The university professor who assigned a zero to a student for using the term “biological women” justified her decision, stating that it is crucial to educate and correct students who employ “outdated terminology.”
A video recently circulated online featuring a sophomore student from the University of Cincinnati, who allegedly received a zero grade on her project proposal for a Women’s Gender Studies in Pop Culture course.
However, 20-year-old Olivia Krolczyk claimed that she received a failing grade for her “solid proposal” due to her use of the term that the teacher deemed “exclusionary.”
University of Cincinnati student who allegedly received a zero on a college project proposal for using the term "biological women" has had her proposal re-graded by another professor and received an A in the class. https://t.co/UecEwIqton
— The Conservative M. D. 🗨️ (@WarriorsForAll) June 9, 2023
Olivia’s professor commented on her paper, “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 faculty member who left the comment is identified as Melanie Rose Nipper, a professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at the University of Cincinnati.
In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Nipper expressed her view that while classrooms should encourage debates and discussions, she believes that the right to free speech should not override concerns about potential “systemic harm.”
According to Nipper, the discussion should come to an end when one’s participation, whether intentional or unintentional, contributes to a form of systemic harm. Examples she cited reportedly included transphobia and white supremacy.
The instructor emphasized her responsibility to address students’ use of “outdated terminology,” stating that the consequence would be a zero for the assignment rather than a zero for the entire course.
Nipper explained that the use of outdated terminology is deemed “unacceptable based on the community, the marginalized individuals that are at stake, and also the foundations of the course.”
Nipper acknowledged that Krolczyk’s account of the events was accurate. However, she expressed her emotional response to the student’s video and the subsequent attention it received, saying that it brought her to tears.
Nipper said, “It’s a lot, right? It’s a lot to handle.”
Nipper explained Krolczyk had requested to change her topic, and in response, she offered an extension for the assignment deadline.
However, Nipper later learned that a freedom of speech claim had been filed against her by Krolczyk, accusing her of violating the university’s free speech policy.