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James Franco Receives D; NYU Defends Against Professor Lawsuit

James Franco

First Posted: 12/23/11 05:12 PM ET Updated: 12/23/11 05:16 PM ET

Ever since word got out that Renaissance Man James Franco received a D during his time at NYU, it's been a regular game of telephone around the school yard as to how that actually happened.

Reportedly, the story goes like this: JFranc missed 12 out of 14 of his "Directing the Actor II" class, which resulted in his professor, Joseph Angel Santana, giving Franco a less-than-stellar grade in the class.

Santana was recently let go from his teaching position and told the New York Post that he was suing the institution as he believed that it was a direct consequence of him not obeying the "Franco-friendly" policy of the school.

But now NYU is fighting back. Chairman of the graduate film department at Tisch School of the Arts, John Tintori, emailed graduate students to address the lawsuit directly, which first appeared on Just Jared.

"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."

While Tintori was mum on the exact circumstances surrounding Santana's departure, he assured students that violation of their academic records "will not be tolerated."

What do you think of the story? Do you believe Franco gets preferential treatment?

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Filed by Jessie Heyman  |