The University of Cincinnati has repealed their decision to reprimand an adjunct professor who failed a student on an assignment for referring to “biological women.”
The student, Olivia Krolczyk, detailed the incident in a May TikTok which subsequently went viral.
The university decided to formally reprimand the adjunct professor, according to a June 14 document originally obtained by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Nipper would have been required to complete a free speech training and would also be required to submit syllabi for the upcoming school year.
Nipper contested the university’s decision to reprimand her, claiming her classroom practices were “reasonably related to a legitimate pedagogical purpose, such as classroom rules enacted by teachers,” per the university’s policy on free speech.
According to a June 29 email from the College of Arts and Sciences interim dean Margaret Hanson, the university agreed the reprimand was “issued in error,” per the Enquirer.
UC repeals reprimand for gender studies professor who gave student a zero https://t.co/rG76OQRjOB
— Enquirer (@Enquirer) July 6, 2023
Nipper will still be required to submit her syllabi for approval along with completing a free speech training through the university prior to the fall semester this year.
Krolczyk detailed the University of Cincinnati’s decision to repeal their reprimand of professor Nipper in a Wednesday TikTok video.
Krolczyk responded to the University of Cincinnati’s decision to repeal their formal reprimand of professor Nipper in an email to the university obtained by Timcast News.
“Professor Nipper stated that projects were to be accepted by her; however, she was still in violation of school policy, using her personal/political beliefs to determine which projects were acceptable,” Krolczyk wrote. “Professor Nipper proceeded to say that none of the readings/films/artifacts from the course would have supported my project topic.”
Krolczyk said she had incorporated three sources from Nipper’s instruction.
“Professor Nipper did not have the right to decide when a term was ‘outdated,’ nor should she have failed a student for the use of a singular ‘outdated’ term, as that was extreme,” she said. “It is my professor’s personal belief that I participated in systemic harm by using the term ‘biological women.’”
It is contradictory for Professor Nipper to state that she believes in free speech, but that she also has the power to end free speech when she disagrees with what is being said. Professor Nipper commented that her “restriction on harmful language [was] justified in this case,” which once again highlights her personal beliefs that the word “biological” was harmful. Objectively, a descriptive word such as “biological” in front of “woman” is not harmful, in the same way that “transgender” in front of “woman” is not harmful. Regardless of students in the class identifying as non-conforming and trans, my project should not have been shared with others.
Krolczyk said the only way her assignment would cause “harm” for her fellow students would be if her assignment was shared with fellow students by professor Nipper.
“My primary concern is that Professor Nipper, regardless of free speech training, will continue to use her personal biases to grade her students, as she has done to me,” Krolczyk continued. “This is very likely, considering Professor Nipper admitted to the Cincinnati Enquirer that similar incidents have occurred in her classroom before.”
“I urge the University of Cincinnati to consider this information,” she concluded. “Please realize that there truly is no excuse for her to assign a failing grade on a project that she admitted was ‘solid,’ simply because her personal belief was that the term ‘biological’ to describe women was harmful.”
Krolczyk received a passing grade for her assignment after it was re-graded by the dean of Arts & Sciences.