UPenn TA denies being punished over calling on white men last

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • The University of Pennsylvania graduate student who boasted of calling on white men last during class discussions is denying news reports claiming that she has been removed from teaching duties over the controversy.
  • Stephanie McKellop tweeted recently that she "won't be teaching next semester," leading to reports that she had been removed, but says she was merely referring to the fact that she will be taking comprehensive exams next semester.
  • 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."   

    [RELATED: UPenn TA boasts of calling on white male students last]

    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.”

    [RELATED: Prof who called whites ‘inhuman assholes’ put on leave]

    “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





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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