NYU fires professor after students create petition calling his class too difficult

A chemistry professor at New York University was relieved of his duties after over 80 students signed a petition claiming that his class was too hard.

The 82 students who signed the petition pointed the finger at their professor, Maitland Jones Jr., for their low grades.

The students also noted in their petition that “a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students’ learning and well-being a priority.”

The students went on to say that Jones’ class “reflects poorly on the chemistry department as well as the institution as a whole” and said Jones would address them in a “condescending and demanding” tone. 

NYU responded to the petition by saying that Jones was responsible for the low grades and they also cited multiple student complaints about his dismissiveness, unresponsiveness, condescension and lack of transparency about grading.

“In short he was hired to teach, and wasn’t successful,” a spokesperson said, adding that there were “troubling indicators” regarding his teaching, including a high rate of withdrawals.

NYU said that Jones’ course evaluation was “by far the worst, not only among members of the chemistry department but among all the university’s undergraduate science courses.”

According to The New York Times, the students were somewhat surprised that Jones was fired, they noted that the petition was not calling for his dismissal.

One of Jones’ teaching assistants, Zacharia Benslimane, defended his former boss: “I think this petition was written more out of unhappiness with exam scores than an actual feeling of being treated unfairly.”

Jones himself released a statement laying the blame at the door of the students.

Jones, who is the author of the book “Organic Chemistry, said that “Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” as per the New York Times. “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff,” the 84-year-old professor said of the college kids’ pandemic performance. “We now see single digit scores and even zeros.”

“They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,” Jones added, saying the kids simply were not studying hard enough. “They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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