By: Hellen Zaboulani
A professor at Fordham University was fired after mixing up the names of two black students. As reported by the NY Post, Christopher Trogan, 46, blamed his “confused brain” for the mistake he made on Sept 24 when the two students came in late.
To add salt onto a wound, hours after the mix up, the professor proceeded to send out a nine-page email to all the students in his Composition II classes rambling and elaborating on the faux pas. In his letter, he called it an “innocent mistake”. He went on, however, to defend himself, without being asked—speaking of his “entire life” of working on “issues of justice, equality, and inclusion,” as per the Fordham Observer.
“The offended student assumed my mistake was because I confused that student with another Black student,” Trogan wrote, as per a Nov. 29 article in the campus newspaper. “I have done my best to validate and reassure the offended student that I made a simple, human, error. It has nothing to do with race.” In the email, he stressed the things he has done for minorities. The white English professor added that students offended by the incident should complain to the school. “Depending on your response to the officials above, I may — or may not — be your professor in class next week. It’s all up to you,” he wrote.
Trogan was fired on Oct. 29, the Fordham Observer reported. Some students commented that it wasn’t so much the initial mistake as the peculiar overreaction, which made things worse. The email was “a little excessive,” said one of the two black students, freshman Chantal Sims. “We were not actually that upset about him mixing up our names. It was more so the random things he would throw into the response.”
Fordham spokesman Bob Howe told The Post the school “takes personnel matters very seriously,” but added that “media representations regarding this issue do not reflect the facts in Dr. Trogan’s case.” He declined to elaborate saying national rules prohibit the university from discussing personnel matters.
Trogan was a fairly popular instructor, as per reviews on Rate My Professor, where he is rated 4.3 out of 5, based on 31 ratings.
Trogan, his union, Sims, and the second student, who has remained anonymous, all declined to comment to The Post.