Former poetry professor sues IC for $1 million
Honestly, I wish I could too
On October 3, tenured professor Michael Stuprich filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against Ithaca College seeking damages for one million dollars.
After 30 years of teaching students in the writing department, Suprich was fired, according to The Ithacan.
In the lawsuit, an exchange between Stuprich, a student and their advisor is described as one of the reasons for the termination.
Ahad Rauf, a sophomore IC legal studies major form Pakistan, believes that he and his advisor are the ones mentioned in the lawsuit.
Rauf had Stuprich as a professor for Introduction to Poetry during his freshman year at Ithaca College. After receiving a D in the class, Rauf reached out to Stuprich to set up a meeting to discuss the grade and what he could do to receive a better grade in his upcoming classes.
Stuprich responded in an email that his letter grade was a "gift" to Rauf, insinuating that because his first language is not English, he was not fit to take the course.
Numerous complaints were made of Stuprich's demeanor towards students during class and in one on one meetings. One student described multiple times where Stuprich inappropriately hugged her, telling The Ithacan that she didn't feel comfortable reporting his behavior to authorities.
Numerous negative student accounts regarding Professor Stuprich were collected by The Ithacan, while his Rate My Professor ratings are largely favorable.
One student wrote in 2015, "Intro to Poetry was a really good class! I do recommend taking this class if you are really interested in writing or English. I am neither of those majors (had to take it for a requirement) and it wasn't bad. Prof. Stuprich really cares about his students and really takes time to make sure you are enjoying his class."
However, IC senior Rachel Balzano who took Stuprich's Introduction to Poetry in Fall 2014 told The Ithacan that her professor made her feel uncomfortable by hugging her various times over the past few years.
“I didn’t feel comfortable to challenge feeling uncomfortable by something a male professor had done,” Balzano told The Ithacan. “I think it’s really unfortunate, but I think it’s something that happens far too often and students are just too scared to say anything.”