Student Penalized For Using “Man” In His Essay

[Photo: courtesy of Martin Poirier]
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God forbid you say anything remotely non-PC in academia—especially at the University of Florida. Recently, a professor dished out bad marks to a student for using “man” as opposed to “humankind” in an essay. (Some lawyers would call that a “micro-aggression.” Yes, really.)

It was Bad News Bears when history-student Martin Poirier stated, “water is a thing prior to man” in his paper for a “History of Water” course.

“Thoughtful paper, although the writing-mechanics errors are killing you,” Professor Jack Davis noted on Poirier’s paper. Davis scored his student a B minus on the assignment.

To stress his underlying agitation, Davis marked “man” and cited Poirier’s Writing Mechanics Exercise (#20)—the blatant difference in “man” and “humankind.” (Because Poirier was obviously out to intentionally offend…)

When corresponding with the media via e-mail, Davis was staunch on his decision to decrease the grade because 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.” Davis added the assignment was “not to enforce political correctness,” rather it serves as “both a grammar refresher and a style-and-user guide.”

The professor also claimed he didn’t deduct points just for “man;” he went on to state students are academically reprimanded if they don’t adhere to multiple, grammatical rules. “I do not lower a student’s grade for only one inconsistence, and I single out no student as an example,” Davis stated.

Regardless, Professor Davis elected to e-mail Poirier’s paper to the class as part of a group exercise “with anonymity strictly maintained,” Davis claimed.

[Professor Davis’s e-mail to Poirier’s classmates. | Source:]
Poirier took this opportunity to stand his ground in using “man.” He opined that the group talk had socio-political undertones. Further, Poirier contacted the media via Facebook and said the “History of Water” course is “certainly biased,” but he is of the mind that “Davis is rather moderate compared to his peers and formulated the gender neutral rule in order to be ‘by the books.’”

“It is on those grammarians who, like the rest of the academy, have eagerly stoked the slide towards gender [and] social anarchy,” Poirier added.

More, the above matter is not an isolated instance for Poirier, as he’s witnessed other issues he perceives as a growing epidemic at the university. “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,” he said.

Upon the media reaching out to the University of Florida, UF spokesperson Janine Sikes replied, “We do not comment on student matters.” (Way to pass the buck, academia. In the true passive-aggressive spirit, well played.)


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