A Fordham University professor has been fired after mixing up the names of two black students in the class, according to a report.
Hours after what he called an “innocent mistake,” lecturer Christopher Trojan, 46, sent a rambling nine-page email to students in his Genesis 2 classes explaining the error—and defending, without being asked, his “entire life” from working on the “Justice, equality and inclusion issues,” the Campus newspaper reported.
“The student I offended assumed that my fault was because I had confused that student with another black student,” Trojan wrote, according to a November 29 article in the Fordham Observer. “I did my best to validate the student who offended him and reassure him that I had made a simple human mistake. It has nothing to do with racing.”
He blamed the error on his “blurred mind” when the Taliban arrived in class late on September 24, while he was reading a classmate’s work.
Several students said that Trojan’s strange reaction, rather than offering a simple apology, only made matters worse for him.
Chantal Sims, one of the black students, told the Observer that the email was “a bit excessive”. “We weren’t actually upset about him mixing our names with him. It was more than just random things he was throwing in response.”
In the email, he urged any student upset about the incident to file a complaint with 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 newspaper that the email emphasized “everything he did for minorities.”
The newspaper reported that he was dismissed on October 29.
“Trogan was a nice teacher for the five classes I had, but he didn’t try to get to know me personally (in a class of 14)” wrote a newspaper commentator who claimed to have been in a Composition II class. “I don’t think he deserved to be fired, but his response to a small case was the reason the whole thing blew up.”
Fordham spokesman Bob Howe told The Post that the school “takes personnel matters very seriously,” but claimed that “media representations on this matter do not reflect the facts in Dr Trojan’s case.” He refused to go into details.
Trojan was a popular trainer, according to dozens of reviews on Rate My Professor.
A former student wrote, “He doesn’t quite let go of how much he knows and what he’s accomplished, but he’s very cool but humble and unfaltering.”
Neither Trojan nor his guild nor Sims responded with messages. The second student, who remains anonymous, declined to comment on The Post through a moderator.