Monday, December 19, 2011

The Politicization of Scholarship at NYU

James Franco is an actor whose performances I used to really enjoy.  Maybe not quite so much anymore, though.  I read today that his New York University professor, Jose Angel Santana, lost his job after he dared to give the celebrity a D grade.  (Apparently, there was a puzzling expectation that students would actually attend the class.)  Now, Dr. Santana is suing NYU over his termination.

This issue dovetails remarkably well with my last blog offering.  While no one is being accused of plagiarism, the expectation of a higher grade because of "who one is" smells like it came from the same malodorous source.  This politicization of scholarship is a dangerous thing indeed, because it cheapens the educational commodity itself, diminishing the objective value of the degree for all the students.

Just as many professors and administrators apparently look the other way when it comes to cheating and plagiarizing students, now there's a high profile example of university administration being more than willing to look the other way in order to retain their celebrity student--and his smug satisfaction.  One doesn't need "spidey senses" to get an unpleasant tingling sensation at this state of affairs. 

NYU, you must be so proud.

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