In a tangled, twisted food chain of wokeness, New York City’s Fordham University booted an instructor who mixed up the names of two black students.
The events that led to the firing of former lecturer Christopher Trogan began on Sept. 24, when he mixed up the names of two black students, according to the Fordham Observer, a student-run newspaper.
They complained to him that they felt treated with a lack of respect due to their race, which prompted Trogan to send an explanatory email to his class.
He called the mixup an “innocent mistake,” noting that the two students arrived late while he was reading a third student’s work.
“The offended student assumed my mistake was because I confused that student with another Black student,” Trogan said in the email. “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.”
One student, whose name was not used by the Observer, said Trogan often got the student’s name wrong.
The other student, Chantel Sims, said the name issue was not as concerning as the response from Trogan.
“It seemed a little excessive, like all you needed to do was say sorry and it would have been fine,” she said. “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 disliked Trogan’s email listing “everything he has done for minorities” and said it made her think he had a white savior complex.
Two days after the incident, Trogan was suspended.
On Oct. 5, he had a Zoom meeting with Eva Badowska, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and associate vice president, arts and sciences, and was terminated 20 days later.
“I was never informed of the charges against me, nor of the nature of the investigation of which I was the subject,” Trogan said in an Oct. 29 email to his former students. “I was kept completely in the dark.”
Trogan later said he was terminated not because of the name mixup, but because of the email to students apologizing for it.
Student Pradanya Subramanyan said she was unhappy with how the college acted.
“I was really shocked because it did not seem like that big of a deal to me,” Subramanyan said. “I did not think he did anything wrong.”
Trogan said he has since been banned from the campus.
“Their team of lawyers may now even come after me — even after my termination — with threats and charges against me personally and professionally for sending this to you, but I will deal with those when they come,” he wrote in his Oct. 29 email.
Bob Howe, assistant vice president of communications, said Fordham will not comment on individual cases.
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