White, Male Penn Students Called On Last In Some Classrooms

Authored by Nathan Rubbelke via TheCollegeFix.com,

‘Progressive stacking’ not new, not isolated to Penn...

The backlash may be new, but the method is not.

Controversy erupted recently after tweets from an Ivy League teaching assistant showed her admitting she only calls on white male students as a last resort.

“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,” University of Pennsylvania teaching assistant Stephanie McKellop tweeted in October.

McKellop’s tweets spotlight a method known as the “progressive stack” in which speaking priority is given to minority voices while those deemed as having privilege must wait their turn.

McKellop’s comments ignited a firestorm over the controversial teaching method and prompted her university to look into the situation, but a College Fix review of online documentation shows McKellop is far from the first instructor to employ the “progressive stack” in the classroom.

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.

The College Fix review found several instances in which scholars have engaged in the practice. Additionally, a sociology professor told Inside Higher Ed progressive stacking dates back at least a couple decades.

In an email to The College Fix, University of New Mexico psychology professor Geoffrey Miller denounced the “progressive stack” method and said it will further alienate universities from their stakeholders.

“It’s obvious that universities feel deeply embarrassed when whistle-blowers publicize that progressive stacking is being used in their classrooms; they know that parents, alumni, legislators, and taxpayers can see how discriminatory it is, and will withdraw financial support if it continues,” Miller said.

The method has been met with resistance by students as well. It drew complaints in one college course because students felt it “silenced straight white male students on the basis of their identities,” according to an article published by the course’s instructors.

According to the conservative website Legal Insurrection, the tactic traces back at least to the well-known Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

“It has been a core part of progressive and academic organizing at least since the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011,” the website states.

A 2011 article from the liberal magazine The Nation highlighted how Occupy Wall Street protesters used progressive stacking as a means to allow those from “traditionally marginalized groups” to speak at events.

“In other words: women and minorities get to go to the front of the line,” the article explains.

The use of the “progressive stack” in Occupy Wall Street appears to have fueled its use on campus in a few of the cases identified by The Fix.

In a 2014 essay published online, then-UC Berkeley Ph.D candidate Genevieve Painter explained how the Occupy Wall Street movement taught her “how to occupy my own classroom” and explains how she and her colleagues “brought techniques from the movement” into a course.

One of those techniques included the “progressive stack” method, which Painter mentions was used by a professor she assisted in a legal theory course to moderate discussion. Painter inferred that white male students were actually called on first since they were a minority in the class.

“Afterwards, we discussed how students felt – particularly given that, in a classroom populated largely by women, the progressive stack entailed giving speaking priority to the white men in the room,” she wrote.

Painter did not respond to a request seeking comment.

In a 2013 article published in the journal “Radical Teacher,” a cohort of instructors who taught an “Occupy Wall Street-inspired” course admit to using the progressive stack in the class.

In their article, the professors explain they moderated discussion in their “#occupyyoureducation” course by “calling on those who had not spoken (or rarely spoke), women, queer-identified students, and students of color before we called on regular talkers, white, straight, and/or male students.”

However, the method was met with criticism from some students who complained progressive stacking muzzled white men in the class. In their article, the instructors said the complaints led to a meeting with their department chair and that they “took this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about the class.”

Two of the course’s instructors, who now teach at different universities, did not respond to emails from The College Fix regarding their use of the progressive stack method.

In 2015, Saint Mary’s University professor Jody Haiven said at a panel discussion on misogyny that women should be allowed to speak first in public settings. Haiven, a management professor, said she practiced the technique in her own teaching, according to a news article.

[[n] the management department, women get to speak first. I think that that is a primary issue that we actually have to look at, how to do question and answer [periods]. And we can start today,” she said.

When probed about whether that tactic could lead to sexism against men, Haiven reportedly said “yes, I suppose at some point that could happen.”

Haiven did not respond to a request seeking comment.

The “progressive stack” method was also used at a 2014 conference on “Transnational Feminisms” that was hosted for scholars at Ohio State University.

“Since some people feel more comfortable than others in settings like these, we ask facilitators to keep a ‘progressive stack’ of speakers, asking those who have already spoken in the session to wait until all others have spoken once before speaking again,” the conference’s welcome packet states.

The packet asks “all participants to privilege the voices of those who might easily be marginalized in academic conversations in the [U.S.].” It goes on to list students, foreigners, non-native English speakers, junior faculty members and the disabled as those who fall under that category.

Amid McKellop’s tweets about her use of the “progressive stack” method, scholars rallied to her defense on social media and defended her use of the technique. They include Cornell Ph.D candidate Jesse Goldberg, who tweeted that he uses the progressive stack in courses he teaches.

In a series of tweets, Goldberg said the progressive stack is an “established method of facilitating discussion.”

“It’s based on the social fact that in conversation, people who signify as being of marginalized identities are talked over constantly,” he said.

Goldberg added that “the method is flawed” but refuted accusations it’s discriminatory.

Yet other scholars disagree.

“Most academics strive to maintain an environment where everyone can speak as opposed to stack participation to address social patterns or bias. Each student must be treated equally — not de-prioritized due to his association with a racial or gender group,” writes famed law professor Jonathan Turley. “While there are an array of social ills outside of the classroom, we maintain an equality of thought and status as a basic component of high education. Moreover, our students come to our schools to be treated equally — not to find themselves the ongoing social experiment of people like McKellop.”


SumTing Wong IH8OBAMA Tue, 11/07/2017 - 21:40 Permalink

Look, I teach a real subject. As a mathematician, I'll take anyone who is willing to try as a participant. Usually they get something wrong, but at least they are willing to be involved. And then we can fix their reasoning. White males can be wrong just like black females. And all of them can learn by the courage of one who will speak up. 

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Endgame Napoleon SumTing Wong Wed, 11/08/2017 - 09:37 Permalink

Here is a good rule for teaching a [non-real] subject that, even if students master it, will not lead to jobs with wages sufficient to cover the students’ major household bills: Call on a range of students, basing your selection on a [diversity of perspectives] that students bring to the subject.

Since your objective is to teach a subject in-depth, promoting a deeper understanding, select the students who articulate the varying angles on ideas with the greatest clarity. If the most articulate individuals with the most diverse range of perspectives on the subject are all white males, so be it. If they are all Asian women, so be it.

It is about the subject content or ideas in college and about the work in workplaces, supposedly.

In the Era of Fake Feminism, educational settings, like workplaces, are now all about social things, like establishing good “culture fits” in very un-diverse corporate back offices, government agencies and call centers, which are full of back-watching, frequently absentee moms who post baby pics and organize Halloween dress-up days and baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contests when at work. They do the mom-bonding rituals, making a huge deal out of avid participation in these non-work-related things, when not absentee at the busiest times of the day—i.e. at times when paying customers are lighting up multiple phone lines.

That is how it works in the real work world, making this collegiate diversity fantasy even more absurd.

The mommas use the language of diversity to cover up for their crony-mom absenteeism.

So, all these contemporary, multiculturalist professors accomplish is teaching their snowflakes the buzzwords of multiculturalism and fake feminism. Then their students alight into the world of real jobs, where they will get to see their professors’ philosophy [mockingly] turned on its head, sometimes by the very groups that they assume regard their philosophy of diversity as a noble and enlightened way of thinking.


Take the call center with the big government contract and at least 85% minority employees [if not 90%]. The minority manager paraded her 9-out-of-10 minority, female picks for permanent hires around the training rooms, filled with 187 temps. She took her nearly 100% minority mom hires (and 1 white momma) to each training room, laughingly and snidely saying “we need a diversity panel.”

This is not anomalous situation. By working or interviewing in such places, I have personally seen 8 large-scale workplaces in my city with this type of “diversity,” and I have heard about many others. When these office jobs are not minority-momma-dominated, they are white-momma-dominated.

And then we have the almost 100% youth-dominated workplaces, the male-dominated workplaces, etc.


Snowflakes need to get real.

In reply to by SumTing Wong

falconflight Ajax-1 Tue, 11/07/2017 - 22:54 Permalink

They should all file admininstrative complaints under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, with the US Dept of Education.  Bury the federal employees in complaints.  Doesn't cost a penny to file, and in fact you must file such a complaint in order to receive your right to sue in federal court.

In reply to by Ajax-1

E5 junction Wed, 11/08/2017 - 07:41 Permalink

:LMAO they would have a tough time at Penn State.  There are like 5 black people.  All white, asian, middle eastern, Indian. Personally I don't know why they keep projecting that Whites are superior and then act all shitty when Whites turn out to be superior.  This just breeds a distrust of minorities in the workplace.  Which would you trust more out of the guy counting the seconds until a torpedo hits your sub?  "Ya gotta give me extra time to figure this out captain.... boom"

In reply to by junction

chubbar Code Duello Tue, 11/07/2017 - 21:55 Permalink

Had a buddy pull me aside for a conversation about his 11th grade daughter (white) who is attending a prestigious private school on scholarship. She wants to become a chemical engineer, has the grades to be accepted at MIT or one of the other top tier schools but is hesitant to apply for one reason. She is fed up with the liberal bullshit constantly being fed to her by her professors in her non-science courses. He was asking me if I knew some quality engineering colleges that trended either conservative or neutral. Not every student is so stupid that they just glom onto every fucking word their libtarded professors spew.

In reply to by Code Duello