A Cornell University senior delivered her honors thesis after stripping down to her bra and underwear in front of her teacher and classmates -- at least two dozen of whom also undressed -- in a bid to "stand against oppressive beliefs and discrimination," Campus Reform reported Tuesday.
Letitia Chai removed all her clothes except for her undergarments during her “Acting in Public” presentation Saturday as a demonstration against her professor, Rebekah Maggor, who questioned Chai's attire during her talk about refugee relocation, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.
“When I got up to start, my professor said: ‘Is that really what you would wear?’” Chai, who said she was “shook” and filled with “rage and disbelief” after the incident, wrote in a Facebook post that soon went viral. “She, a white woman, continued: ‘Your shorts are too short.’”
Chai recalled wearing a “long-sleeve blue button-down shirt and denim cut-offs,” which she alleges her professor told her was “inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body.” She says an international male student agreed with the professor.
Chai said Maggor tried to justify her question by explaining she was addressing her from the point of view of a concerned mother, to which Chai replied, her mom “is a Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies professor” who would’ve been proud of her for her outfit.
In the class syllabus, students’ “dress” is one of the course requirements.
“For your performances, dress appropriately for the persona you will present,” the syllabus reads, “For example, how would you dress for a specific job interview? How would you dress when introducing a famous speaker at a particular conference? How would you dress to give a speech at a protest rally?”
The students in the class, while still supporting Chai, wrote a joint letter defending the professor’s comments, but nevertheless the faculty will undergo “training in diversity, equity, and inclusion” as a result of the exchange, according to an email Chai posted Monday.
When Fox News reached out to Maggor for comment, a Cornell spokesperson said the school had nothing to add. Chai did not respond to a request for comment.