A Fordham University white professor was fired after he mixed up the names of two black students in his class and then sent them a long "rambling" mail trying to explain his mistake, according to a report. Christopher Trogan, 46, was fired from the university on October 25, The Fordham Observerrecently reported.
The former English professor reportedly mixed up the names of the two black students when they walked into the class late on September 24. The news came to light after he came up with an article on November 29 explaining his innocence and how he was a victim of circumstances.
Innocent or Rude
Trogan was shown the doors by the Fordham University after he mixed up the names of the two black students, which the two students took offence of. After walking into the class, Trogan addressed one of the students by calling him another name.
After class, Chantel Sims and another unnamed student, who felt offended after by Trogan's faux, pas emailed him to express their frustration with the professor's mistake, explaining that they believed the mix-up was due to their skin color, according to the university paper.
However, Trogan replied with a long email where he tried to explain that it was not intentional and blamed it on his "confused brain" when the two students arrived to class late on September 24, while he was reading a classmate's work.
"The offended student assumed my mistake was because I confused that student with another Black student," Trogan wrote, according to a November 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." However, the explanation didn't help much.
Overreaction Costs Job
Trogan didn't stop there. After getting fired, he again sent an email. This time it was a nine-page long, which was sent to his 80 former students explaining his view of what happened. The university has since told him to refrain from communicating with the students.
Several students said Trogan's bizarre overreaction that cost him his job. They believe he could have made a simple apology which would have solved the matter but instead things went worse for him.
In the email, Trogan urged any student who was upset by the incident 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.
The email was "a little excessive," one of the two black students, 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."
Sims also told the university paper that Trogan in his first email stressed "everything he has done for minorities" and tried to come out with a clean image. "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.
Bob Howe, assistant vice president of communications, declined to answer students' questions on the case. He told the New York Post that Fordham "takes personnel matters very seriously," but claimed "media representations regarding this issue do not reflect the facts in Dr. Trogan's case."