UPenn TA denies being punished over calling on white men last
The tweet that originally sparked controversy.
The University of Pennsylvania graduate student who boasted of calling on white men last during class discussions has not been removed from teaching duties, despite reports suggesting otherwise.
Stephanie McKellop, a PhD student studying history, tweeted in October that “I will always call on Black women students first. Other POC get second tier priority. WW [white women] come next. And, if I have to, white men.”
"I'm taking my comprehensive exams next semester...It isn't a punishment, and has nothing to do with the progressive stacking issue."
McKellop, who is a white woman, defended herself in a series of subsequent tweets, arguing that she was taught the teaching method, known as “progressive stacking,” by an “amazing” professor.
“I was taught that ^ as an undergrad by an amazing prof,” she tweeted. “In normal life, who has the easiest time speaking, most opportunities? Flip it.”
Her tweets were promptly covered by outlets including The Daily Wire, The Daily Mail, The Miami Herald, Reason, The Daily Caller, Inside Higher Ed, and many more, sparking outrage and backlash that led to, according to McKellop, calls for her to lose her job.
The UPenn administration initially stated that it would be “looking into the current matter” while explicitly denying that McKellop had been removed from the PhD program, but when she tweeted earlier this week that she “won’t be teaching next semester,” some media outlets interpreted this to mean that she had been fired.
“There are too many misrepresentations to even email,” McKellop told Campus Reform in an interview. “I'm taking my comprehensive exams next semester, which is what all PhDs in my department have to do. It isn't a punishment, and has nothing to do with the progressive stacking issue.”
“No PhD student can teach every semester in my department,” McKellop explained, adding that there is an “invented connection between the progressive stacking issue and me doing the normal things that every PhD student in my department can do. There is not even remotely a connection.”
McKellop noted that she will still be on campus next semester, stressing that she was not reprimanded in any way, and that the school’s administrators “were and are fair and supportive of their grad students.”
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Pennsylvania to confirm McKellop’s account, but did not receive a response.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen