Professor claims NYU fired him after he gave James Franco a 'D'

<p>"James Franco’s tired James Dean act got an NYU professor booted from the school last year — after the teacher dared to give the overhyped Hollywood hunk a 'D' for blowing off class, a lawsuit charges.</p>

<p>José Angel Santana said he slapped the '127 Hours’' star with the bad grade because he missed 12 of his 14 'Directing the Actor II' classes while pursuing a master’s in fine arts.</p>

<p>Santana said he then suffered all kinds of drama — first from Franco, who publicly ridiculed him, then from his department, which axed him over the 'D.'</p>

<p>'The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,' Santana, 58, told The Post. 'The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.' ..."</p>

<p>Moral: Don't cut class or you may get your prof fired.</p>

<p>NYU</a> professor claims school fired him for giving James Franco a “D” - NYPOST.com</p>

<p>Disgusting.</p>

<p>It will be interesting to see what happens with this, if it's ever made public. I don't understand the comments I've read on a few sites in response to this story about NYU craving famous students because it means big money to them. How does that work exactly? Where does this supposed big money come from as a result of famous students? </p>

<p>By the way, Franco was in the Graduate Film program, not the Drama dept.</p>

<p>Higher profile students equals more donations and higher tuition as people want to attend programs where the stars are at. This is similar to the high profile athlete in college. Keep him in school and the school gets more money via donations and ticket sales. </p>

<p>Not saying I support NYU's decision to fire the teacher. But the financial pressure to play "nice" was definitely there.</p>

<p>ActingDad, NYU is consistently at or near the top in the application numbers game every year, both generally, and for Tisch. The school doesn't need famous students to attract high numbers of applicants. The tuition is already among the highest in the country. Alumni donations to Tisch, by famous alumni or not so famous, are notoriously low. If by ticket sales, you're talking about tickets for productions, they're always sold out anyway and James Franco being in the Graduate Film Dept. would have no effect on Drama productions.</p>

<p>I'm not saying that these issues may be factors at some other colleges, but at NYU? Doubtful.</p>

<p>The article made it sound like certain NYU faculty members had been hired onto Franco's projects. That would be of value to the individuals, if nothing else.</p>

<p>For a real laugher, check out Franco’s Wikipedia</a> bio under “Education.” According to that, he got permission to take 62 course credits per semester at UCLA in “earning” his English degree with a concentration in Creative Writing during which the Tisch professor is apparently alleging that he blew off over 80% of his classes. Then he simultaneously enrolled in the MFA Writing program at Columbia and the Fiction Writing program at Brooklyn College on top of the Tisch Film MFA and is now enrolled as a Ph.D. English candidate at Yale. He also plans to attend the Rhode Island School of Design and has been accepted to the Doctoral program in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. </p>

<p>This all started in 2006 during which time he also acting in or directed at least 40</a> films according to imdb give or take a few due to the time lapse between shooting and release. Academic integrity indeed ... :rolleyes:</p>

<p>Regardless of this claim's validity, it does bring up the interesting question of work vs. education. If a student, say that they are in their third year of college, and they get suddenly hired to do a tour, should they do it? Of if there is a good local theatre scene, can they act off campus and study theatre at the same time? Everyone will have their own opinion on this I'm sure! </p>

<p>Me personally, I'd hate to have to leave college for any reason, but a paying job in theatre? It would help me afford college, add legitimate credits to my resume and who knows where else it might lead to? Besides, college isn't high school-you don't have to sit in that desk until you graduate, you can always go back to it. </p>

<p>This just happened to a classmate of mine; she got working on a project and decided to take next semester off to concentrate on it because you never know if it might go big.</p>

<p>There's nothing wrong with taking a semester off to pursue an interesting employment opportunity, in acting or just about any other field. The student will almost always be the better for such experience if he/she then returns to complete the degree. (Or, if the opportunity turns out to be both amazing and long-lasting. E.g., Bill Gates.) Of course, that presumes that the time off is organized properly with the school and that the student doesn't just disappear from classes.</p>

<p>fishbowlfreshman, that's hilarious and calls to question (as you point out) the integrity of these institutions. I've never heard of anyone, famous or not, being enrolled simultaneously in two grad programs at two different institutions, let alone six (or whatever it is, I got dizzy reading your post and lost count.) </p>

<p>Edit: Oh, rechecked Wikipedia. You forgot to mention his commutes to the low-res program at Warren Wilson. At least the guy has taste in picking all the good programs. I wonder if there is a 12-step program for MFA addiction.</p>

<p>^ LMAO Yeah … David Mamet must be writing furiously if he's caught wind of this! It’ll make for an interesting play … or at least an episode on one of the lawyer dramadies. Meh … Where I’m from the only excuse for missing class was being dead and I don’t have any sympathy for it at all being someone with a history of having literally passed out in class with a 104 degree temperature … </p>

<p>As to the other points, some of the decision as to take the gig or not depends on the policies of the school and the department. Some of the top acting schools won’t allow you to return although some of the teachers may or may not encourage you to take the job. Rightfully so, too, since the training at most is ensemble based. </p>

<p>I could have left before final year, myself, since I scored a film role that shot during the summer for a nice chunk of change which led to a referral to a top agent who would have signed me right then and there. Fortunately, he allowed me to “stay in touch” and signed me a few weeks before showcase, but none of that would have happened had the film shot at a time that would have made me miss school. No way was I leaving after all that work towards a degree. I was also looking at it long term since mine actually qualifies me to teach at the conservatory level or as an adjunct at a regular university and there’s no telling what might happen after that first gig. MANY go for years before the next opportunity arises and for some it never does ...</p>

<p>"ActingDad, NYU is consistently at or near the top in the application numbers game every year, both generally, and for Tisch. The school doesn't need famous students to attract high numbers of applicants. The tuition is already among the highest in the country. Alumni donations to Tisch, by famous alumni or not so famous, are notoriously low. If by ticket sales, you're talking about tickets for productions, they're always sold out anyway and James Franco being in the Graduate Film Dept. would have no effect on Drama productions.</p>

<p>I'm not saying that these issues may be factors at some other colleges, but at NYU? Doubtful. "</p>

<p>I went to NYU 19 years ago and believe me one of the main reasons that NYU is now such a selective and prestigious schools is the large number of famous actors and celebrities that have attended this university. Not to mention all the free advertising NYU got on the Cosby show for years. </p>

<p>Of course NYU is trying to attract and retain top celebrities. </p>

<p>You may not be old enough to remember it, but NYU's stellar reputation is a fairly new occurance. </p>

<p>For years, NYU was "the other NYC school" ..not anywhere near Columbia's reputation. Now, things are much different and celebrity endorsement and Tisch school of the arts are 2 main reasons.</p>

<p>Celebritiy cache + NYC location = more students apply to NYU = NYU can be more selective in admissions = higher US News and World rankings = more selective students apply = higher rankings = more selective students apply ...repeat</p>

<p>I was very disappointed with the book Franco wrote, which I think was a compilation of some of his college (or perhaps high school) English papers. That's the impression I had, anyway. If the claim is true, it's unfortunate on NYU's part.</p>

<p>
[quote]
You may not be old enough to remember it, but NYU's stellar reputation is a fairly new occurance.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>MomofMouse, if you were at NYU 19 years ago, you're much younger than I am so I think I'm old enough to remember. :) I'm very familiar with NYU, have many friends who have been students there or who have taught there. Also have a D who is a Tisch grad. I never said that NYU wouldn't try to attract celebrities. I said that they don't need them. If you think that the few celebrities who attend NYU, most of whom never graduate, are really responsible for the large numbers of applications every year, then I think you underestimate the kids who want to attend, certainly the kids who want to attend Tisch. My response was to the thought by actingdad that the presence of James Franco would result in large donations to Tisch or help ticket sales for drama productions, unlikely on the first count and unnecessary on the second. Someone in the Film MFA is not going to have any connection to ticket sales. Why would they? The 'celebrity' that is likely most responsible for the number of applications is the city itself.</p>

<p>fishbowlfreshman, i'm surprised you didn't mention this:</p>

<p>"The actor opted against watching the 2011 Academy Award nominees be announced (where he was a top contender) in favor of attending class. "I’m not gonna miss class to go and presume that I’m going to be nominated, but if you want to bring out a camera crew to Yale and wait and see if I get nominated, I’d be happy to step out of class and say I’m very grateful", he commented."</p>

<p>now, how could someone like that possibly miss 12 out of 14 lectures?!?!?! think of the sacrifice he made by not watching the academy awards nominees be announced!</p>

<p>If the Prof's claims are true, I'm of the view that the Prof was being overly generous by giving him a D rather than an F. Missing 12/14 classes in a discussion/participation heavy course as "Directing an Actor" means he practically skipped out on the entire course. Better question IMHO is why did he register to take that course if he wasn't going to show up for most of the courses and fail to withdraw properly?</p>

<p>More importantly, I don't know about MFA programs....but in many academic grad programs....getting a B- or below is already considered a failing grade. If you can't bother to put in a B level performance...the common thinking I've heard is that the Profs/admins will question whether you should be in their graduate program in the first place. </p>

<p>
[quote]
You may not be old enough to remember it, but NYU's stellar reputation is a fairly new occurance. </p>

<p>For years, NYU was "the other NYC school" ..not anywhere near Columbia's reputation. Now, things are much different and celebrity endorsement and Tisch school of the arts are 2 main reasons.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I'm old enough to remember as someone who grew up less than 10 blocks away from NYU's Washington Sq. campus and attended high school during the early-mid ''90's. At my urban public magnet high school back then, NYU....especially CAS/Steinhardt was commonly viewed as a school for academically average/mediocre rich kids.....if you had around a B- average and broke 1000 on the SATs...you were golden. </p>

<p>In fact, most in my HS's graduating class, including myself, are stunned at how NYU's reputation increases the further out you are from the NYC area and how NYU's marketing machine has been so effective that it has now vaulted itself into being an elite university.</p>

<p>"The 'celebrity' that is likely most responsible for the number of applications is the city itself. "</p>

<p>Well, I agree with you there, but I also remember when I was in high school, NYU was not a big deal or a top school to attend. Certainly, Tisch has always been well regarded. </p>

<p>But I do think it is our celebrity obsessed culture and kids seeing NYU portrayed a certain way on TV shows and in movies and knowing about the tons of celebrities that have gone there, that have really pushed up interest in the school and fed into a cycle that has now made NYU one of the most difficult universities in the country to get into. </p>

<p>Maybe I am being cynical, but I think the adminstrators have a vested interest in keeping celebrities interested in attending the school. </p>

<p>And yes, NYC is a huge benefit for the school but for years it truly was the 2nd rate university in the city and was not a huge draw to out of state students as it is now. </p>

<p>We'll have to agree to disagree.</p>

<p>"I'm old enough to remember as someone who grew up less than 10 blocks away from NYU's Washington Sq. campus and attended high school during the early-mid ''90's. At my urban public magnet high school back then, NYU....especially CAS/Steinhardt was commonly viewed as a school for academically average/mediocre rich kids.....if you had around a B- average and broke 1000 on the SATs...you were golden. </p>

<p>In fact, most in my HS's graduating class, including myself, are stunned at how NYU's reputation increases the further out you are from the NYC area and how NYU's marketing machine has been so effective that it has now vaulted itself into being an elite university. "</p>

<p>Yep!!!</p>

<p>I graduated high school in 1991 and everything you say is true. It is truly amazing to see how over the last decade NYU has really taken off as far as its reputation and also the types of stats you now need to get into the school. </p>

<p>You hit the nail on the head with the phrase "marketing machine."</p>

<p>
[quote]
broken symlink asked:
now, how could someone like that possibly miss 12 out of 14 lectures?!?!?! think of the sacrifice he made by not watching the academy awards nominees be announced!

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Because it was just an announcement of who was nominated. I‘m sure he got a call from his agent or publicist. Those kinds of things are a big “been there, done that” for people on his level. Besides, he ended up co-hosting the show … </p>

<p>You never know for sure ‘til you hear it from the horse‘s mouth, but I’d wager that he didn’t feel like he needed the class and would be given a pass because of who is he even though it‘s required in the curriculum. The title of the course was Directing the Actor II. I can see that being crucial for a filmmaker who doesn’t have acting experience, but I think it’s safe to assume James has had plenty of that. :) Considering that he was also simultaneously enrolled in three other programs while still shooting all those films, it seems to be a pretty reasonable accusation especially if he‘d previously been given a pass as is being alleged. </p>

<p>However, if you’re a normal person, you just don’t get away with blowing off class because you already know the material unless a “challenge“ option is offered. I was in Acting - not Film, Writing or English - and already knew the IPA like the back of my hand when I started my program, but you can bet your life I’d have been sent packing in a heartbeat if I cut that class. Of course, I’m not a celebrity which is kind of what this is about … besides it giving the appearance of making a mockery of the integrity of the named degree programs in general.</p>

<p>As for the rest, Alwaysamom is correct about the city itself being the main celebrity in regards to NYU’s appeal to those majoring in Theatre and some of the other creative disciplines. It always has been. Academic prestige doesn’t always factor all that high for those. In fact, most of the top Acting and Musical Theatre programs don’t have a particularly high academic threshold in their admissions decisions with Tisch currently being the main exception. It’s mostly about the audition and it’s kind of a given on the Theater/Drama Majors forum where this thread originated. I just thought I should point that out since I just noticed the discussion has been tacked to the top of the main CC forum as evidenced by the explosion of hits since I last looked. Hi, everyone! I haven’t looked at the other parts of CC in years! :D</p>

<p>and this is why i really don't want to go to NYU.</p>