A Cornell University student stripped down to her undergarments during a thesis presentation Saturday after her professor criticized her choice of clothes during one of the test runs of the presentation.

During a rehearsal of the presentation, Letitia Chai’s professor Rebekah Maggor asked whether the denim cutoff shorts she was wearing was appropriate for the occasion.

“The first thing that the professor said to me was ‘is that really what you would wear?” Chai wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. “The professor proceeded to tell me, in front of my whole class, that I was inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body,” she wrote in a presently-deleted Facebook post on May 2. 

She told the Cornell Sun she was “so taken aback that I didn’t really know how to respond.” While most of her peers in “Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life” class took her side, questioning Maggor’s perception of men, one of the students defended the professor’s remarks, saying Chai should dress more conservatively for the sake of morality.

“Am I morally offending you?” Chai snapped at the student, before storming out of the classroom.

Chai said the professor made the situation worse when she caught up with her outside the room and asked her what her mother would think of her choice of clothes. 

“My mom is a feminist, gender and sexuality studies professor. She’s fine with my shorts,” Chai said she responded.

Hours later, Chai took to Facebook and shared her experience, inviting the readers to attend her presentation wearing their favorite underwear.

Finally the big day arrived, which was livestreamed on social media. As the presentation began, Chai addressed her parents.

"Mom and dad, hello," Chai said. "I know it's late in Korea so thank you for staying up for this. 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?”

“I am more than Asian. I am more than a woman. I am more than Letitia Chai. I am a human being. And I ask you to take this leap of faith, to take the next step in this movement and join me to revealing each other and seeing who we truly are, members of the human race,” she added.”

As Chai whispered "Strip everybody,” more than half of the audience in the room joined her in stripping down to their underwear.

"I hope this is only the beginning of a conversation that I did not think that we still had to have, but we do and we are here to make it continue,” Chai said, resuming with her thesis on rehabilitation for displaced people and refugees.

After the incident, Maggor issued a statement saying: “I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress. I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.”

Before Chai’s stunt on the presentation day, a group of students from Chai’s class released a statement saying that while they “identify with Letitia’s fight for equality in the treatment of all people, regardless of race, gender, color, creed, sexuality, or appearance,” they did not feel Chai provided the correct version of the events as they unfolded during the rehearsal or fairly represented the professor’s views.

“Our professor regularly asks all of the students, male and female, such questions to clarify appropriate attire for public speaking," the students wrote. “Our professor went on to say that what you wear and how you present yourself make a statement. Her focus on attire was a means of noting the importance of professionalism in certain public speaking situations.”

“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.