Tuesday, December 20, 2011

James Franco: D Student

[image credit: Vanessa Lua]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes star James Franco was apparently monkeying around when he was supposed to be in class at New York University--but it was the professor that gave him a D for poor attendance that got into trouble according to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the professor.
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.
 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. 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.”
“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.”
Santana, who is suing NYU in Manhattan Supreme Court for his job back, asserts that Franco, whose career took off after a 2001 portrayal of James Dean, acted like a rebel without a clue in his other courses, too, blowing off just as many classes. But the star’s other professors at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts still gave him good grades, Santana said.
...“In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy,” Santana said.
Leaving aside the facts or allegations of this particular case, we know from personal knowledge that adjunct professors (who are often on a semester-to-semester contract) often have to run a public relations tightrope if they like and want to keep the gig. While they have to uphold academic standards and treat all students fairly and equally, even one bad student evaluation or a complaint--even if bogus--could result in the non-renewing of the teaching contract.

Santana is listed as a "visiting professor" which is at a much higher level than an ordinary adjunct but nonetheless does not provide the same kind of job security as those enjoyed by tenure-protected faculty members.

Here is Prof. Santana talking about the case with the guys from TMZ:

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Added: Here is the take of the Franco case by Taiwan CGI studio Next Media Animation: