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NYU professor, 84, sacked after students blame him for poor scores

Maitland Jones is a well-known name in the field of organic chemistry and has written an important textbook on the subject.

October 04, 2022 / 04:02 PM IST
Professor Maitland Jones. (Image credit:

Professor Maitland Jones. (Image credit:

The New York University sacked a reputed professor after a section of his students complained about his class being too tough and blamed him for their poor scores, according to an NYT report.

Maitland Jones is a well-known name in the field of organic chemistry and has written an important textbook on the subject. He is respected by most faculty members and students.

But before the fall semester began, the university terminated his contract. The reason? 82 students signing a petition against him, complaining that scoring poorly in his course was hurting their medical school prospects.

The university acted to pacify upset students. 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' colleagues are protesting his sacking. Elizabeth Spiers, writer and NYU professor tweeted: "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."



Jones' students expressed dissatisfaction with his teaching methods during the pandemic. Some said he did not allow Zoom access to his lessons, adding that his tone could be“condescending and demanding”.

But Jones and his colleagues said they offered support to students grappling with COVID-19 disruptions. According to the NYT report, Jones said he personally spent $5,000 to make videos of his lectures, which the university still uses.

When the campus opened, Jones said he found students disengaged.

“They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,” Jones was quoted as saying by NYT.  “They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions (in exams)

Jones said he does not want his job back but ensure another non-tenure professor is not fired this way.

His colleagues praised his academic standards. "We hope that students will see that putting them through that rigor is doing them good," Professor Paramjit Arora, one of his co-workers, said.
first published: Oct 4, 2022 04:00 pm