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Controversial final exam asks some COD students about transgender athletes

Controversial final exam asks some...

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Some English 61 students at College of the Desert discovered a question they didn't expect on their final exam.

"He may not find it discriminating but I find it discriminating. I find it personally hurtful for him to do this about another student," Andylynn Payne, a transgender woman, said.

Payne is a student at College of the Desert. On Monday, she studied for her English final exam but wasn't prepared to see one series of questions on the test that read, "During track and field season, Palm Springs High School had a boy, who thinks he is a girl competing against girls in track and field. Since boys are physically more muscular, bigger, stronger and faster, how is this a fair competition? What is the point in even having girls' sports if this is going to be allowed? What should the competitors themselves, their parents and their coaches do about this?"

"He talked about it in the past, about his opinion on a transgender student in Palm Springs High School competing against his daughter in track and he was very upset and very passionate about that. I originally had intentions of hopefully reporting him at that point because I thought it was very horrible," Payne said.

Another student on campus said the question is controversial.

"I could see why people would have a problem with it because it is targeting a specific group of people but then again, I'm also thinking about the education and the learning as well. If we don't talk about these problems ,if we don't address how people would feel about this, then I don't think there would be any progress," COD student David Martinez said.

We reached out to the instructor, Arthur Morrow, through email but did not hear back.

"There's no such thing as a normal question on a final exam," said Pamela Hunter executive director of institutional advancement at COD.

Hunter said final exam questions are left to the discretion of instructors. Payne said she reported the question to the dean on Tuesday afternoon.

"If they are allowing questions like this to be presented at College of the Desert in a very prominent area that believes in equality and people should all be treated equal, then, maybe, the (Transgender Community Coalition) needs to come in there and start training administrations staff on how to properly deal with LGBT people," Thomi Clinton, of the TCC, said.

Hunter said the school will investigate any issue that is brought to the dean.

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