A Fordham University professor was fired after mixing the names of two black students in class, according to a report.
Hours after what he called an “innocent mistake,” lecturer Christopher Trogan, 46, sent a rambling nine-page email to students in his Composition II classes explaining the misstep – and defending, without being asked, his “entire life” of working on “issues of justice, equality and inclusion,” the campus newspaper reported.
“The offended student assumed my error was because I mistook this student for another black student,” Trogan wrote, according to a Nov. 29 article in the Fordham Observer. âI did my best to validate and reassure the offended student that I made a simple human error. It has nothing to do with race.
He blamed the error on his “confused brain” when the two students arrived for class late on September 24, while he was reading a classmate’s work.
Several students said Trogan’s overreaction, rather than just an apology, made matters worse for him.
The email was “a little over the top,” one of the two black college students, rookie Chantal Sims, told The Observer. âWe weren’t really upset that he mixed up our names. It was more the random things he would throw into the answer.
In the email, he urged all students upset by the incident to complain to the school. âDepending on your response to the above officials, I may or may not be your classroom teacher next week. It’s all up to you, âhe wrote.
Sims told the newspaper that Trogan’s email highlighted “everything he has done for minorities.”
He was fired on October 29, the newspaper reported.
“Trogan was a good teacher for the 5 classes I had had him for, but he never tried to get to know me personally (in a 14 person class),” wrote a newspaper commentator who claimed to be in the Composition II course. “I don’t think he deserved to be fired, but his response to a little problem was what blew it up.”
Fordham spokesman Bob Howe told the Post that the school “takes personnel matters very seriously,” but asserted that “media representations regarding this matter do not reflect the facts in the case of the Dr Trogan â. He refused to elaborate.
Trogan was a popular instructor, according to dozens of reviews on Rate My Professor.
âHe doesn’t quite say what he knows and what he’s accomplished, but he’s pretty bright but humble and not stuck,â wrote one alumnus.
Neither Trogan, his union, nor Sims returned any messages. The second student, who has remained anonymous, declined to comment on The Post through an intermediary.