Months after losing her teaching gig for a threatening confrontation with a reporter, a New York professor is out of a job again.
Shellyne Rodriguez was terminated from New York City’s Hunter College last year after an infamous image caught on camera of her holding a machete to the throat of a reporter. Now, she has lost her position at Cooper Union in Manhattan because, in her words, of “a social media post I made about ‘Zionists.”
The 57-year-old announced the termination in an email to her students in late January which was then posted on Instagram by a pro-Palestinian student group.
“Cooper Union has fired me because of a social media post I made about ‘Zionists’… effective immediately,” Rodriguez claimed.
“This is fascism. Ya’ll are learning about it in real time,” Rodriguez wrote. “Stay strong, [stay] brave, stay defiant, don’t bite your tongue, and drink plenty of water! Pa-lante!”
The move comes just months after Jewish students at Cooper Union feared for their lives and barricaded themselves in the library as pro-Palestinian demonstrators came pounding on the doors of the building.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) May 27, 2023
A spokesperson for Cooper Union did not give details about the termination of the teacher, telling Fox New Digital, “We don’t provide comment on personnel matters.”
“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,” the Cooper Union Students for Justice in Palestine
Cooper Union’s faculty page no longer lists Rodriguez as an adjunct professor, according to the New York Post.
Yesterday I attended CUNY 4 Palestine’s teach-in, “Radical Solidarity and Organic Connections: Palestinian, Black, Puerto Rican, and Filipino Liberation Struggles”.
— Stu (@thestustustudio) January 16, 2024
“It is not clear which posts or comments got her canned but in January Rodriguez participated in a CUNY for Palestine panel and encouraged protesting landlords and business people with ties to Israel. Critics said she spewed antisemitic tropes,” the newspaper reported. “On Instagram, Rodriguez posted a flyer promoting a pro-Israel event that was edited with cockroaches covering it, according to screenshots obtained by The Post.”
“Look at this dirty f—ing roach former bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. a Zionist lapdog,” she wrote in the caption to the post, referring to former Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. who reportedly participated in that event.
In a letter to the Cooper Union administration, the pro-Palestinian student group defended Rodriguez after she spoke against “genocide and settler-colonial violence.”
“The Cooper Union wrongfully terminated a valued educator who is indispensable to the community and the academic livelihood of students,” the group wrote, calling the firing “an intense escalation of repression” that “must be resisted.”
But others, like Jeffrey Lax, a CUNY law professor, were happy to see her gone.
“Jewish students at Cooper Union are very relieved that they fired her,” Lax told The Post.
“Her comments were really despicable,” he added about the CUNY panel.
“Normally, I would say I commend the university for taking action against this professor but in this case, how can I possibly say that? She did something far worse before they hired her. I mean, she held a knife to a reporter’s neck,” Lax said. “They’re not to be commended, they should be ashamed of themselves.”
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