Metro

Fordham prof fired for confusing two black students in class

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A Fordham University professor was fired after mixing up 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 faux pas — 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 mistake was because I confused that student with another Black student,” Trogan wrote, according to a Nov. 29 article in the Fordham Observer. “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.”

He blamed the mistake on his “confused brain” when the two students arrived to class late on Sept. 24, while he was reading a classmate’s work.

Several students said Trogan’s bizarre overreaction, rather than making a simple apology, made matters worse for him.

Trogan, above, was allegedly fired on Oct. 29.
Trogan, above, was allegedly fired on Oct. 29.

The email was “a little excessive,” one of the two black students, freshman Chantal Sims, told the Observer. “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.”

In the email, he urged any students upset by the incident to to 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.

Sims told the paper Trogan’s email stressed “everything he has done for minorities.”

He was fired Oct. 29, the paper reported.

“Trogan was a nice teacher for the 5 classes that I had him for, but he never attempted to get to know me personally (in a 14 person class),” wrote one newspaper commenter who claimed to be in the Composition II class. “I don’t think he deserved to get fired, but his response to a small issue was what blew the entire thing up.”

Fordham spokesman Bob Howe told The Post the school “takes personnel matters very seriously,” but claimed “media representations regarding this issue do not reflect the facts in Dr. Trogan’s case.” He refused to elaborate.

Students at Fordham University
Students at the university felt that Trogan’s email apology was ‘a little excessive.’
J.C. Rice

Trogan was a popular instructor, according to dozens of reviews on Rate My Professor.

“He doesn’t quite let on how much he knows and what he’s accomplished, but he is quite brilliant but humble and not stuck up,” a former student wrote.

Neither Trogan, his union, nor Sims, returned messages. The second student, who has remained anonymous, declined to comment to The Post through an intermediary.

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