A professor at the University of Cincinnati is defending her decision to give a student a zero on her assignment for using the phrase “biological women” — despite noting in her grading that the paper submitted was a “solid proposal.”
In a video posted on social media, University of Cincinnati sophomore Olivia Krolczyk revealed that she had received a zero on her project proposal in a Women’s Gender Studies in Pop Culture course. The 20-year-old student noted that she planned to argue in her assignment that transgender athletes are taking opportunities from “biological women.”
According to Krolczyk, she was failed for using the “exclusionary” phrase despite her teacher admitting that her submission was a “solid proposal.”
She provided evidence for her claim, showing the professor’s remarks in the video.
“Olivia, this is a solid proposal. However, the terms ‘biological women’ are exclusionary and are not allowed in this course as they reinforce heteronormativity,” the remarks read.
A University of Cincinnati student says she received a failing grade on an assignment because she used the term "biological women."
Olivia Krolczyk said her project aimed to show how men who identify as transgender competing in women's sports "is actively taking away the… pic.twitter.com/rRRhNge7DC
— Genevieve Gluck (@WomenReadWomen) June 6, 2023
Now, her professor Melanie Rose Nipper, is defending her decision — stating in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer that it was important to correct students who use “outdated terminology” that causes “systemic harm.”
The professor claimed that she supports the idea of classrooms being a place for debates and discussions, but argued that the right to free speech does not supersede concerns about supposed “systemic harm.”
According to Nipper, the discussion ends when “you are, intentionally or unintentionally, participating in a systemic harm of some kind” — citing transphobia and White supremacy as examples.
The professor went on to claim that it is her job to correct students for using “outdated terminology” — though she said she will only give them “a zero for an assignment,” rather than “a zero for the course.”
Nipper further claimed that using so-called “outdated terminology” is “unacceptable based on the community, the marginalized individuals that are at stake, and also the foundations of the course.”
While she confirmed what Krolczyk said about the incident, Nipper said that she had cried when she saw the student’s video and the backlash it caused.
“It’s a lot, right?” the professor said. “It’s a lot to handle.”
According to Nipper, the student later requested to focus her assignment on a different topic — but she offered to extend Krolczyk’s deadline. However, the professor was soon hit with a freedom of speech claim against her from Krolczyk — meaning that Nipper was accused of violating the University of Cincinnati’s free speech policy.
In an interview on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me!” with Dan Dakich, Krolczyk revealed that she has had her assignment re-graded by a different teacher and received an “A.”
“So far, a new professor has graded my work and nothing has happened with the original professor, that I know of,” she told Dakich.
“It was re-graded, so I ended up finishing the class with an A,” Krolczyk added.
She also noted during the interview that “if you have dissenting views or opinions you’re probably going to have a rough grade — you’re gonna have a rough time in” Nipper’s class.
“That’s just because all these teachers have political agendas they’re just trying to push on to their students. And it shouldn’t be that way, it should be unbiased grading because it’s about academic integrity, it’s about your work — your quality of work, not your opinions.
University of Cincinnati student, Olivia Krolczyk, UNLOADS on her school for not allowing diversity of thought after she got a FAILING grade because she used the term 'biological female.'
— OutKick (@Outkick) June 8, 2023