Safety First: Computer Engineering Course Offers to Group Students by Gender Identity


When you were in school, did your teacher ever assign you to a group?

Back in American education’s more barbaric days, attendees were often bunched together willy-nilly. The idea, presumably, was that young people were made of hardened steel.


They were so fire-forged, in fact, mere mortals could withstand the purple flames of being assembled with random others.

So the myth had held.

But amid our new fact-checking era, we understand the realities of human frailty. Rather than being challenged, developing minds need the warm and soggy care of safe spaces.

Hence, a computer course at the University of California San Diego is carefully treading where our savage ancestors once stomped.

A Google Form survey for Winter 2022’s Software Tools and Techniques Laboratory class asks future leaders to select their “identity.”

Via the document, Computer Science and Engineering Professor Joe Gibbs Politz explains:

Sometimes people like to form groups with others that share an aspect of their identity. If you would like us to try to form your lab group with others that share a similar characteristic, please select all of the attributes of your identity or interests that you might like to have in common with others in your group.

Among the options:

  • Woman
  • Black
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Native American

Not listed: “White,” “Male.”

As for gender identity beyond “Woman,” the world’s your oyster:

  • Nonbinary
  • LGBTQ+

Of course, not every identity can be anticipated. Hence:


[T]he list below is in no way comprehensive and has some standard categorizations plus some that past students found useful. Feel free to write in other identities or interests we might consider…

It’s a newer, safer world. Even in the confines of a college computer course, peril may await. What if you’re a woman and paired with a man? What if you’re nonbinary and forced to sit with those who aren’t? What if you’re one of the very few Hispanic Americans who use the term “Latinx,” and yet you’re ordered to communicate with someone from Spain?

Incredibly, one student isn’t impressed with the woke lab paradigm.

They laid it out to Campus Reform:

“There is a high demand for so-called ‘safe spaces.’ I believe the instructor tried to protect certain identities so that they are not intimidated by other non-minority people or feel alone. But this does not prepare these people for real-world software development environments.”

Or does it? As generations enjoy safe spaces in school, they’ll increasingly demand them in the workplace.


It remains unclear whether Professor Joe’s classroom is equipped with wall padding, foam on the corners, and outlet protectors to keep aspiring technological revolutionaries from inadvertently electrocuting themselves.

It’s a new world. “Safety first” is our mantra, and you can never be too careful.

With any luck, a Latinx nonbinary vegan aiming at a career in computer engineering will be able to work only with those who fit that exact description — for the rest of coselves’/hirselves’/verselves’/bunselves’/kittenselves’ lives.

Otherwise, anxiety might set in.

Speaking of, the course’s identity options also include “Nervous…about coding.”

We all know how nervous we can get when thinking of computer work. Thank goodness for the metaphorical jacuzzi of only being around other anxious people. It’s like Calgon taking us away.

If I had to guess, expect more identity-oriented options where class groupings are concerned.

We may have once been one nation under God, but these days, we’re a bunch of “communities” designated by skin color, self-perception, and sexual interests.

As we continue our trajectory of categorization, perhaps someone will create an app to help us avoid all human beings except those exactly like ourselves.


Maybe it’ll be developed by a group of pansexual demigendered transracial lactose intolerants who meet at the University of California San Diego.

For now, I have a suggestion for Joe to add to the list.

Sex may have once concerned only male and female, but these days, gender identity has gone to the wolves:


See more content from me:

Kristi Noem Rolls out the Red Carpet for Endangered LA Deputies

University Schools Students on the Importance of Free Speech — and Reporting People Who Use It

Patronization Tastes Like Chicken: Christian College Hosts ‘People of Color’ Appreciation Lunch

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