A Cornell University student delivered her thesis wearing only her bra and underwear in protest of a professor who allegedly questioned her choice of clothing. Letitia Chai stripped down to her undergarments while presenting in her “Acting in Public” class on Saturday because she wanted to stand up “against oppressive beliefs and discrimination.” This came after Chai and Prof. Rebekah Maggor clashed on Wednesday.
Chai was getting up to present a draft of her thesis when Maggor asked, “Is that really what you would wear?” “‘I was wearing a long-sleeve blue button-down shirt and de nim cut-offs,” Chai wrote in a Facebook post. “‘She, a white woman, continued: ‘Your shorts are too short.’ ” Maggor then asked Chai, “What would your mom think?” “My mom is a Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies professor,” Chai shot back. “She has dedicated her life to the empowerment of people in all gender identities. So, I think my mother would be fine with my shorts.” The Cornell senior, shocked by her professor’s reaction, also encouraged other students to strip down with her while she presented her thesis. Maggor told the campus newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, she doesn’t tell her students what to wear but says she asks them “to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.” Students in Chai’s class felt her Facebook post underrepresented their professor so they wrote a letter defending Maggor. “We believe that the Facebook post does not adequately represent her past and continued advocacy for women and minorities,” the letter read.