Ashley Arnold, 27, who is studying toward an online sociology degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), was "shocked" to learn she had failed an assignment, part of which required students to compare social norms between the United States and any other country - in her case Australia.
But when the stay-at-home mum got her grade back, she had been failed because, according to the teacher, "Australia is a continent; 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", the professor said.
Finally, after Ashley sent them a link to an "about Australia" page, the professor acknowledged they were wrong and gave Ashley a B+. Feb 12 -Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) announced it had replaced a professor who had insisted Australia was not a country.
"At first I thought it was a joke".More news: SFO charges Barclays over £2.2bn Qatar loan
After another evidence-filled email, the prof then agreed to do "some independent research on the continent/country issue" and to take a second look at Arnold's assignment. "Australia is both a country and a continent", she wrote in a third email.
Australia is a country, but it's also a continent. "If she's hesitating or questioning that, why wouldn't she just Google that herself?"
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.
The university let the professor go as a result.
"We have apologized to Ashley, replaced the instructor & are reimbursing her tuition for the course", SNHU said on Twitter.More news: Barnaby Joyce 'resisted' removing girlfriend Vikki Campion from office
SNHU has since apologised to Arnold.
When she got her grade back, it was a zero.
Australia is in fact the only place in the world to be both a country and a continent.
"We deeply regret the interaction between our professor and our student and have apologized to the student and refunded her for the class", she wrote.
It added the educational institution understands Australian geography, and wished athletes from Australia good luck in the Olympic Games.More news: Gigi Hadid slams body shamers
But university officials told local station WMUR-TV that the instructor has now been replaced following an investigation into the matter.
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