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A tenured math professor who complained Philadelphia’s Temple University wanted him to inflate grades and “dummy down” course work has been fired on grounds of incompetence, his attorney said. Martin Eisen, 69, who worked at Temple for nearly 35 years, had been on paid leave since August 1999 while the university investigated students’ complaints about his grading practices. Three separate faculty committees reviewed 1,200 pages of testimony before finding Eisen to be “incompetent,” Eisen’s attorney, F. Michael Daily Jr., said Wednesday. “Our position is that he is not incompetent,” Daily said. “What Temple demanded that Dr. Eisen do … was dummy down the course so these kids would get college credit for a college-level course which was really a high school course.” University spokeswoman Harriet Goodheart refused to comment Wednesday, calling it a personnel matter. The firing of a tenured professor is a “remarkably serious and difficult decision, and you have to look at this with great care. And I think that has happened,” said economics professor Michael Goetz, president of the Faculty Senate. Daily claimed Eisen was fired because he refused to make the course work easier or give students grades they did not deserve. Eisen’s students had a high failure rate and many of them complained, Daily said. Upset students have yelled obscenities at Eisen and physically blocked the doorway to his class, Daily said. “I told students they could get the same education in high school for a fraction of the cost,” Eisen said Thursday. Anticipating he would be fired, Eisen filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Temple last summer. He seeks reinstatement to his job, backpay and other monetary damages. Temple has moved to get the lawsuit dismissed. Goetz maintained that classes at Temple have not been dumbed down. He said grade inflation does exist, but no more than at “any other university in the United States.” Grade inflation recently became an issue at Harvard University when a university study found that nearly half of all grades awarded were A or A-minus, a sharp increase from a decade earlier. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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