopher / Alamy Stock Photo

Leibiger added: "I let her know I didn’t think she was qualified to teach a class about positive learning environments.

"It’s the ultimate irony."

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Students walked out of the class and proceeded to draft a letter to the Department of Education and Human Development requesting that a meeting be held with Hammer.

She was said to hold firm on her earlier made statement, Bangor Daily News reports.

The students have since demanded that the university replace Hammer.

While the university proceeds to handle the incident, they have made changes for the class: "We have developed an alternative plan for this class and will be opening a new section of this course for those students who would like to move.

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A meeting was held following the incident. Credit: Google Maps
A meeting was held following the incident. Credit: Google Maps

"The original section taught by professor Hammer will continue for any student who wishes to remain in that class," a spokesperson said.

However, a petition has also been launched in support of Hammer, created by Jennifer Gingrich.

The petition reads: "A university that cannot teach facts because students find them too hard to handle is useless as an educational institution. We the undersigned ask USM President Jacqueline Edmondson, Interim Provost Adam Tuchinsky, and Chair of the Teacher Education Department Flynn Ross to stand firmly behind Professor Hammer and issue a public statement to the effect that she will neither be replaced nor required to stop stating the fact that sex in humans is binary."

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It currently has more than 2,000 signatures.

UNILAD has reached out to the University of Southern Maine for comment.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Topics: News, Education, US News

Shola Lee
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