Student Fails Course After Using ‘Biological Woman’; Professor Requires Free Speech Training

In a victory for those who advocate for freedom of speech and the expression of opinions in higher education, the University of Cincinnati has admonished a professor for giving a failing grade to a student who used the phrase “biological women.”

Melanie Nipper, an adjunct instructor, failed Olivia Krolczyk after she included the term “biological women” in a project proposal.

Krolczyk was dissatisfied with her grade and shared her complaint on TikTok, which drew attention from university officials and triggered a wider conversation about free speech in academic environments.

In her video, the sophomore student explained that she received a failing grade because her professor considered the term “biological woman” to be “trans-exclusionary.”

After conducting a review of the incident, university administrators reprimanded Nipper. The Cincinnati Enquirer published a portion of the reprimand issued in June.

“To prevent any further violation of [the free speech] policy, you must complete training on the requirements of the Campus Free Speech Policy. Through the end of the Academic Year 2024/2025, you must submit all syllabi to … me at least two weeks prior to the beginning of classes for review and approval.”

“Any other violations of UC policy may be subject to … termination. You are reminded that … your employment may be terminated with or without cause.”

The reprimand was issued by Ashley Currier, who serves as the department chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Krolczyk’s project, focusing on transgender athletes, held significant importance within her “Gender in Popular Culture” course. Receiving a grade of “Zero” on the project put her at risk of failing the entire class.

Nipper, in her defense before the school board, justified her actions by stating that limiting harmful speech was essential for maintaining a safe learning environment.

Nipper added: “Additionally, as the class has students that identify as gender non-conforming and/or trans, I felt it was necessary to educate her regarding inclusive language to ensure a safe learning environment for other students.”

According to The New York Post, school administrators expressed disagreement with Nipper’s perspective, stating that it contradicts the cherished principles of free speech upheld by both the university and society. Consequently, they mandated that she undergo free speech training.

In response to the disciplinary measures, Nipper has filed an appeal.

This incident brings attention to the ongoing nationwide discussion surrounding freedom of speech in academic settings. It emphasizes the need to strike a balance between fostering open and respectful dialogue while also maintaining a positive learning environment.