Cornell Student Presents Thesis in Underwear

Upset about a professor's advice to wear professional clothing, a student at Cornell University delivered her practice senior thesis in her underwear. The news is making international headlines, and some of the facts presented aren't quite what transpired.


In this theater class, "Acting in Public," the faculty member encourages students to consider everything about their presentation, including dress. When a student wore cut-off shorts, she was asked to consider the impression she wanted to make.

Most students in the class did not agree with how the situation was portrayed, and 11 of the 13 other students in the class wrote a long description from their perspective. They write that, although they support the student's fight for equality, "All of us feel that our professor’s words and actions were unfairly represented in the post, with certain quotes taken out of context, and we wish to clarify any misunderstandings that may have occurred." They also explain 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." But the student wasn't in the classroom to hear this comment.

Image source.


  • Read the Cornell Daily Sun article and the other students' perspective. Whose side do you favor and why?
  • How do you view the student's actions: courageous, distasteful, disrespectful, or something else?
  • What's your opinion on "professional attire"? In what situations should people adjust what they wear?
  • Compare this situation to an employment interview. What is similar, and what is different?