Student claims she failed a University of Cincinnati assignment for using the term “biological woman”

June 6, 2023 • 9:10 am

Here’s a short and not-so-sweet article from the New York Post, and the headline speaks for itself. (The student’s name is Olivia Krolczyk.) Note that the article use the word “alleges” because it’s reporting a student’s assertion, though that assertion is backed up with a purported screenshot of the professor’s comments.

The professor apparently gave Krolczyk a grade of zero out of 100, which is half of the total course grade. Note, though, that the University says it’s going to have her failed essay re-graded by someone else, so Olivia will probably come out all right. (The professor, referred to as “she” in the video below, also offered to re-grade Krolczyk’s exam if she ditched “biological woman,” but I somehow think that Olivia, who seems to have guts, wouldn’t do that!)

What this shows is that you can be penalized for using a completely non-offensive term: “biological woman”. In fact, Krolczyk could have just said “woman”, which really means “biological woman,” and used “trans women” for biological males who identify as women. But there is absolutely nothing I can see to justify the professor—in Women’s Gender Studies, of course—failing this essay.  And because the University of Cincinnati isa public college, this kind of extreme penalty may be a violation of Crolczyk’s freedom of expression, or constitute viewpoint discrimination.

Click the headline to read the piece:

From the article:

A sophomore at the University of Cincinnati claims that her professor gave her a zero on a college project for using the term “biological women.”

Olivia Krolczyk, 20, said the professor for her Women’s Gender Studies in Pop Culture class failed her for using the “exclusionary” term despite admitting that she submitted a “solid proposal,” the student told The Post.

The course instructed students to pick a topic related to feminism, with Krolczyk choosing to research the changes female athletes have experienced throughout history and the rights and opportunities they have been awarded and fought for in athletics.

Her project discussed things from the first woman to compete in the Olympic Games to the fight that female athletes like Riley Gaines are making for proposed changes to Title IX.

The chemistry major said her project ended by sharing how “these rights and opportunities are being threatened by allowing men to compete in women’s sports.”

Now that last sentence is definitely an ideologically incorrect claim!

Krolczyk didn’t name the professor for fear of retribution.  Here’s a photo of the professor’s comments; it appears again in the Tik Tok video below, apparently with the zero grade (or perhaps the professor’s name) blacked out:

Seriously, the term “biological woman” is exclusionary? Exclusionary of what?  Yes, if you just say “woman”, most people save gender activists would assume that the term doesn’t include trans women, but the words “biological woman” are accurate and unambiguous. The professor doesn’t like it because it’s also “heteronormative”!  I sure wouldn’t want to take a class from that prof, who is ramming her sex and gender ideology down the students’ throats—to the point of penalizing them if they don’t use ideologically correct language.

More from the piece:

The undergrad — who competed in cross-country and track throughout high school and the beginning of her college career before transferring to the University of Cincinnati — said she followed the professor’s instructions to a tee [sic], including using three sources from the class and formatting the paper to the teacher’s requirements.

“The directions for the assignment in which I received a zero on specifically state, ‘This exercise is developmental. Thoughtful proposals submitted on time will receive full credit.’ I turned in my assignment on time and I can guarantee 100% that my proposal was extremely thoughtful,” she insisted.

Krolczyk also said she had contacted the university’s Gender Equality office, which told her it would have a different professor review and grade her work — but she has yet to see her grade change nearly two weeks later.

She gets in one general comment about the incursion of ideology into college courses:

Krolczyk said she decided to speak out because she feels “the issue is not being taken seriously” by the university.

“Standing up for free speech in education is more important. If we as a student body take action instead of conforming to the professor’s ideology, we can hopefully start changing our universities back to a place where stating simple biology isn’t punished and conflicting opinions are encouraged,” she told The Post.

. . .Krolczkyk said political ideologies being injected into universities is turning young Americans off wanting to go.

“There are more and more people avoiding college, or finding the cheapest possible options simply because universities are losing their respect as educators and are building the reputation as indoctrinators of ‘wokeness,’” she said.

It would be great if she were supported by faculty and fellow students at her university, but that doesn’t seem likely!

Here’s Olivia’s Tik Tok video complaining about her treatment:


Emailed her and was told using the term is transphobic 😐 be for real

♬ original sound – oliveourviews

Remember, everything reported in this article is based on the student’s assertions, so it may be subject to revision if more news comes out.

h/t: Bill

14 thoughts on “Student claims she failed a University of Cincinnati assignment for using the term “biological woman”

  1. What worries me is that the examples we see must surely be the tip of the iceberg. How often does this sort of thing happen to students who lack the courage of this young lady? There must be thousands of instances, and all but the tiniest minority will end with the student kowtowing to the teacher’s view or the pressure from their woke and censorious peers.

    This ‘teacher’ should be nowhere near a university, especially a public one!

    1. I’ll bet that an even more common occurrence is one where students don’t ever know they’ve been punished by their professor for views they expressed in class or language they used. I had to keep my mouth shut quite often during college and post-grad for fear that my professor in a given class would punish me with a lower grade for disagreeing with his/her politics on a given issue.

      And I would never have this fear from a right-wing professor, if I ever had one (I didn’t).

  2. Does the instructor even know what heteronormativity means? Here’s a dictionary definition: “of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality”. It only has to do with sexual orientation, and has nothing to do with transgenderism.

    Consider the following sentence:
    Lesbians, biological women who are attracted to other biological women, are a-okay.

    There, I used the term “biological women” without being heteronormative.

    1. Nicely put. I also want to congratulate you on recognizing that “biological women” is a term, not terms, unlike the confessor…excuse me, PROfessor in question. ^_^

  3. Leaving aside the obvious appropriateness of the term, “biological woman” for a paper about athletics, where does the trans community come off getting to censor a term used by people who aren’t them? I can see why trans people might get upset about being called terms that they regard as offensive to themselves—no one likes being insulted—but if people who aren’t trans want to call themselves women, (or for needed clarity, biological women), what business is that of trans people or of the language police? Women don’t want to be called cis-women. The trans activists have no right to insist that they submit to being called that.

  4. Language matters. As the student points out, if you can’t express concepts using clear vocabulary then you can’t make your case.

    Sometimes literally. A few years back some high school girl athletes in Connecticut tried to sue their school district for allowing trans-identified males on the girls’ track team, claiming this violated Title IX. Their complaint referred to the transgender runners as “boys” and male.” The judge, however, refused to allow those words in court because he thought it “needlessly provocative” and incompatible with the need to maintain “respectful, humane, intelligent, civil discourse.” The other side, of course, was calling them “trans girls.”

    I really don’t like the Alliance Defending Freedom which represented the plaintiffs, but their complaints that they couldn’t properly explain the issue under those circumstances and that the judge seemed to be starting out with his conclusion didn’t seem particularly unreasonable.

  5. I am somewhat guessing on this, but I think in the world where there is now a semantic mine field and heavy consequences for wrongthink, the term “woman” is to mean gender and so it is be couched to encompass anyone who identifies in that way. Not just biological females. In this you-better-watch-your-language kind of thinking, if one writes “biological woman”, you are basically saying that biological females are the real women. They are the “heteronormative” ones. That is a micro-aggression, and of course such errors will result in a micro-deduction of the grade (kidding!).
    Did I navigate that right? I’m a little scared.

    1. Mark: In order to justify flunking a student for using the term, it’s surely more than micro- or even meso- aggression. It’s a full scale mega-aggression..

  6. This controversy reminds me of the grief Christy Hammer (University of Southern Maine). She dared to say “there are two sexes”. 21 of 22 students walked out.

    From the Bangor Daily News: “I asked [Hammer] how many sexes there were,” student Elizabeth Leibiger, who intends to become an English teacher, reports. “She said, ‘Two.’ I felt under personal attack.”

  7. Most gender theorists think that “woman” is a purely sociological or psychological term, such that womanhood results solely from social construction or mental self-identification; and so they flatly deny that there are biological women. (They don’t deny that there are such biological things as eggs, ovaries, vaginas, and vulvas, but they do deny that any of these are constitutive of womanhood.)

  8. Well I don’t think the paper was failed for the term “biological woman” or, at least not just because of that. I think the final sentence

    Please reassess your topic and edit it to focus on women’s rights (not just “females”) and I’II re-grade.

    is telling. I think the student framed the discussion in what the professor thinks is an ideologically unsound way. She wrote a paper about the rights of human females in sport rather than about the rights of people who identify as women in sports. That’s blasphemy.

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