This student failed her assignment because her professor said “Australia isn’t a country”

Ashley Arnold, a 27-year-old woman from Idaho Falls, Idaho has recently revealed an unbelievable story, regarding her latest exam. Because she a mother, Arnold is completing an online sociology degree at Southern New Hampshire University, for which she paid $1000.

As a part of her final class, the students’ task was a project in which they had to compare a social norm in the United States  and another randomly country. So, Arnold’s choice was Australia. After she completed her project, she confidently wait for her grade. But, on February 1st, when she got it, the student was truly shocked to find out that she failed the exam and the reason was an unbelievable one. According to her teacher, “Australia is a continent; not a country.”

“At first I thought it was a joke; This can’t be real. Then as I continued to read I realized she was for real. With her education levels, her expertise, who wouldn’t know Australia is a country? If she’s hesitating or questioning that, why wouldn’t she just google that herself?” declared Arnold. She also added: “I’m not going to fail because I chose a country that is a country.”

The professor, who’s also a doctor in philosophy, believed Australia is a continent, so in her opinion, Arnold’s project was worthless.



 Trying to rectify the situation and also to convince her teacher that Australia really is a country, the student wrote an email and sent it to the professor.

  “I believe I got zero or partial credit because the instructor said, ‘Australia is a continent; not a country. However, I believe that Australia is a country. The research starter on the SNHU’s Shapiro library written by John Pearson (2013) states, that Australia is the ‘sixth-largest country in the world’ (n.p.). The full name of the country is the Commonwealth of Australia, meaning Australia is both a continent and a country. Therefore, these sections of the rubric should be amended. “

And the professor replayed her, but still with the believe that Australia is actually a continent:

“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.

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.”

So this time, Arnold wrote her again and inserted a link “About Australia” into the email:

“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.”

Finally, her teacher responded: ” Thank you for this web-address

After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue I will review your paper.”

In the end, the professor reviewed Arnold’s project and gave her a B+, but she also made a note on the project: “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.”

Asked about the unhappy incident, a spokesperson of the Southern New Hampshire University, declared: “At Southern New Hampshire University , we hold our professors to a high standard of excellence and strive to provide high-quality degree programs for all students. On this question, the student is right. We take this concern seriously and our academic team is working to resolve the matter.”

A few hours after the incident went publicly, SNHU posted an official statement on Twitter, where they apologize to the student. They also said that the professor has been replaced.

“We deeply regret the interaction between our professor & our student,” SNHU said. “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!”

How would you react in a situation like this? Tell us  in a comment bellow!








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