A student at the University of Florida said he was marked down on an essay because he used the word “man,” instead of “humankind,” on his class paper.
Martin Poirier, a History major, wrote, “Water is a thing prior to man,” in an essay for a class titled, “History of Water.”
His professor circled the word “man,” accompanied by the following brief note:
“Thoughtful paper, although the writing-mechanics errors are killing you,” Professor Jack Davis wrote at the bottom of the paper.
Poirier received a B-minus for his assignment, as seen on the published copy posted by The Daily Nerv.
Professor Davis said the student was marked down because Writing Mechanics Exercise #20 indicates there is a difference between “mankind” and “humankind.”
He went on to defend the grade he gave Poirier in an email to The College Fix. He wrote that the “exercise and inclusion of ‘humankind’ are consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style, the style and the usage guide followed in the discipline of history.”
He added the exercise is “not to enforce political correctness” but is “both a grammar refresher and a style and user guide.”
Davis went on to say that this correction alone was not the only reason Poirier was given a B-minus. He explained to The College Fix that students get marked down when they don’t follow two or more standards.
“I do not lower a student’s grade for only one [inconsistency], and I single out no student as an example,” Davis said.
According to Poirier, he defended his use of the word “man” during a class discussion and accused the professor of marking him down because he was not politically correct.
Poirier said the class is “certainly biased,” but added, “Davis is rather moderate compared to his peers and formulated the gender-neutral rule in order to be ‘by the books.’”
The student’s Facebook message to The College Fix went on to say, “It is on those grammarians who, like the rest of the academy, have eagerly stoked the slide towards gender [and] social anarchy. Political correctness on college campuses goes far deeper than this one excess by this one teacher. By and large, the radical liberationist ideas go unchallenged because no truly oppositional content is presented.”
When the College Fix tried to get a statement from the school, campus spokesperson Janine Sikes responded via email, “We do not comment on student matters.”
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