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NYU Responds to Claims by James Franco's Professor - Exclusive

NYU Responds to Claims by James Franco's Professor - Exclusive

NYU is speaking out against allegations made by one of its former professors.

Jose Angel Santana recently filed a lawsuit against the university in an effort to get his job back. He claimed he was fired for giving James Franco a ‘D’ in his “Directing the Actor” class.

John Tintori, chair of Tisch’s graduate film program, just released a letter to students in response to the claims. exclusively obtained the statement before it was sent out on Thursday (December 22).

Click inside to read John Tintori’s statement…

“Dear Grad Film Students,

A number of you have recently come to me with questions arising from this week’s news. I thought it would be beneficial to bring a little clarity.

The most prominent allegation – that Jose Angel Santana was fired because of a grade he gave a student – is false. Professor Santana has not been fired; like other assistant arts professors, he had a three-year contract – which is still in force, and under which he is still being paid – and Tisch [School of the Arts] chose not to renew that contract. The non-renewal of his contract had nothing to do with any grade he assigned to any student, nor did it have anything to do with his ethnicity, which he also claims.

It is not appropriate for me to go into the details of the review that led to the school’s decision not to renew Professor Santana’s contract; these are private personnel matters. But I do have a few additional thoughts I want to share.

Every student in the University is entitled to privacy regarding his or her academic records. Public disclosure of confidential student information by any faculty member is a violation of our community standards as well as the trust forged among teachers and learners in this department. I want to assure all students that the disregard for these standards is not representative of the Graduate Film faculty and will not be tolerated.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday break.

Best wishes for a happy and productive New Year!

- John”

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Credit: Kevin Winter; Photos: Getty
Posted to: Exclusive, James Franco

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  • Kay

    I’m not a huge Franco fan but as a teacher I am appalled this professor made his grade public knowledge, assuming that was his grade and this jerk isn’t lying. NOW he should be fired. What an idiot.

  • cat

    Lets be honest here. James talks about his education in most interviews and NYU loves that. If he doesn’t come to class like the other students the professor has the right to treat him like any other person. I don’t agree with making the grade known to public, but I also dont agree with him being fired for now bowing down to a celeb.

  • alex krycek

    agreed. the prof could have made the same claim and just said he thinks he his contract was not renewed because of a grade he gave a student. he did not have to reveal specifically what that grade was.
    easy enough.

  • sarah

    yeah it shldnt have been made public but i read that he doesnt even show up and sends an assistant to take notes during class… aaand this is a total cover up. celebs have more power than we know (and more power than they should).

  • iheartbsb

    @sarah: money & fame, that’s what it’s all about. it’s pretty sad that that’s so important to people (see people who have over 300 “friends” on facebook, “youtube stars etc). to humans who only have the capacity to live about 100 years. we’re a blip in time & in the universe and what matters is $ & fame. nuff said.

  • LaCroix

    this whole issue is a great eye opener for many to realize the power of celebrity .. like it or not but these celebs sway most of us in many ways..

  • zhnjg

    I think Franco said the grade already, to the media, pretty much mocking the professor. It was already public when the lawsuit was filed.

  • pippamippa

    my friend at ucla had class with him and she said he rarely shows up and when he does, he either sleeps in class or hits on girls. i do think nyu gives their celebs leniency in a lot of areas because it brings publicity to the school. when ucla wanted franco to speak at commencement, a lot of people at ucla were definitely appalled. he doesn’t deserve it, but they wanted him to because it would be in the news for days. blahh

  • BEAN

    Always knew he wasn’t as clever as he made out. Dude was sleeping in class and he missed 12 out of 14 classes. Of course he got a d

  • firefox

    @<a href@Kay: To be fair Franco brought up the grade in an interview first. Its on youtube and he’s subtly implying that the lecturer has a problem with his success- the dude interviewing him is the one who speaks up to this but franco does (again subtly) take the piss out of the lecturer for a project he did when he was younger. Bottom line Lecturer was out Franco was in, he began teaching at NYU

  • Jonny Rap

    This shit makes me miss Tisch.


    rich people think they can get everything with money… and they do.


    You know what you get at my university if you miss half the number of classes? A big, fat F. F. F. F.

    Celebrities don’t get into ivy league colleges because they’re smart; they get in because they’re rich.

  • catdog

    he didn’t make it public! the gossip sites made it public after getting this info from the lawsuit.

  • fox mulder

    thing is, is NYU is already established as a great film school so i dont really getting ‘publicity’ or any kind of cred from any actor.
    maybe im not getting something with that.

  • may

    @fox mulder: yes but people see that james franco attends and they want to sign up. it is a publicity thing. the same way rich kids are accepted to ivy league schools over ppl who actually have the smarts for it.

  • stu

    i hope he has to pay all the legal fees back to the college if he loses. I’m surprise this media whore didn’t hire Gloria A.

  • not me

    The Dean’s letter does not reveal much other than the grade disclosure. But, to my knowledge’ the prof. did that only after his contract was not renewed (this is ‘firing’ in academia). Was Santana a bad teacher? Was he not publishing enough good papers? These are the considerations that should go into a non-renewal decision. Dean is silent about all those issues.

  • dani

    TMZ evidently with their blood hounds on the job got ahold of the law suit papers and that is why everyone now knows that Franco was given a D. Not the professors fault at all.

    Anyhow, if Franco phoned in his coursework like he did his hosting of the last year’s Academy Awards, then he probably really deserved an F instead of a D.

  • faywray123

    @Kay: Public knowledge, where you been?

  • faywray123

    @Kay: “Kay,” this has been public knowledge. Where have you been?

  • Samual

    Since when do they take role in a masters program? My Professors could care less who is there on any given day. All I am required to do is complete assignments and pass tests. I borrow notes from friends in class if I ‘m not there or fall asleep. Also, record most lectures when I do attend. Somebody seems to be money hungery.

  • lina

    james is a busy actor…if he did the work he should of gotten a higher grade…so what if he only showed up to 2 class.. as long as he did the work it shouldn’t really matter

  • ClearPerspective

    Film School is OVERATED.

  • apples

    Franco, if u can’t attend class then don’t sign up for the class, you deserve to get an F not a D because u didn’t do anything for that class….or is it that because you’ve been in some movies you only need to sign up to get credit for those classes???

    even if it was a community college in a small town, if u don’t work for the class u signed up, you shouldn’t get ANY credit for it.

    and i like u as an actor, but its really not fair for other students who actually attend every class and do what is expected from them.

  • hey777


  • briela

    love him
    hes so talented and sexy

  • laruj


    No……he’s rather ordinary looking. He wouldn’t be anywhere without his influential family and connections.

  • laruj


    NO………he’s pretty ordinary looking, and would be NOWHERE without his influential family contacts, lol.

  • mimi

    So Franco’s PR machine is now in full force to besmear that poor professor.

    Shame on NYU for giving a mediocre actor preferential treatment from day 1 and acting as if he is entite to things no other student would ever dream of.
    As if any program would allow a student to have a career, live miles away, skip classes, and enroll in so many other programs.
    These people made a joke out of any respect I once had to academia. They are now defending the privacy of their least private “student”. As if they would “not renew a contract” for any other student who had a claim against any professor.

  • mimi

    So Franco’s PR machine is now in full force to besmear that poor professor.

    Shame on NYU for giving a mediocre actor preferential treatment from day 1 and acting as if he is entite to things no other student would ever dream of.
    As if any program would allow a student to have a career, live miles away, skip classes, and enroll in so many other programs.
    These people made a joke out of any respect I once had to academia. They are now defending the privacy of their least private “student”. As if they would “not renew a contract” for any other student who had a claim against any professor.

  • Zheng

    Um, duh, teacher’s discretion if attendance counts toward final grade. Its called a syllabus. You don’t get to argue about it, and Franco would have known it was coming. I hate ppl like him who undermine everyone who actually goes to class. It’s like he’s doing distance learning. He was there to learn, and he should lose the attitude of entitlement.

  • Facts

    James Franco is a douche bag.

  • chichi

    James Franco is a freak and I bet it is true that he got a D.

    I read his book Paolo Alto which was the biggest load of garbage I have ever read in my entire life.

    And unfortunately for him, as a celebrity and as privacy law operates, he has brought his studies into the public arena and does not deserve any kind of privacy regarding his marks.

  • Lex

    @Kay: I’m a huge Franco fan too, but James was the first to make his grade public. Before the Oscars James stated in an interview he got a D in said class.

  • Dbag

    No one should get fired because of this douche bag.

  • Jane

    I was a student at UCLA when Franco was there. Franco boasted to GQ magazine that he took 62 credits at UCLA for one single quarter. 12 credits per quarter is the minimum to be full-time; after 18 credits, you need to get special permission to overload on credits. I tried taking 28 credits, and my professor told me that I was certifiably insane.
    After around 20 credits, it becomes difficult to schedule classes because they start to conflict with each other. There is no way that you can take 25+ credits, let alone 62 balanced with a film career, with the intent to attend all of your classes, do all of the work, and get the most out of the education you’ve paid for.
    It really is disrespectful to boast about that sort of thing, when there are students out there who put 100% into their education and do minimum-wage jobs on the side to get through. Unless Franco did a complete 180 and became a serious, dedicated student at NYU, I can understand the professor’s frustration with Franco’s lack of respect for the system, and towards his peers and professors who take it seriously.

  • John


    I agreed. It is not fair for students who are borrowed school loans to do the same course. They put so much effort, if once student got D, they need to retake and pay again the fees repeat the class, or either need to get better GPA shit. But actor do crappy and can get pass without fully putting effort in his course work??

  • KevinfromMinnesota

    It would be interesting to see what people in the Yale English Program think. The Yale graduate programs in particular their Law, Medicine and most of their PhD programs only take outstanding students while their undergraduate programs are more forgiving to those with connections. If he was accepted to Yale’s English program on his research potential and grades that would be an impressive accomplishment.

    I can’t see how Yale’s graduate english program would simply allow a celebrity to attend that could not handle the research and coursework since the program is rated number one in the country.

    These MFA programs he is attending/attended are often workshop driven and not your standard grad type classes. MFA programs also rarely look at grades and are more focused on writing/filmmaking potential.

  • Mi

    My goodness, ALL he ever wanted was to go to NYU and there Has to be a mass.
    People can talk as much as they want saying “SEE!! hat the power of celebrities!!” – Even though they don’t have the full info on the subject.
    And that’s Solely because you hate them just a tiny-little-bit more than you like them. Let’s face it.

  • Bo

    Its a class on how to direct an actor. Attendance is EVERYTHING.

  • jaagdfdddd

    @BEAN: uhm the class he was supposly sleeping in was not even a class it was a club it was optional he only went just for fun so dont shit if you dont know crap

  • jaagdfdddd

    @BEAN: uhm the class he was supposly sleeping in was not even a class it was a club it was optional he only went just for fun so dont shit if you dont know crap

  • remember da truth

    Did any of you go to college?!?! Most of the time, students skip class. Grades are not based on attendance. This isn’t high school anymore, or even community college. Your grade is based on the midterm, the final, and often on a paper or two. Sure, if you show up and listen to the lectures, you will get a better grade, but if you can get the notes another way, or just study what was on the syllabus you got the first day, you can still do pretty well.

    Often students make study groups and take turns being the one to go to class and get the notes, then share with the group. Unless it’s a seminar with 10 people and it’s all about the discussions, it’s just one professor lecturing to you his thoughts the whole time and very little interaction from the students. You might get student input here and there, but it’s 95% the professor speaking. You don’t really need to be there. And as this was an associate professor, not a full professor, my guess is (just a guess) that he wasn’t teaching a seminar, but instead one that only required getting the notes, and then taking the tests.

  • remember da truth

    Also, so many of you show you never went to college by not reading and comprehending the letter that the dean put out. First off, regardless of the grade that any student received, this professor was not going to have his contract renewed. He is also playing the race card, which no one has mentioned because it’s much more fun to bash on a celebrity.

    Not every professor is going to be hired for life. Contracts are not renewed all the time.

    Obviously, the prof had issues. And obviously, the dean isn’t going to make public private personnel records. Whether Franco revealed his grade or not, this guy shouldn’t have, and regardless if it was after his not having his contract renewed, he should never have mentioned a student’s grade publicly, and has given any discerning individual a clue into reasons why he shouldn’t have a contract at ANY top-rated school. He seems to be a loose cannon who cannot handle his job in a professional manner, and whatever issues caused his non-renewal, it appears that Franco being one of his students had little to do with it other than confirming that the school made the right choice to say that three years was enough.

  • Real Truth who knows BUT…

    Check out below link found – looks interesting,,,,,

    I will always be a fan of JF & how he strives to learn & grow as a person.

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