Prof says Australia not a country, fails student who says it is — and displeased school takes action

Southern New Hampshire University fired an adjunct professor who insisted Australia isn’t a country and gave an “F” on an assignment to a perplexed student who said that it is, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

Lauren Keane, the school’s assistant vice president of communications, told the paper that a BuzzFeed story about the interaction between the professor and online student Ashley Arnold of Idaho was true.

Arnold — a 27-year-old stay-at-home mom — compared social media use in the United States to Australia for a class assignment, but the professor penalized Arnold in several sections, which resulted in a failing grade.

And the prof’s main issue? Arnold wrote that Australia is a country.

Wrong, said the prof, who corrected Arnold by saying Australia is a continent.

Arnold responded that the land down under is a country as well as a continent, and she sent the prof evidence to back it up.

Here’s a bit of how the prof responded to Arnold’s pushback, via BuzzFeed:

I will gladly re-examine your week 2 milestone project report.

But before I do I want you to understand that any error in a project can invalidate the entire research project.

Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall.

Australia is a continent; it is not a country. That error made it nearly impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly.

Well, after further review — and after Arnold contacted SNHU — her grade on the assignment was changed to a B+ and the professor was let go, Keane told the Union Leader.

“Following an investigation, we have replaced the instructor as we strive to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in educating our students,” Keane told the paper in an email.

The school isn’t identifying the professor in question “at the student’s request,” Keane also told the Union Leader, adding that the adjunct professor “does not live in New Hampshire and does not work on campus.”

What’s more, Arnold got an apology from the college — and a refund for the class, the paper said.

SNHU also sent a friendly message to Australia as the Winter Olympics get underway in South Korea:

We deeply regret the interaction between our professor & our student. We have apologized to Ashley, replaced the instructor, & are reimbursing her tuition for the course. To our friends in Australia, we know that you are a country & a continent, best of luck in the Olympic games!

— SNHU (@SNHU) February 9, 2018

(H/T: The College Fix)


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