UPDATED: Professor's race-based class participation policy inspired by Chairman Mao

For class discussions, the professor utilizes 'progressive stacking' to condition students' participation and speaking based on their race and gender.

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the syllabus, which one student called 'embarrassing.'

The “Class Discussion Guidelines” section of Ana Maria Candela’s “Social Change -Introduction to Sociology” syllabus, which instructs white male students to wait their turn to speak after “non-white folks” talk, opens with a quotation about speaking from Mao Zedong, the communist Chinese dictator who killed 45 million people. 

“No investigation, no right to speak,” the quote reads in the document for the Binghamton University class. 

In 2016, The Washington Post reported that the dictator’s death toll made him the “biggest mass murderer in the history of the world.”

The quotation “helps to convey the idea that speaking, during class discussions, should be based on having done your investigative work,” Candela writes.

The professor’s scholarship “focuses on Chinese migrations to Latin America and on the global dimensions of Chinese history and China’s social transformations,” according to her university webpage. 

For class discussions, Candela utilizes “progressive stacking” to condition students’ participation and speaking based on their race and gender, according to her syllabus, which Campus Reform obtained. 

”Progressive stacking” prioritizes student ideas and interactions based on the participants’ race and gender. 

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”This [policy] means that wetry to give priority to non-white folks, to women, and to shy and quiet people who rarely raise their hands,” the syllabus states. “It also means that if you are white, male, or someone privileged by the racial and gender structures of our society to have your voice easily voiced and heard, we will often ask you to hold off on your questions or comments to give others priority and will come back to you a bit later or at another time.”

Campus Reform spoke with Binghamton students who were aware of Candela’s “progressive stacking” policy. An excerpt of the document had gone viral online after the Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok posted a screenshot of a Binghamton parents’ Facebook group discussing the text. 

Binghamton student Sean Harrigan questioned whether “progressive stacking” would penalize students’ participation grades if they never got a chance to speak because of how they were born. 

“How am I supposed to get full participation when the professor won’t call on me even though I had my hand up the longest?” Harrigan asked.

Michael Lawrence told Campus Reform that he has “experienced classes that partake in similar rules.” 

”Progressive stacking,” according to Lawrence, teaches “students to victimize people and see them as less than many of their peers.” 

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Emme Young, another Binghamton student, called the policy “embarrassing.” 

“It’s pretty embarrassing that I pay tuition to a school that has a class with that syllabus,” Young said.

Campus Reform also obtained a screenshot of a group conversation between members of the university’s College Republicans chapter discussing the participation policy. 

“Can anyone tell me how this is legal,” one student asked.

“Well that’s sociology for ya,” another student replied. 

Campus Reform reached out to Binghamton University for comment. 

Ryan Yarosh, senior director of media and public relations, said that Candela was “counseled” by the university due to the syllabus’ failure to comply with the 2021-2022 Faculty-Staff Handbook.

Harrigan had filed a Title IX complaint against Candela’s syllabus. 

“I decided to file a complaint knowing that this discriminates people based on sex and race. So, I went to the Title IX department,” Harrigan told Campus Reform. “After filing the report I called some civil rights lawyers just in case the school did nothing.”

Harrigan said that after a week after filing the initial report, he received an email stating that Professor Candela was asked to change her class syllabus. 

Campus Reform received the Feb. 11 email from Senior Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator Andrew Baker. 

“It has taken quite some time for me to speak to the individuals in DEI that I needed to. After speaking to them, and some other offices on campus, it is my understanding that the faculty member is removing that part of the syllabus,” Baker wrote. 

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