New York News

Ex-Hunter Prof, Machete-Wielder, Avoids Jail, Gets New Teaching Job

The video of adjunct professor Shellyne Rodriguez yelling and cursing at students at Hunter College in May went viral and led to widespread condemnation of her tirade. (Image: Courtesy of Students of Life of America)

BRONX — The former adjunct professor whose tirade against pro-life students at a Hunter College information table went viral last spring has pleaded guilty to menacing and harassment for confronting a New York Post reporter and photographer with a machete after they tried to question her outside her Bronx apartment about the encounter with the students.

Shellyne Rodriguez, who was fired by Hunter College after the machete incident and has apparently found a new job teaching at The Cooper Union, was in Bronx Criminal Court on Monday, Oct. 2., where she entered into a conditional plea agreement.

According to the Bronx district attorney’s office, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to second degree menacing, a misdemeanor, and second degree harassment, a violation, for her encounter with New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton and a photographer on May 23.

In exchange, she will receive no jail time but will be required to complete behavioral therapy for a minimum of 6 months, give the court periodic updates on her progress and avoid arrest.

The judge has set her sentencing date for May 15. If Rodriguez successfully completes her end of the plea deal, she will be permitted to withdraw and vacate the guilty plea to menacing and be sentenced to a conditional discharge on the harassment charge.

In addition, the court extended an order of protection for Fenton and the photographer until May 15, the sentencing date.

Meanwhile, students expressed shock that Rodriguez has apparently found a new teaching job.

Rodriguez, who was fired by Hunter College on May 23 following the machete incident, is listed on The Cooper Union website as an adjunct instructor. Her name appears on the fall semester schedule as an instructor of sculpture.

The decision by The Cooper Union left the pro-life Hunter College students perplexed.

Sol De Leon Cruz, president of the Catholic John Henry Newman Club, said it was puzzling since Rodriguez was dismissed by Hunter College “due to her history, which is incompatible with an educational setting.” 

As for The Cooper Union, De Leon Cruz said, “I have to hope they maintain vigilance against behavior that contradicts free speech and advocates violence.”

Students for Life of America also expressed shock at The Cooper Union’s hiring of Rodriguez.

“With such a recent history of vitriol and violence, it’s shocking to see that she’s been given charge of students once again,” said Caroline Wharton, a spokeswoman for Students for Life of America. 

“Hopefully, no one will make her mad by using their free speech, as we’ve seen what can happen,” Wharton added.

The Cooper Union did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But the school’s website describes Rodriguez as “a Bronx-born artist, educator, writer, community organizer, and public intellectual.”

Both the machete incident and Rodriguez’s Hunter College tirade were captured on videos that quickly went viral.

On May 2, Rodriguez marched up to a table in a Hunter College hallway where students from the Catholic John Henry Newman Club, the Catholic Center at New York University, and Students for Life of America were distributing pro-life information and cursed at the students, charging them with “triggering” her students. 

Rodriguez aimed much of her ire at Patrick Rubi, who was a Hunter College sophomore at the time. The video shows her berating him for speaking out about abortion, pointing out that as a male, he cannot give birth.

Rodriguez also angrily tossed the pro-life informational pamphlets off the table.

The video of the tirade was posted on social media on May 19 and opened up a firestorm of criticism of Rodriguez. Four days later, she held a machete to Fenton’s neck as he stood in her apartment doorway.

The Catholic John Henry Newman Club is planning to set up a pro-life informational table at Hunter College on Wednesday, Nov. 1.