Letitia Chai, an 18 year old student of Cornell University in New York striped off her clothes in class for her presentation after her professor said her clothes were too short for public speaking.
Student strips off in class to defend her presentation after professor said her clothes were “too short” for public speaking.
She also live streamed her strip protest on Facebook, saying she did that because she wanted to stand up “against oppressive beliefs and discrimination” and that is why she stripped down in front of her class at Cornell University in New York on Saturday.
Letitia also claimed the Professor- Maggor told her that her shorts were “too short” and that as a speaker she was making a “statement” through the clothes she was wearing.
In a Facebook post, which she later took down, Letitia wrote: The first thing that the professor said to me was ‘is that really what you would wear?’ She, a white woman, continued: ‘Your shorts are too short’.
The professor proceeded to tell me, in front of my whole class, that I was inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body. She said I was making a statement by wearing my outfit. I told her that I sure as hell wouldn’t change my statement to make her or anyone else feel more comfortable.
According to Letitia, the professor later asked her what her mother would think of her clothes after she left the room.
The Cornell Daily Sun which is the university’s student newspaper reported that 28 out of 44 people in the room stayed to watch Letitia’s presentation as she removed their clothes as well in a show of support.
Letitia said she was “floored” by support after she called for solidarity following a row with her professor.
Most of the students who were witness to the clash defended professor Rebekah Maggor and accused Letitia of erroneously reflecting the reason why her choice of clothing was questioned.
When questioned, 11 students out of 14 students said Letitia’s comments did not suitably reflect events in the classroom. The class issued a joint statement in which they said professor Maggor’s comment had “error in phrasing” but what she was pointing out was “importance of professionalism in certain public speaking situations.”
An email to The Cornell Daily Sun from professor Maggor reads: “I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress. “I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.”
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