CUNY hiring process under scrutiny after ‘radical’ ex-prof Shellyne Rodriguez arrested who attacked New York Post reporter
The taxpayer-funded CUNY is facing calls to crack down on its audit of deputies after since-fired professor Shellyne Rodriguez – who proudly displays anti-cop tattoos – was arrested on Thursday for holding a machete to her neck from a Post reporter.
Rodriguez, who has “FTP” (for “f–k the police”) inked on her fingers, flashed a cheeky smile after being slapped with harassment and threatening accusations and escorted out of the NYPD’s 43rd Precinct in the Bronx with handcuffs.
The 45-year-old artist and community organizer – who had gone viral for cursing pro-life students at CUNY’s Hunter College ahead of Tuesday’s machete saga – was promptly fired by the school.
Now some are wondering how someone like Rodriguez – a self-proclaimed “Black Marxist” who helped organize “FTP” protests that led to mass arrests – even ended up teaching at the public college.
“It’s so beyond, beyond,” former CUNY administrator Jeffrey Wiesenfeld told The Post on Thursday, adding “there should be an investigation into the hiring of these professors.”
“CUNY has become a farce,” he continued, adding, “You’ve got revolutionaries and lunatics running the place.
“What you need is for the governor and the mayor to create a commission to clean up CUNY.”
The formal process for recruiting adjunct professors at CUNY is lacking because vetting rests simply with department heads — allowing someone like Rodriguez to be recruited, a source familiar with the process said.
“The people who are hiring are radicals and they are looking for radicals,” said the source, who is a department head at another CUNY campus.
Unlike full-time faculty positions where there is extensive vetting, the source said adjunct professors are often simply hired by a particular department’s personnel and budget committee.
Almost all of the department heads involved in the hiring are members of the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY faculty and assistants, according to the source, who described the group as leftist and radical.
“The union attracts full-time and part-time lunatics,” the source said.
Following the Rodriguez saga, New York Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar called on CUNY to review its hiring policy.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that at the college level, professors should probably also go through a little psychological evaluation,” Kassar said.
“I don’t necessarily think you’re supposed to examine them like you examine a police officer…this may be the first time [with] a machete, but this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of CUNY — and to some extent SUNY — college professors being the most extreme person in classrooms.
CUNY has 25 colleges spread across the five boroughs, while SUNY, the state university system, has 64 institutions.
Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens), who got his MFA from Hunter and spent decades teaching at CUNY, said he hopes hiring “intolerant and radical” individuals like Rodriguez doesn’t hurt. not part of a model.
“People have to be controlled. People have to listen to both sides. And people have to be tolerant,” he said.
Rodriguez “should never have been allowed to work with students,” Holden added. “I think the provost should look at his class observations and student evaluations to see who dropped the ball in the department and allowed this maniac in the class.”
Under current CUNY policies for hiring assistants, prospective faculty are required to sign an oath to the U.S. Constitution during the application process.
Before being fired on Tuesday, Rodriguez had been working at Hunter College as an assistant professor of arts since at least 2018, according to SeeThroughNY. Her highest annual salary was $26,684, which she received last year, according to the site.
CUNY’s four-year colleges, such as Hunter, receive much of their funding from the state, while the city steps in to support network community colleges.
CUNY did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment on its verification process.
In a statement, PSC President James Davis said the union “has a duty to ensure that every worker we represent has the full protection of their contractual due process rights.
“The PSC does not condone violence, nor does it comment on ongoing member disciplinary proceedings. The union has not released or endorsed any statements regarding incidents involving Professor Shellyne Rodriguez,” Davis said.
Growing questions about the school’s vetting process came as Rodriguez turned around Thursday morning on the filmed ordeal involving the machete.
The ex-teacher held her head high as she was later led out of the Bronx compound with her multitude of tattoos on full display, including “FTP” inked on her fingertips, as well only a picture of brass knuckles and the boxing term “left-handed” scrawled on his left hand.
She declined to answer questions as she was escorted to an NYPD vehicle, but began to smile when the Post asked why she chose to pull the machete in the first place.
A second-degree threatening charge in New York is a misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in prison, while second-degree harassment, a violation, carries a sentence of up to 15 days.
The shocking chain of events that led to Rodriguez’s arrest unfolded on Tuesday when a veteran Post reporter knocked on the door of his Bronx apartment to ask him about the May 2 footage of her cursing the pro-life students at Hunter College.
“Stay away from my door, or I’ll cut you with this machete!” the maniacal art teacher shouted from behind his closed door seconds before stepping out with the blade.
After the reporter and a photographer left the building, dashcam video captured Rodriguez – still armed with the machete – chasing them down the street.
Rodriguez is currently embroiled in a legal saga with the NYPD over allegations that officers abused her during her arrest in the Bronx during a June 2020 George Floyd protest. The professor also helped organize several violent “FTP” protests in the Bronx through 2020.