Biology students asked to download Grindr for research purposes

Professor misidentifies bears as, well, bears

ILLUSTRATION: Janis Mcmath / The Peak

By: Carter Hemion, Staff Writer

Biology students are claiming new identities after their REM 388 professor mistakenly assigned them a gay hookup app for homework. 

Borne out of a misunderstanding about gay connotations for words like “bear” and “otter,” Dr. Gayle Rain-Beau’s mistake caused students committed to learning about wildlife taxonomy to rethink their understanding of the course. As a result of this profound academic endeavour, various students started nicknaming themselves  “Cub4Daddy,” “B0ttm RN,” and “discrete ottr,” all words “appropriately related to animal instinct,” according to some students, but “completely and utterly wrong” to others.

Raine-Beau gave students the assignment of downloading Grindr over a Canvas email on June 8, though it took several days before the class group chat realized what had happened — many prepared to leave the assignment to the day it was due were in for a wild ride, so to say. 

Raine-Beau said assigning her students Grindr was “an honest mistake,” which she “regrets very much.” 

On June 13, Raine-Beau posted a public statement from her Notes app on Instagram. It read, “I overheard my students talking excitedly about seeing bears just 69 feet away from them with the app, and I couldn’t just let that pass by [ . . . ] I now have grown from my mistake, and I am sorry students were offended by the incident. I’m sorry if my words were taken out of context. It was not my intent to harm, but I did not invent the culture. Thank you.”

Students met Raine-Beau with a variety of responses. One student known by screen name “Cub4Daddy” stated with a wink he “had no idea that’s what the app was for.” He also disclosed that his midterm paper would be on bears, but did not specify which kind.

However, some SFU students have been deeply offended by the assignment. Raine-Beau’s TA Woody Cox reached out to The Peak personally to give a statement. He said, “I am offended to see a queer hookup app shared with so many students. It’s horrifying and offensive. How am I supposed to know who’s actually gay here? You think I wanna meet someone just to find out they’re a girl? And one of my students?” 

Another student, Anita Hoal, claimed the assignment was “very creative and educational.” She said, “I learned a lot about mating techniques and the kind of primitive animal instincts that survived through evolutionary developments.” She excitedly cited observations of “physiological arousal and perhaps even new evidence of mammalian lordosis behaviour in male Homo sapiens.”

SFU administration has declined to comment, but noted they would be sending out an email in two to three weeks regarding the assignment.