by Alex Munguia
A University of Florida professor gave students a “Diversity Bingo” extra credit assignment, which called for students to find people of various ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations.
The course, titled Problem Solving with Computer Software, is a general requirement course for all business majors at the University of Florida. “Diversity Bingo” was offered to students in the class as an extra credit assignment.
The assignment appears within a chapter dedicated to problem-solving specify, using groups and critical thinking strategies. Within this chapter students learned about Problem Definition, Idea Generation, and Decision making. The professor also included this assignment as being relevant to the material.
Students were informed of the opportunity to complete the extra credit Diversity Bingo assignment in an online announcement, which read, “we are talking about diversity and how a diverse team would be more effective when addressing the complexity and different challenges that are inherent to open-ended problems.” Giving instructions for students to “Look for other students who can fit into the description.”
Students were encouraged to find others who fit into categories, including “a person who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual,” “a person with special needs,” and “has celebrated ‘Ramadan.'”
Students could also find others who fit into categories such as those who have had their “last name mispronounced,” “is a first or second-generation immigrant to the U.S.,” or “has Black African Ancestry.”
John Mendoza-Garcia is the professor who teaches the class. Within the syllabus of his computer class, students can see a picture of the Black Lives Matter logo. Mendoza-Garcia writes that he is aware of the “systemic racism that have [sic] been present in our society.”
Mendoza-Garcia also mentions in his syllabus that he has become “anti-racist” and invites students “to be anti-racist as well.” Additionally, he mentions “if you are Black and you are reading this syllabus, please remember that you matter, and your success in this class matters to me.”
UF student Zachary Forbes told Campus Reform he thinks the assignment “teaches the wrong message about problem-solving.
Forbes believes that students “should look for people with the experience and expertise for the problem at hand,” that the physical characteristics or background “shouldn’t determine whether you reach out to them or not.” Students should be taught to “stand out within their field based on their work and devotion to the subject,” Forbes said.
Forbes identifies as being from a Portuguese family that moved to Massachusetts, but he would “want to be hired as a manager or accountant based on the fact that I’m damn good at it, not based on the fact that I look more brown than my peers.”
Campus Reform reached out to the professor for comment, who informed this correspondent “it is best if you do not write a story about an assignment in the CGS2531 class while you are one of the students in that class,” adding “I can consider writing a note again after the class is over.”
Asked to clarify that statement, the professor elaborated that “it is because you are a student in my class, and there is a conflict because of that asymmetric relationship.”
“Any comment you or any student has regarding an assignment in my course or any UF course should be provided to the instructor through teaching evaluations. Such evaluations are only accessible to instructors after we have submitted final grades to the registrar. This post-course access to students’ comments about the class is because of the asymmetric relationship students and instructors have,” Mendoza-Garcia said.
– – –
Alex Munguia is a Florida Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. Alex studies at the University of Florida and majors in Finance and Information Systems. He is currently a member of Young American’s For Freedom, and the College Republicans on his campus.