Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

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Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby cmsellers » Fri May 11, 2018 3:58 am

Tess linked an article on Reason, and this story was linked as a related article. The original story is linked from the Reason article, but also can be found here. The gist is that during a practice demonstration, a college professor asked a student if she was really wearing cutoff jean shorts to present her thesis, so she left the room, stripped to her underwear, and returned to present in it. She then presented her thesis the same way.

This wouldn't have merited making a thread, except for what Reason said about it.

Robby Soave wrote:The student was attempting to strike a blow against the patriarchy, repudiating her media arts professor's advice to dress up for the presentation. Yet I can't help but wonder: On what planet is this not a violation of Title IX, the federal anti-harassment statute that so many college administrators cite when cracking down on problematic, sexually charged behavior?

As a libertarian myself, I do not believe that nudity is inherently harassing, much less clothing that would be acceptable on any beach in the US. (Sidenote: New York State allows topless equality, which means she could have presented topless and it still wouldn't have counted as "indecent" under state law.)

Now, the act of stripping could constitute harassment, depending on how it's done, but she left the room to undress, presumably for just that reason. And the original article says that she told the audience to strip, which in context I'd take as a rhetorical point, but if a professor had done that I'd say it would have constituted harassment. But Reason seems to be buying into the whole SJW "if you make me uncomfortable, it's your fault" attitude with their reaction.

I think her point is kind of stupid, for all that I sympathize. You shouldn't have to dress to impress, but unfortunately you do, and the professor was trying to point out that jean shorts aren't really appropriate in any setting except completely casual. And she herself, in reacting as if she was personally attracted, was overreacting. Still, I think that if a student wants to present in underwear, it may violate some school policy, but in no reasonable world does it constitute harassment.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby JamishT » Fri May 11, 2018 6:36 am

I would feel very uncomfortable if I were that audience, and I think most people would. I don't know if I would call it harassment, but I would question what her ass meant.

Now that I've made that joke, I read the Cornell article you linked and rolled my eyes so hard I got a cranial cramp. This poor person encountered an unexpected question and jumped into a ridiculously defensive mode. From what I read, the professor trying to see if she had put any thought into what she was wearing, which seems like a completely reasonable question. If I'm going to do a presentation, I'm going to put some thought into what I'm wearing, and if I'm in a class titled "Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life", I'll expect to have to explain my clothing choices.

I especially liked this part:
A male international student in the class made a comment during the discussion that the speaker has a “moral obligation” to her audience to dress conservatively during her thesis presentation, at which point Chai left the room with two students following to comfort her.

Imagine being so weak that a comment pointing out that other cultures exist would cause you to leave the room and need comfort. This is where she and a portion of Trump's base have commonality.

I don't know how she got from "hey maybe don't wear short shorts when presenting your academic thesis or whatever" to "I'M GONNA STRIP", but it seems to be more of a tantrum than a protest.

Also, I would have loved to seen some quotes in that article from students who disagreed with her, because as it is, it feeds the narrative that all college students are pathetic little babies.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby Ladki96 » Fri May 11, 2018 7:31 am

the Cornell article wrote:a teary Chai said she stood in solidarity with people who have been asked to “question themselves” based on others’ perception of their appearances, stripping down to her underwear again in front of the room.

She stripped outside of the room during the trial run of her thesis presentation. She stripped in front of the audience during the actual presentation, you know, when other professors, scholars, etc attended. There's a facebook livestream and everything of it. I would say that constitutes harassment xD

In any case, schools aren't meant to just teach the subject and be done with it, they (somewhat) prepare you for the real world along the way. What if she had done this at an office meeting? She would have probably been fired. Jeez, dress codes aren't an example of patriarchal tyranny. They are meant to show respect, at marriages, funerals, dragon taming contests, whatever, and yes, thesis presentations. Get a grip, girl :P
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby cmsellers » Fri May 11, 2018 8:17 am

I think that for stripping to constitute harassment, it has to involve a captive audience and clearly sexual in nature. The captive audience part is true for her committee, which means it's in bad taste even if it didn't violate Cornell's dress code (which it seems to). However in the video you linked she takes her clothes off quickly while spouting platitudes (oh my fucking God, the dumb platitudes), which doesn't seem sexual in nature.

Ladki96 wrote:In any case, schools aren't meant to just teach the subject and be done with it, they (somewhat) prepare you for the real world along the way. What if she had done this at an office meeting? She would have probably been fired. Jeez, dress codes aren't an example of patriarchal tyranny. They are meant to show respect, at marriages, funerals, dragon taming contests, whatever, and yes, thesis presentations. Get a grip, girl :P

This part I agree with. The fact that she freaked out at mild questioning of her attire indicates that she would be a very difficult employee. And the video makes her seem like an even more difficult person than the article did. But again, the reason I posted this is because I thought that the Reason article was an overreaction to her overreaction, with the harassment claims.

That said, I wonder what would have happened if a male student had tried this. I suspect that a lot more people than one magazine would be calling it sexual harassment, and it occurs to me that that may have been the point the article was making, badly. Not that it is sexual harassment, but that it would have garnered cries of "sexual harassment" if a male student had done it. Or maybe I'm giving the author too much credit.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby SandTea » Sat May 12, 2018 4:19 am

I have cone to... Lets just say I am not surprised that people here hate this.

Some broad in her underwear is what we're concerned about now? The only thing a commencement speaker should have you quandering is how you're gonna pay back the hundred grand you owe for the five years of busywork.

No, it is not harassment. It wouldn't be harassment if a dude stripped either. I would be fine with calling it a protest, if anyone is set on being upset about it. The way forward is to buck tradition. If a person is "supposed to" wear a certain thing, especially when that is a stupid thought, rebuking it is the correct thing to do.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby Australia » Sat May 12, 2018 10:06 am

So from what she was wearing, she was asking to get F'ed? Who's harassing who with that logic?

Also coming from a culture where prostitution is legal and taxed and streaking is one of the more entertaining pastimes, I can't imagine any Aussie blinking an eyelid if someone did that here. I wouldn't call it a protest either, more of a gag to mock the professor but I wasn't there so what do I know? (The answer to those last four words is always 'Nothing' unless it's useless pop-culture facts.)
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby gisambards » Sat May 12, 2018 12:53 pm

I'm ambivalent as to what happened in the trial run of her presentation - it does seem like an overreaction but I don't think the professor was right to make the comments they did.
But I think it's incredibly attention-seeking to then strip off during the actual assessed presentation - I think it should legitimately count against her grade that she spent so long on an introduction to her presentation on "Reimagining the Refugee-Host Country Relationship" that had nothing to do with the actual presentation and was a protest against something minor that a lot of people there wouldn't even have heard about.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby iMURDAu » Sat May 12, 2018 4:34 pm

Grow up millennials. A teacher asks if that's what a student would wear to a professional engagement and that constitutes slut shaming?

People will judge you. If you wear cutoff shorts to a professional speaking engagement you will be judged on it. Sorry. That's how the world is.

I know this student thinks she made quite the stand but I wouldn't hire someone who is so unprofessional that they would strip when asked a simple question regarding their attire. And then do it again out of "protest". The point was made once, doing it again is only for attention imo.

This could have been resolved by the student responding with "yes" or "no" to the question and moving on. Imo this is not something to snag your life on when you're about to graduate from Cornell.

I also find it weird that she thinks she's not responsible for anyone's attention because they can think for themselves but tells them to take their clothes off. This young lady needs to slow down and reconcile what she's saying and doing.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby Australia » Sat May 12, 2018 6:58 pm

I'm not saying what she did was smart. I'm just saying who gives a shit? And anyone that does probably need to look at themselves and wonder why they care about something so arbitrary.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby NathanLoiselle » Sat May 12, 2018 8:53 pm

Bah, I present all my speeches in my underwear. You don't hear anyone complaining about it, do you.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby Australia » Sat May 12, 2018 10:52 pm

Exactly. When Nathan represents me in court wearing nothing but tightie-wighties with a hole in them, I don't care as long as the judge finds me innocent of blackmail. And when the prosecutor convinces a jury that my fingerprints do match those of a presumed-dead dictator, I'm not mad because she did so wearing nothing but a used garbage bag. Come to think of it, I might have wandered into the wrong building for my consecutive trials. I was curious why the judge insisted on pissing on my leg during the closing statements. She really should have been kept on a leash.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby iMURDAu » Sun May 13, 2018 1:40 am

Sounds like a real kangaroo court!

*ducks flying tomatoes*
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby Windy » Sun May 13, 2018 5:37 am

It's only harassment if she's ugly
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby JamishT » Sun May 13, 2018 5:51 am

Australia wrote:I'm not saying what she did was smart. I'm just saying who gives a shit? And anyone that does probably need to look at themselves and wonder why they care about something so arbitrary.


It doesn't matter that it may be a dumb thing to care about. It's a thing that people care about, and thus people giving speeches and presentations might want to pay some attention to it. Maybe it's not the most important thing to be concerned about, but it's something people who gives a shit about their presentation and/or audience care about.
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Re: Cornell student presents thesis in underwear

Postby SandTea » Sun May 13, 2018 6:58 am

Should anyone care about it? If so, why should they care about it? If someone makes a great speech why should it matter what they are wearing? I get that people are... generally uptight but I would think a better world would be those people not being dicks. Instead of people just conforming to those standards for no reason other than trying to not offend, why not just let the girl talk. This place here, the comment section, is huge on "anti pc". How is this the incident y'all reverse on that stance?. I'm confused by the statement that it is dumb to care about but should be cared about. The world would be better if that 'dumb thing to care about' wasn't cared about and then when someone doesn't care about it someone else says they should. That is.... censored. Goodnight.
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