Shellyne Rodriguez, the machete-wielding former Hunter College professor, has now been fired by the Cooper Union college.
The school previously stood with Rodriguez after she trashed a student display and held a machete to the neck of a journalist.
It appears that Rodriguez’s anti-Israel comments were finally too much for Cooper Union.
What is interesting is what it takes at both Hunter College and The Cooper Union to be fired.
We previously discussed a videotape of Rodríguez trashing a pro-life student display in New York.
Before attacking the table, she told the students, “You’re not educating s–t […] This is f–king propaganda. What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next? This is bulls–t. This is violent. You’re triggering my students.”
The videotape revealed one other thing.
At Hunter College, and at other colleges, it seems that trashing a pro-life student display and abusing pro-life students is not considered a firing offense. Hunter College refused to fire Rodríguez.
The PSC Graduate Center, the labor organization of graduate and professional schools at the City University of New York, supported that decision and said Rodríguez was “justified” in trashing the display, which the organization described as “dangerously false propaganda” and “disinformation.”
Rodríguez later put a machete to the neck of a reporter, threatened to chop him up and then chased a news crew down a street with the machete in hand. Somewhere between the machete to the neck and chasing the reporters down the street, Hunter College finally decided that Rodríguez had to go.
Rodríguez denounced the school for having “capitulated” to “racists, white nationalists, and misogynists.” She explained that her firing was just a continuation of “attacks on women, trans people, black people, Latinx people, migrants, and beyond.”
The Cooper Union, however, refused to sever ties with Rodríguez, 47, and decided that she should continue to teach her students. According to the New York Post, Rodriguez attributed her firing to her anti-Israeli comments. She declared
“Cooper Union has fired me because of a social media post I made about ‘Zionists’… effective immediately. This is fascism. Ya’ll are learning about it in real time. Stay strong, [stay] brave, stay defiant, don’t bite your tongue, and drink plenty of water! Pa-lante!”
Students cried foul. One group wrote the dean to object that “this firing represents an intense escalation of McCarthyist repression meant to intimidate and punish those in support of a Free Palestine, and must be resisted to prevent its further normalization and the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”
There is a legitimate question over terminations of faculty for statements made outside of a school on social media. However, there was ample reason not to have a machete-wielding maniac teach students. Cooper Union, however, found the social media more menacing than the machete.
Rodriguez participated in a CUNY for Palestine virtual panel in which she spoke about the possibility of a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement rent strike in New York involving not making rent payments to Jewish landlords or landlords who support Israel.
She is quoted as calling for the targeting of pro-Israeli figures, adding “[y]ou probably wait tables where they go to brunch. Find them, go to their offices, don’t let them sleep.”
She also called former Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. a “roach” and “Zionist lapdog.”
Notably, others on the left have encouraged such harassment of those with opposing views, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA. Others have supported harassing conservative justices at their homes and offices.
What is ironic about the objection to McCarthyism is that Rodriguez is part of the “radical chic” in academia leading the mob and silencing others.
The one benefit of this controversy is that it is finally confirmed what it takes to be fired by The Cooper Union if you are on the left. Trashing pro-life displays or threatening journalists are clearly no barrier for employment with the school.