Prom photos 2018: Nottingham High School junior prom, May 11

Prom photos 2018: Solvay High School senior ball, May 11

Students of Solvay High School celebrated at their senior ball Friday, May 11, 2018. The event was held at The Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls.

Our gallery of photos can be found above.

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Cornell student strips during thesis after professor questions her ‘short shorts’
Screenshot of Letitia Chai on YouTube.

A Cornell University senior student stripped down to her bra and underwear – twice – during her thesis presentation after a professor suggested that her choice of clothing would be inappropriate.

How did this happen? It started when Letitia Chai and her professor Rebekah Maggor clashed last week during a trial run of her thesis presentation for course PMA 3815 Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life. Speaking to The Cornell Daily Sun, Chai said she was wearing a blue button down shirt and cutoff jean shorts when Maggor asked "Is that really what you would wear?" Chai told the Sun she was "so taken aback that I didn’t really know how to respond."

The discussion escalated when the professor told Chai in front of the class that she was inviting males to gaze away from the content of her presentation and onto her body. On top of that, a male student in the class told Chai that she had a "moral obligation" to dress conservatively.

Chai left the classroom in tears. The incident didn’t improve after the professor came out to Chai and asked what her mother would think of her clothing. Chai’s response: "My mom is a feminist, gender and sexuality studies professor. She’s fine with my shorts."

When the professor asked what Chai was planning to do next. She said she was going to give the best damn speech of her life.

Chai returned to the classroom, stripped down to her undergarments, and continued with her presentation.

What is the professor’s response? "I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress," Maggor said in an email to the Sun. "I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions."

The class does not have a formalized dress code, but asks students to "dress appropriately for the persona [they] will present," according to the course syllabus obtained by the Sun.

Maggor told the class that another student in a previous section was asked to remove a cap from his head.

Chai said to the Sun that "telling someone to take their cap off is not the same thing as telling a girl her shorts are too short."

"I am not responsible for anyone’s attention because we are capable of thinking for ourselves and we have agency," Chai said.

Why did the student strip again? After that incident, Chai wrote a Facebook post about what happened and invited readers to attend her presentation on May 5 wearing their favorite underwear. Her presentation was livestreamed on social media and even her parents watched from Korea.

Chai’s opening statement: "On Wednesday I sent out a plea for solidarity, solidarity with individuals like myself who have been asked to question ourselves, specifically our appearance for the comfort of others. The only question that this has led me to ask is how much longer we need to put up with this nonsense?"

As she continued with her presentation, Chai stripped and more than half of the audience in the classroom joined her in stripping down to their underwear and remained undress for the entirety of her thesis.

Chai said she "stood in solidarity with people who have been asked to ‘question themselves’ based on others’ perception of their appearances."

Are there repercussions? Although Maggor apologized to the class for her choice of words, Chai did not hear it because she had already left the classroom. About 11 students in the class issued a statement saying they supported Chai’s protest but not her version of what happened.

"Tensions were high, and neither our professor nor Letitia was able to adequately defend her position. After Letitia left, our professor listened and agreed with many of the students’ comments and criticisms," the statement added.

The students also added that the professor "apologized for her choice of words, acknowledging that the notion of ‘short shorts’ on women carries a lot of cultural and political baggage."

Chai said her intention was not to protest against Maggor but to raise awareness about "huge societal issue," which she says is based on a mindset rather than individual incidents.

Although the Title IX office had contacted Chai regarding the incident, she is not pursuing a case at present.

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