Fordham University fires lecturer for mixing up two Black students’ names in his class.
Christopher Trogan, a lecturer at Fordham University’s English department was fired for his response to an event on Sept. 24 in which he mixed up the names of two Black students who were late to his class.
After the encounter, the students felt degraded and assumed the error was made because the two were Black.Trogan contacted his Composition II students shortly after the incident happened, apologizing for his actions and addressing the mixup.
“The angry student felt my error was due to a mix-up with another Black student,” Trogan said in the email. “I’ve done my best to reassure and affirm the aggrieved student that my mistake was a simple, human error. It has nothing to do with racial differences,” Trogan added.
One of the two students who were involved in the mixup claims that Trogan repeatedly used the wrong name throughout the four classes. He expressed his dissatisfaction by saying “I felt terribly insulted.” “I didn’t feel heard since I told him every time he misnamed me and he simply appeared to brush it off or seem as if he didn’t care.”
Trogan also wrote an email to students outlining “all he has done for minorities” and stating that the English class is “focused expressly and clearly around topics of justice, equality, and inclusion.”
Trogan went on to say that his “entire life” has been focused on problems of justice, equality, and inclusion and he went on to detail what he has done in the field of racial justice throughout his career, according to Observer.
On Sept. 26, Eva Badowska, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and assistant vice president for arts and sciences, informed Trogan that he had been suspended from his job with pay and benefits, citing he was being investigated by the university.
On Oct. 29, Badowska informed Trogan that he had been fired. Trogan, on the other hand stated in a follow-up email to students that he wasn’t told why he was being investigated until after he was fired.
Trogan wrote on Oct. 29: “I was never notified of the allegations against me, nor of the nature of the inquiry into which I was the subject,” he said. “I was kept entirely in the dark,” he added. According to him, Badowska listed the email he sent to students on Sept. 24 as the reason for his dismissal in his termination letter.
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“It seemed a little excessive, like all he needed to do was say sorry and it would have been fine,” Chantel Sims, the other student involved in the mixup said.
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