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A student failed an assignment because her professor believed Australia 'is not a country'

INSIDER logoINSIDER 2/9/2018 jshamsian@thisisinsider.com (Jacob Shamsian)

a close up of a map: the country of australia skitched © Provided by Business Insider Inc the country of australia skitched

  • - A professor failed a student because the professor thought Australia was not a country, just a continent.
  • - Australia is both a country and a continent.
  • - After receiving a complaint, the professor revised the student's grade but never acknowledged the error.

A professor at Southern New Hampshire University failed one of her student's assignments because the professor incorrectly thought Australia "is not a country," according to a report in BuzzFeed News.

Australia is, in fact, a country.

The student, Ashley Arnold, is working towards an online sociology degree with the university. For one of her final assignments, she had to compare a social norm in the United States to another country. She chose to compare social media use in the US to what it's like in Australia.

The professor, according to BuzzFeed News, failed Arnolds because "Australia is a continent; not a country," which, again, is incorrect, just so we're clear here. Australia is both a continent and a country.

When Arnold complained, the professor said they'd reexamine the assignment, but did not concede that Australia was a country.

"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," the professor wrote in an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. "As I mentioned above I will look over your week two paper once again and see if you earned more credits than I gave you."

In another email exchange, Arnold correctly asserted that Australia is a country, linking to the "About Australia" section of the country's website:

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.

Thank you and let me know if I need to provide further resources proving Australia is a country.

The professor said they'd take Arnold's concerns into consideration.

"Thank you for this web-address," they wrote. "After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue I will review your paper."

After a period of review, the professor changed Arnold's grade to a B+, according to BuzzFeed News. The professor did not acknowledge their error.

A representative for Southern New Hampshire University didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment, but told BuzzFeed News the university was looking into the matter.

"At SNHU, we hold our professors to a high standard of excellence and strive to provide high-quality degree programs for all students," a spokesperson said. "On this question, the student is right. We take this concern seriously and our academic team is working to resolve the matter."

Related: 22 'Facts' You Learned in School That Are Wrong

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