UC student says professor unfairly gave her a failing grade for using ‘exclusionary’ term

The student has gone viral for a video she made describing the ordeal.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:06 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A University of Cincinnati student has gone viral on Tiktok after sharing an alleged failing grade on an assignment.

In the video, Olivia Krolczyk says a professor gave her a zero on the assignment because of a term she used.

“I got a zero on my project proposal in class because I used the term ‘biological women,’ which is apparently not allowed anymore,” Krolczyk said.

Krolczyk, 20, submitted the project about feminism in her women’s studies class.

“I chose to do the rights and opportunities for women in sports throughout history,” she said, “and part of my project touched on the part that these rights are being affected by allowing men to compete in biological women sports.”

Her video now has millions of views.

“She even said it was a good project proposal, but I got a zero because I used a term that’s exclusionary and not allowed anymore,” she said.

Krolczyk is still in shock.

“She just failed me on an assignment because one word, which is pretty crazy to do as a professor, and she just explained it as contributing to heteronormativity and being exclusionary, and nowhere in the syllabus or rubric or directions of the project said I couldn’t use that term,” she said.

UC Public Relations Specialist Katie Pence tells FOX19 the matter is “continuing to be reviewed by the university through established policies and processes.”

Krolczyk says she spoke with the professor afterward.

“The only information I got back from her was that I had to change my topic—which is obviously not very fair since I did the project correctly,” she said.

Following their email exchange, Krolczyk says she spoke with the Office of Gender Equity and Inclusion at UC. She says the university assigned another professor to grade her original project, who gave her a perfect score.

Krolczyk shared a statement she says she sent to the Office of Gender Equity and Inclusion as well as the Provost Faculty Affairs Office. It reads in part: “The campus free speech policy section 5 states it is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from free speech including ideas and opinions they find offensive. The professor’s advisement to redo the assignment violates my right to the First Amendment speech per section 1.”

Krolczyk says she’s been told her information has been put into a file and sent to a dean.

“But that was a few days ago, and I haven’t heard anything since,” she said.

Krolczyk isn’t comfortable sharing the professor’s name. She says she never expected her video to gain the attention it did.

“I want to make sure professors are unbiased in their grading, because schools are not places to, you know, indoctrinate your students. It’s a place of education.”

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