NYU: James Franco's 'D' Did Not Get Professor Fired

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The head of Tisch's grad school program shoots down Jose Angel Santana's accusations in a memo to students.

James Franco's "D" should stand for "Drama."

The actor's former NYU professor, Joseph Angel Santana, is grabbing headlines for his lawsuit against the school: he wants his job back, and claims he was fired for giving Franco a bad grade after the star student missed 12 of the 14 sessions for his "Directing the Actor II" class.

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Santana accuses the school of inflating grades and giving Franco preferential treatment in exchange for publicity and high-profile jobs for faculty members like professor Jay Anania, recruited by the A-lister to direct the 2010 indie film William Vincent. In his suit, he also targets John Tintori, chairman of the graduate film department at Tisch School of the Arts, for making a cameo in Anania-helmed, Franco-funded movie.

Tintori has addressed the situation in an email to graduate students that was first posted on the celebrity blog Just Jared.

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"A number of you have recently come to me with questions arising from this week’s news," he wrote. "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 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."

Tintori said he would not discuss the terms of Santana's departure but told students that violation of their academic records "will not be tolerated."