A student at Southern New Hampshire University recently failed an assignment because her professor refused to believe that Australia is a country.
Most of us can be a little guilty of not being 100% certain on our geographical knowledge beyond the realms of our own backyard from time to time. Canadians are often lumped in with Americans, despite having a rather large country of their own. England is not Britain and vice versa, for those who might think otherwise. And all too often, people refer to Africa as a country when it is in fact a rather large continent made up of a number of individual nations.
Not many of us will ever have to argue with a professor over whether a country is a country or not, however. That's exactly what Ashley Arnold, a student at Southern New Hampshire University, was forced to do recently. The 27-year-old was shocked to find that she had failed her assignment comparing social media use in the US to Australia, because according to her professor 'Australia is a continent; not a country'.
That statement is flat out wrong, of course. Australia is in fact the only nation on Earth that is both a continent and a country. Despite that fact, Arnold received zeros on many areas of her assignment due to her professor's belief that she had misunderstood the status of Oz. The wronged student flagged her professor's misunderstanding, but couldn't convince her that she was in the right, even after providing unequivocal proof that the country she selected as her case study is in fact its own nation.
The unnamed professor was having none of it. Arnold eventually felt the need to report the issue to the university. Eventually, the assignment was remarked after the professor conducted some 'independent research' and Arnold received a B+ instead of a fail. That sounds like a much fairer grade to us.
Buzzfeed shared the story with the world and actually contacted the university. A spokesperson explained that because of the professor's age she may have thought Australia was still a part of England. The problem with that excuse? Australia was never 'a part of England'. It was once a part of the British Empire, but that ceased to be the case 117 years ago. So unless the professor is fast approaching her 150th birthday, there really is no excuse.