University Professor Defends Failing A Student Over ‘Outdated Terminology’

The university professor who gave a student a zero on her assignment for using the term “biological women” has defended her decision, saying the student was using “outdated terminology.”

A sophomore at the University of Cincinnati recently posted a video claiming that she received a zero on her project proposal in a Women’s Gender Studies in Pop Culture course. The student planned on arguing that “transgender” athletes competing in women’s sports were taking opportunities away from “biological women.”

Yet, Olivia Krolczyk, 20, said she failed an assignment for using the “exclusionary” term despite her teacher admitting that she submitted a “solid proposal.”

“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 professor, Melanie Rose Nipper, said.

In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Nipper said that although she agrees classrooms should be a place for debates and discussions, the right to free speech does not remove concerns of alleged “systemic harm.”

Classroom discussions end when “you are, intentionally, or unintentionally, participating in a systemic harm of some kind,” Nipper said. She reportedly cited “transphobia,” and “white supremacy” as examples.

Nipper expressed that it is her job to correct students when they use “an outdated terminology.” She said they would only receive a “zero for an assignment,” but not for the course.

The professor explained that using outdated terminology is “unacceptable based on the community, the marginalized individuals that are at stake, and also the foundations of the course.”

Nipper confirmed Krolczyk’s account of the events but said she cried when she watched the student’s video and the publicity following.

Nipper said Krolczyk was asked to focus on a different topic and could extend her deadline. Moments later, Nipper was informed that a freedom of speech claim was made against her by Krolczyk, meaning she was accused of violating the university’s free speech policy.

When asked about Cincinnati Enquirer’s claim, the vice president of equity, inclusion, and community impact at the University of Cincinnati said, “We don’t comment on active investigations, but thank you for your inquiry.”

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