Maitland Jones, a well-known name in the field of organic chemistry, was fired from New York University after a group of students signed a petition against him. A group of 82 students complained that they had been scoring poorly in his course because Mr Jones’ teaching methods were too hard.
According to the New York Times report, the petition read, “We are very concerned about our scores, and find that they are not an accurate reflection of the time and effort put into this class.” It further read, “We urge you to realize that a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students’ learning and well-being a priority and reflects poorly on the chemistry department as well as the institution as a whole.”
The petition also said that Mr Jones reduced the number of midterm exams from three to two, he did not offer extra credit, no Zoom access to lectures for students with Covid-19 and he taught with a condescending and demanding tone.
NYT tried to pacify upset students. Mr Jones was told in an email that the department would extend a gentle but firm hand to the students and those who pay the tuition bills.
Jones’ department is also not happy with the news and is protesting it. Writer and NYU professor, Elizabeth Spiers shared her thoughts on Twitter, “One of many problems with insanely expensive private education is that institutions have an incentive to treat the student as customer and not student who needs to learn certain things.”
I teach at NYU and don’t think this guy should have been fired. One of many problems with insanely expensive private education is that institutions have an incentive to treat the student as customer and not student who needs to learn certain things. https://t.co/sUfwusLCgG
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) October 3, 2022
In Jones’ defence, his colleagues said that they had offered support to students struggling with Covid-19. The NYT report said that Jones personally spent $5000 to make videos of his lectures.
After the campus opened, Mr Jones said that students were found disengaged. Mr Jones told NYT, “They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure because I can count the house.”
Mr Jones said, “I don’t want my job back, I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”