A 27-year-old student has revealed that she failed her final project… because her professor refused to believe that Australia was a country. Ashley Arnold, who is completing an online sociology degree with Southern New Hampshire University in the USA, was tasked with comparing a social norm in the US with one from another country, and chose to compare it to Australia. However, her tutor failed her after she handed in the project, claiming that Australia is a continent, not a country. Speaking to BuzzFeed News about her reaction to the mark, she said: "At first I thought it was a joke; This can't be real. Then as I continued to read I realised she was for real."
The professor refused to believe Australia was a country
Ashley politely emailed her professor with references proving that Australia was indeed a country, and the professor responded with an email which read: "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."
The university apologised for the mix-up
Ashley then replied with a link to the Australian government website, and wrote: "Australia is both a country and a continent. It's the only country that is both… 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 then responded to say she would review the work after reviewing the "continent/country issue", adding: "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."
The university apologised for the error and Ashley is set to receive a refund for the course, which cost $1000. They released a statement which read: "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!"