USA professor fired after telling student 'Australia isn't a country'

Tetra Images
The Australian flag

Tetra Images The Australian flag

Ashley Arnold, of Idaho, USA, had to write a paper contrasting a social norm in America with another country and picked internet use in Australia.

Buzzfeed News reported Ashley then wrote back to her professor explaining that Australia is actually a country in its own right.

When asked why her assignment received a failing grade, the professor had insisted that Australia was a continent, and not a country. She told Arnold that the "error made it almost impossible" for her to have accurately completed the assignment. "Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall", Arnold quoted her professor as telling her, according to Buzzfeed. After reviewing Arnold's paper the professor gave her a new grade of a B+, but never apologized, merely acknowledging that she had a "misunderstanding about the difference between Australia as a country and a continent".

The university has now replaced the professor and issued an apology on Twitter.

"At first I thought it was a joke; this can't be real". The teacher also responded to say she would do an "independent research" on the matter. "Australia is both a country and a continent", she wrote in a third email. With her education levels, her expertise, who wouldn't know Australia is a country?

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Australia the country, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is comprised of the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. "If she's hesitating or questioning that, why wouldn't she just Google that herself?"

She told the professor that she meant no disrespect but the professor's incorrect assumption about Australia affected her grade. "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". It told WMUR-TV in New Hampshire that it "deeply regrets" what happened in that encounter, adding it wishes Australia the best in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

A 27-year-old resident of Idaho Falls, Ashley Arnold, who is pursuing an online sociology degree at Southern New Hampshire University, was assigned to write a paper comparing a social norm in the U.S. and another country, and she chose Australia.

As compensation, SNHU's president Paul LeBlanc offered Arnold a stuffed koala bear and a round trip ticket to Australia.

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