Senator wants CCSU professor terminated [Bristol Press]

August 11, 2015

Bristol Press

A top ranking Republican legislator is calling for the firing of Ravi Shankar, the Central Connecticut State University professor who’s been arrested numerous times.

Senate Minority Leader Kevin Witkos said in a letter to CCSU President Jack Miller released Friday that Shankar represents a safety and ‘role modeling’ concern for some members of the Senate.

Shankar’s most recent arrest was about a week ago when he was charged with larceny after police say he stole $1,339 worth of goods at a Middletown Home Depot and then returned them for the cash.

Witkos says in his letter that despite his previous brushes with the law CCSU has failed to take action against him and even made him a full tenured professor. Shankar teaches poetry at the college in New Britain.

“We have concerns that someone who has committed these types of crimes is allowed to continue as a professor in our university system. We view this as a safety issue and a role modeling issue,” Witkos said. “I recently read the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Board of Regents and University Professors. I believe that Mr. Shankar should be terminated.”

A store loss prevention employee witnessed the 40-year-old Shankar taking the items from the shelves and take them to the return counter, police said. When Shankar left the store with the money, he was confronted by the employee who called police.

Shankar refused to answer questions and asked for an attorney when he was interviewed by police. He told police it was a “misunderstanding” and that they were “taking their word for it.”

University officials are aware of the arrest, said CCSU spokesman Mark McLaughlin who declined further comment.

Shankar has racked up at least six arrest cases since 2011, while he was an associate professor at CCSU. His convictions include giving a false statement to a credit card company claiming thousands of dollars in charges weren’t his when in fact they were, drunk driving and interfering with police.

He was charged in December by state police with fleeing the scene of an accident while driving with a suspended license.

Shankar was incarcerated in May 2014 for pending violation of probation and other charges when he was given a full professorship at the university.

The state Board of Regents, which oversees state colleges and universities, determined after a CCSU review of the promotion which they approved without knowledge of his arrest record, that Shankar could keep his new job.

“By his continuous disregard for the law, Mr. Shankar has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit to discharge his professional responsibilities,” Witkos said in the letter. “This professor is harming the reputation of all in the teaching field and, quite frankly, the administration by its inaction to date. It is in the best interests of CCSU students, faculty and taxpayers of the State of Connecticut to terminate Mr. Shankar’s employment with the University.”