For a project for her final class at Southern New Hampshire University, Ashley Arnolds compared US social media use with Australia’s.
On Feb 1, she received her project back with an F. Her lecturer, one with a PhD in Philosophy said: “Australia is a continent; not a country.”
Dissatisfied (and knowing full well that Australia IS a country), the 27-year-old emailed her professor explaining that the Land Down Under is both a continent and a country, according to Buzzfeed News.
This student failed her assignment because her professor said "Australia isn't a country" https://t.co/p0UkRDEEAb
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 11, 2018
This was her professor’s reply:
“Australia is a continent; it is not a country. That error made it impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly,” she replied.
“I want you to understand 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.”
Arnold then responded with a link to the Australian Government’s “About Australia” page:
“Australia is both a country and a continent. It’s the only country that is both. I provided a resource in the first email that clarifies that for you. If you need further clarification google or the SNHU Shapiro Library has that information you … Again I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is,” Arnold wrote.
“Thank you and let me know if I need to provide further resources proving Australia is a country.”
At long last, her professor replied: “After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue, I will review your paper.”
Arnolds’ paper was finally regraded at B+ and came with this warning from her professor:
“Please make sure the date, the facts, and the information you provide in your report is about Australia the country and not Australia the continent.”
Arnolds has since filed a report with her university. Last Friday, SNHU tweeted that they have issued an apology and refund to the student as well having the professor replaced.
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