Since early October, when the story broke about New York University firing organic chemistry teacher Maitland Jones because a student petition claimed his course was too hard, there has been a growing push back from the college’s faculty as well as at least one pro-free speech organization.
The petition itself was signed by 82 of Jones’ 350 students (less than a quarter of the class) and complained that “too many [students] were failing and that this was unacceptable” and that the course’s challenges caused “emotional and mental health” issues.
The course in question however is organic chemistry, traditionally designed as a very tough entry-level course in order to weed out students not capable of becoming doctors or doing the real work necessary in the hard sciences. Under normal circumstances one third to one half of all students who take the course fail, which means this petition was likely signed by those who were failing.
Rather than push themselves, these spoiled students wanted the course made easier. They might then have passed, but if they became doctors later in life their patients would certainly be under risk.
What made Jones’ firing more horrifying however is that the university instigated the action. The students themselves hadn’t asked for his firing, they only wanted his course made easier.
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