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UPenn TA who boasted of calling on white males last in class not teaching next semester

‘Progressive stacking’ instructor says the decision is not related to her use of the teaching method

A University of Pennsylvania teaching assistant who prompted national headlines and criticism after she tweeted in October that she only calls on white, male students as a last resort in class said Tuesday she won’t be teaching next semester at the Ivy League institution.

Stephanie McKellop, a Ph.D student in history, said in a tweet that she won’t be teaching anymore because of administrative decisions.

“As I won’t be teaching next semester due to some admin Choices, any ideas about how to stay teaching-adjacent? What can I do, get involved in, invest in about teaching & helping the undergrads,” McKellop said in her tweet.

In a later tweet, McKellop reiterated the choice was not hers. She told The College Fix that the decision stems not from her use of a controversial teaching method but rather is “a kindness extended to me by the university.”

“It is part of a history PhD process to take comprehensive exams, and mine are coming up. That means I will become a PhD candidate, a promotion in my status,” she said. “I’ve been asked to do research for my dissertation. Teaching will resume in the fall.”

The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday afternoon, McKellop said on Twitter that she was preparing for her final classes and wanted “to cry” because she wants to do whatever she can to help her students be successful.

“Basically going to beg the students to come see me and use me as an instructor and pick my brain and ask for help and to let me be an aid for them,” she said.

McKellop faced criticism and garnered widespread media coverage earlier this semester after admitting to using a controversial teaching technique known as the “progressive stack,” a method that gives speaking priority to minority students and women first while those considered having more privilege are required to wait their turn.

“I will always call on my black women students first. Other [people of color] get second tier priority. [White women] come next. And, if I have to, white men,” the teaching assistant tweeted October 16.

Following McKellop’s tweet, the University of Pennsylvania said it was investigating the situation but that the teaching assistant had “not been removed from the program.”

“We are looking into the current matter involving a graduate-student teaching assistant to ensure that our students were not subjected to discriminatory practices in the classroom and to ensure that all of our students feel heard and equally engaged,” Steve Fluharty, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said at the time.

McKellop’s profile on the University of Pennsylvania website said she’s teaching a course called “Sinners, Sex, and Slaves: Race and Sex in Early America” this semester. She taught courses on the American South last year.

Following her initial Oct. 16 tweet, McKellop said in subsequent tweets that the university prevented her from going to her course’s lecture and canceled classes with her and she said her critics included Nazis.

“Because this involves calling on Black students more readily than white men, the white nationalists and Nazis were very upset,” she said.

Meanwhile, some scholars rallied to her defense on social media and condoned her use of the progressive stack technique. A College Fix review of online documentation found that McKellop is hardly the first instructor to employ the technique in the classroom.

The review found that use of the progressive stack, which is lauded by advocates as amplifying oppressed voices and criticized by others as discriminatory, has been used in college classrooms for years, and has roots in liberal activism including Occupy Wall Street.

MORE: White, male students called on last in some classrooms

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About the Author
Nathan Rubbelke is a staff reporter for The College Fix with a specialty on investigative and enterprise reporting. He has also held editorial positions at The Commercial Review daily newspaper in Portland, Indiana, as well as at The Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics and St. Louis Public Radio. Rubbelke graduated from Saint Louis University, where he majored in political science and sociology.

Add to the Discussion

  • Jamie Wilson

    Thank you for staying on top of this story, Nathan! Excellent follow-up. We should keep our collective eye on her to see if she is able to slither back into a teaching position.

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  • Byrd Westbrook

    Stephanie McKellop’s tweet seems to be the work of an illiterate PhD student.

    • EndTimesComing

      I’M betting her phD is NOT in STEM.

  • Bob Olson

    The liberal domination of America’s university system is destroying what once was the best education system in the world. It now has devolved into little more than liberal indoctrination centers. The work required to correct this situation is going to be a long and hard process. Many current instructors are not fit for the positions they hold and until they are removed this deplorable situation will continue to fester.

  • san rafael blue

    She said
    ‘Teaching resume in the fall’, So I guess she expects to return to the brainwashing clinic next autumn, probably with a boost in pay and status. Hope I’m wrong.

  • pannw

    I can just imagine what she ‘taught’ about the South. Stephanie McKellop is a racist and a bigot and given a platform to spew her bigotry by a major university. Way to go Penn. You must be so proud.

    • Jace Curioso

      Well, Penn did erect a statue to Papa Joe, The Enabler, didn’t they?

      • Honey B

        Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania (aka “Penn”) are two entirely different universities.

  • winston smith

    She’s a joke to the education system and humanity. She’s bitter about being herself.

  • Harry Groth

    She only calls on white men for questions that are too hard for black women, blacks, and women. You can’t make this stuff up!

  • TLYG

    Good. Maybe you can use the downtime to rethink your pedagogical approach/method.

  • JayRaskin

    I would expect this from a Women’s Study teacher, but it is hard to believe that anybody who actually studies history could think that such discrimination was a good thing. Such sexism and racism against students should not be tolerated.

    • Unmutual One

      She studies “history” in the same way Howard Zinn wrote “history.”

  • Wow! How does someone as mentally disturbed as this Stephanie even get to go near a classroom? Where are colleges and universities finding these nutters? I fear that until lawsuit after lawsuit is hurled at all universities engaging in playing these virtue signalling BS games, colleges and universities will continue to seem more like circus carnivals than institutions of higher learning. Kick these imbeciles out and start again with brilliant professors rather than a-hs seemingly from some mental institution.

  • Clyde_Frog

    She doesn’t need to be teaching anywhere. Ever.

  • Jamie Wilson

    lol. She is reading these comments. She took a screen shot of my comment below and tweeted that she would be slithering back into a teaching position next year. Hiya, Steph!

    I think it is important for The College Fix to stay on top of this story. If she does go back to a teaching gig, we need to know whether she will again engage in race and sex discrimination in the classroom. And if she does return to that practice, we will need to hear from the relevant institution why it is knowingly placing itself violation of Titles VI and IX.

  • another_engineer

    Having a PhD in history, one would think that she would understand that 99% of everything around us was either invented or improved by white males.

  • Well with all the news publicity on her tiny act there and now that the world’s microscope has zoomed in on her, not so easy now in the real world huh……Just like I said, the real world will chew her up, and spit her out real good.