franco102209_01_X17230WM.jpgJose Angel Santana, a former New York University professor, claims he lost his job after teaching James Franco in his "Directing the Actor" class. The teacher has filed a lawsuit claiming he was "wrongfully terminated."

Santana tells the NY Post he has suffered "public humiliation" since giving Franco a "D." The professor gave the actor a "D" for skipping out on 12 of the 14 classes.

In the legal papers, it states, "In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes, a possession, something you can buy."

Santana also claims this would never have happened if he were a caucasian professor.

NYU has denied any wrongdoing ... calling Santana's claims "ridiculous."