Cornell University senior strips during presentation after teacher questions length of her denim shorts
Chai, in a video of the demonstration, said that she led the protest during her “Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life” class to stand up "against oppressive beliefs."
A female senior from Cornell University stripped to her underwear during her thesis presentation on Saturday after her professor questioned the length of her denim shorts a week before, calling her clothing inappropriate. Reports state that nearly two dozen others also joined the senior, Letitia Chai, in her protest.
Chai, in a Facebook Live video of the demonstration, said that she led the protest during her “Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life” class to stand up "against oppressive beliefs.
Reports state that the protest came days after her female professor, Rebekah Maggor, questioned Chai whether the denim cutoff shorts she was wearing during a test run of the presentation were too short.
Chai, in a Facebook post, wrote: "The first thing that the professor said to me was ‘is that really what you would wear?'"
"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 added.
While talking to the Cornell Sun about the incident, the college senior said: "I think that I was so taken aback that I didn’t really know how to respond."
Reports state that while the professor questioned Chai's choice of clothing, some of the students present during the mock presentation stood up for her and told the teacher that she was the one who was being inappropriate and questioned her perception of men.
However, there was one international student in the room who sided with the professor and said that it was Chai's moral obligation to dress in a more conservative manner.
Chai reportedly then asked the student: "Am I morally offending you?" with tears of rage in her eyes before storming out of the class.
Chai, in her post wrote, that the teacher followed her out of the room and asked her what her mother would think about her clothing and added that she had a daughter she worried about.
The college senior then responded to the teacher's question with: "My mom is a feminist, gender and sexuality studies professor. She’s fine with my shorts."
Then the professor asked her what she was going to do, and Chai reportedly responded with: "I’m going to give the best damn speech of my life."
After the incident, Chai, that night, invited the public to her presentation on Saturday and asked them to wear their favorite underwear "in solidarity with anyone who has been asked to change how they look to make other people feel more comfortable."
The college senior's presentation was live streamed on Facebook and ever her parents from Korea watched the event live.
The professor, Maggor, while talking to The Sun said that she does not tell her student what they should wear, however, she asks them "to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.”
After the initial response of Chai's post, several of the students who were present in the classroom during the first incident issued a statement saying that although they backed Chai's protest, they did not back her version of what happened that day.
They said that there was "an error in phrasing" on the professor's part that day and that she was just attempting to stress the importance of professionalism in public speaking scenarios, according to reports.