by Nicholas Leahey
Administration remains tight lipped after Central Connecticut English Professor Ravi Shankar was suspended without pay in August, after being arrested for shoplifting in Middletown.
“Due to the pending legal matter, I am not at liberty to say any more,” said university spokesman Mark McLaughlin.
According to the Hartford Courant, Shankar was arrested and charged with fourth-degree larceny shoplifting in early August, after police said he took various store items from shelves, and returned them for store credit at a Home Depot in Middletown. The items totaled $1,339.75.
The case followed a history of criminal activity, including a case in 2011 when Shankar was convicted for credit card fraud. He was also convicted of drunken driving later that same year.
Hired in 2002, Shankar was most recently in the media spotlight in 2014, when he was promoted to a full-time professor, while serving jail time. He does currently possess tenure.
Since his suspension, Shankar has been actively seeking medical treatment.
“Ultimately this recent hardship has been a blessing in disguise because it has forced me to seek help, to confront certain aspects of myself, and to work diligently to better myself,” said Shankar regarding his suspension. He also said that he spent time at a local hospital to address his case of “acute mental illness,” but did not say which hospital.
As a part of his suspension, Shankar also had his health benefits and insurance cut, in addition to his salary.
McLaughlin would not comment whether or not Shankar would be fired from his position if he was convicted. He did, however, confirm that Shankar was not on the list of professors teaching next semester, due to his current status.
“He was very into what he taught,” explained Senior Timothy DeRoehn, a Resident Assistant and psychology major at CCSU. He had Shankar as a professor for a poetry class he took as a general education requirement during his sophomore year.
“I’m not sure I would say he was a good professor, just because he was not exactly friendly to novices,” said DeRoehn. On numerous occasions, he also explained how he missed several classes to go participate in poetry events, but that he never saw Shankar’s work.
For part of his suspension, Shankar will be out of the country, traveling to the Philippines, Japan, and Singapore to help launch his new anthology book. In his automated email responses, he stated he plans to be back in the United States by November 5, 2015.