International intrigue: SNHU professor-student spat over Australia goes viral

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SNHU student’s story goes viral via Buzzfeed.

MANCHESTER, NH — Social media rules the world.

That may not be the conclusion SNHU student Ashley Arnold came to a recent research project on social media habits peculiar to the U.S. But thanks to a viral boost from Buzzfeed, the world now knows about Arnold’s recent go-round with a professor over the status of Australia (it’s indeed a country) and her final grade, a B+ (originally, it was an F).

According to the Buzzfeed story, posted Feb. 9, Arnold got an F from an adjunct SNHU professor for a project in which she chose Australia as a country to compare with the United States when it comes to use of social media. The professor, who insisted Australia was a continent, not a country, was ultimately fired by SNHU once the story came to light.

But not before a fruitless email back-and-forth between Arnold and her professor.  The professor held her ground. So Arnold put out a social media SOS on Feb. 2, via Twitter:

“I’m failing a 300 level college course because my professor thinks Australia isn’t a country. Please help @SNHU @snhuprez @DeanofSNHUdents #Australiaisacountry #getyourfactsstraight”

On Friday, SNHU announced via Twitter that they had fired the geographically-challenged professor:

Arnold said she shared the story with Buzzfeed knowing that there are SNHU students all around the country — and the world  — who may have had issues with this professor.

Yes, probably even in the little-known country of Australia, which everyone now clearly understands is a country and a continent.

We don’t know about the content of Arnold’s research paper, but we hope she captured the unique power of social media in the U.S. to change hearts, minds and grades — and see that academic justice is served.

You can read the Buzzfeed story here, which lays out the story piece by piece. You can also read lots of other iterations of the story all over social media.

In the final analysis, there were lessons to be learned all around, which is the big picture objective of higher education, isn’t it? From Arnold’s Facebook:


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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!