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Machete-Wielding Hunter College Adjunct Turns Herself Into NYPD

Hunter College Adjunct Professor Shellyne Rodriguez yells during a profanity-laced tirade aimed at pro-life students at Hunter College after they set up a table with information on abortion. Rodriguez was fired from the college days later after an unrelated incident. (Photo: Students For Life of America)

Shellyne Rodriguez Turns Herself In After Machete Incident With NY Post Reporter

UPPER EAST SIDE — Pro-life students who were both verbally and physically confronted by an adjunct professor livid at them for handing out pamphlets at Hunter College are speaking out about the harrowing incident, saying they were shaken by her tirade but were determined to continue advocating for the unborn.

“It was a crazy situation. She wasn’t interested in a dialogue or an exchange of ideas. She just wanted to yell,” said Patrick Rubi, a rising junior at Hunter College, speaking about the May 2 incident in which adjunct art Professor Shellyne Rodriguez screamed and cursed at him and other students and then angrily tossed around the informational pamphlets they had displayed on a table set up in a school hallway.

Rodriguez got into even more hot water on May 23 when she held a machete to a New York Post reporter’s neck after he and a photographer knocked on her door to ask her about the incident with the pro-life students. Hunter College fired her that same day. On May 25, Rodriguez turned herself in to police. She was charged with menacing and harassment, according to a NYPD source.

Both incidents — the tirade against the students and the machete menacing — were captured on video. 

The Hunter College situation was caught on a video that the organization Students For Life of America posted to social media on May 19 that went viral.

“It was scary. The professor was very aggressive,” said Lucie Lee, a rising junior at the School of Art and Design who described herself as “100% pro-life” and was there that day helping out her Hunter College friends. “I was surprised that a professor who is supposed to be teaching students was trying to prevent free speech.”

But when asked if she would volunteer at a pro-life table again, Lee replied, “In a heartbeat.”

Rubi, a graduate of Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary in Queens, said he too would like to set up another informational table at Hunter College when classes resume for the fall semester. “It’s too important not to do it. This is not a political thing. This is a religious and moral thing that we’re doing,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Hunter College fired Rodriguez — but not right away, and it’s not clear if the tirade against the pro-life students was a factor. 

Her termination came following a bizarre encounter that day in which she held a machete to New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton’s neck at her Bronx apartment. Soon after, in an incident also caught on video, Rodriguez was seen chasing the reporter back to his car, wielding the machete as she ran. 

“Hunter College strongly condemns the unacceptable actions of Shellyne Rodriguez and has taken immediate action. Rodriguez has been relieved of her duties at Hunter College effective immediately and will not be returning to teach at the school,” the college said in a statement.

Rodriguez has had a prior run-in with the law. In 2021, she filed a federal lawsuit against the city, charging mistreatment at the hands of the NYPD when she was arrested while taking part in a “F–k the police” protest in the Bronx over the murder of George Floyd in June, 2020.

Prior to the incident with the Post reporter, Hunter College had opened an investigation into Rodriguez’s interaction with the pro-life students earlier in the month, adding that the school “is taking this matter very seriously.”

The Hunter College video shows Rodriguez standing in front of the table and telling the students in a raised voice, “You’re not educating s—t. This is f—king propaganda!”

Rubi and another student, Sidney Borland, a rising sophomore at New York University, are seen on the video standing behind the table as Rodriguez shouted at them. Rubi and Borland are both members of the Catholic Center at NYU, a center that welcomes students from several colleges. 

Students from the Catholic Students Association of Hunter College, the Catholic Center at NYU, and Students for Life of America were manning the table.

May 2, the day the students set up the table, was the same day that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation expanding abortion access on State University of New York and City University of New York campuses. 

The students said that they are aware that advocating for a pro-life position in New York, a city that has often been referred to as ‘the abortion capital of the U.S.,’ means that they are often at odds with their fellow citizens.

The students were distributing pamphlets on the dangers of chemically induced abortions as well as information about resources available to pregnant students. They also displayed models of unborn babies at various stages of growth.

“The first thing she said to us was, ‘Who let you in here?’ ” Borland recalled. “My response was to think that this woman was speaking from a place of anger and that she had probably been through a lot in her life.”

Rubi said there was no prior discussion with Rodriguez before the video and that she just approached the table and began her angry outburst. “There was no prior argument. There was no discussion. As you see (on the video), she’s the one that comes to our table and engages first,” he explained. 

At one point, Rodriguez accused the pro-life students of violence and of “triggering” her students. Rubi is seen on the video apologizing to her if he and his friends triggered her students. “Part of it is just a natural response to apologize for a transgression against someone, especially someone who’s so clearly upset,” he said.

Borland, who is seen on the video standing next to Rubi, was trying to think of calming measures she could employ. “I was trying to see if I could diffuse the situation. But I was scared. When you table, as we have done, half of it is listening to people. We want to have conversations. But that didn’t seem possible here,” she recalled.

After accusing the pro-life students of triggering her students, Rodriguez is heard saying, “What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next?” She then tosses the students’ pamphlets and leaves.

Jorge Tavares, a rising senior at Hunter College said Rodriguez returned a second time. “She came back and called us fascists,” he recalled. 

He added that he would have been reluctant to set up a table again when the fall semester begins if not for the fact that the Catholic Students Association has received assurances from the director of campus security and director of student organizations that a security guard will be posted nearby for their safety.

Rodriguez did not respond to requests from The Tablet for an interview. 

Prior to the machete incident, the PSC Graduate Center, a labor union representing professors and graduate assistants at City University of New York, posted a statement of support for Rodriguez, charging that she was “fully justified” in her actions.

The letter also accused the pro-life students of spreading disinformation. “This kind of disinformation should never be allowed to take root at our college,” the statement read. “Students for Life and other far-right groups are not welcome on our campuses. Anti-abortion propaganda actually endangers people’s lives, and incites other far-right views and actions to emerge.” 

The incident with Rodriguez wasn’t the first time the pro-life students were confronted that day. A few hours later, a young woman came over to the table and grabbed the models of the unborn babies and put them in her mouth and then turned her anger onto the students.

“She was full of rage. It was an explosion of anger,” recalled Savannah Craven, an activist with Students for Life of America. 

The unidentified woman returned with the models, which she had strung chicken wire through and painted with red paint, the students said.

The incident was reported to campus security.