The art professor fired for holding a machete to a reporter’s throat and throwing a pro-life campus display on the ground is a self-described “black Marxist” who posted violent poetry on her personal website and said she identified with “real drag queens, real street dykes,” and “risk-taking, sexually free nihilistic utopians.”
Shellyne Rodriguez, a 46-year-old adjunct art professor at New York’s Hunter College, “has been relieved of her duties at Hunter College effective immediately, and will not be returning to teach at the school,” said Hunter College spokesman Vince DiMiceli on Tuesday.
Two videos of Rodriguez’s escalating aggression went viral. On May 2, she accosted a Students for Life of America display portraying the effects of the abortion pill on an unborn child. On Tuesday, a New York Post reporter posted a video of Rodriguez holding a machete to his neck, then chasing him down the block while wielding the deadly weapon.
The twin videos vividly illustrate the violence and hostility pro-life young people are “dealing with on a daily basis … unhinged, unreasonable, and aggressive opposition to pro-life free speech, including from those in leadership at schools across the country,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins.
YouTube footage of the May 2 encounter shows Rodriguez launching into a profanity-laden rant against young adults presenting the effects of abortion on the unborn at Hunter College, a part of the City University of New York. “This is bulls—. This is violent,” she said of the scientifically accurate, life-affirming display. “You can’t even have a f—ing baby,” she told pro-life student Patrick Rubi, assuming the gender of a male student.
“Get this s— the f— out of here! F— this s—!” she said as she twice threw fetal models and topic cards to the ground with her hands. Hunter College administrators reportedly called Rodriguez into an administrative hearing on May 12, pending an “investigation.”
“This is clearly unacceptable behavior for a professional in any field, but particularly stunning for someone who is meant to educate students in a professional and unbiased manner,” said Students for Life of America Northeast Regional Coordinator Taylor McGee.
But CUNY for Abortion Rights and Palestine Solidarity Alliance praised the professor for her “fully justified” and “courageous action” on May 2. “This kind of disinformation should never be allowed to take root at our college.” “We refuse to allow CUNY to welcome Students for Life and other far-right groups onto our campuses.”
“Anti-abortion propaganda actually endangers people’s lives, and incites other far-right views and actions to emerge,” the group said in an Instagram post. “In solidarity with Shellyne, we commit to disrupting, dismantling, and uprooting any of these far-right groups when they attempt to plant seeds of harm.”
When New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton came to her door Tuesday morning, she first threatened and then assaulted him, according to published accounts. When he knocked, she yelled, “Get the f— away from my door or I’m gonna chop you up with this machete!” from inside her apartment, the reporter states. Video taken moments later shows Rodriguez open the door and hold the machete to his neck.
Footage then captures Rodriguez following the reporter downstairs onto the street, wielding a machete and making unspecified threats, including, “If I see you on this block one more f—ing time.” She then chased him down the street, with machete in hand, before kicking him in the shins.
By “attacking a pro-life student group—and holding a machete to the neck of a New York Post reporter—Ms. Rodriguez is demonstrating just how deranged and ideologically strident some on the academic Left have become,” said Gerard Kassar, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, a potent, pro-life force in Empire State politics. “In academia today, any dissension of progressive orthodoxy comes at a price. Sadly, many moderate to conservative students now hold their tongues rather than risk the wrath of professors and administrators.”
Hunter College announced her firing shortly afterward.
Rodriguez has long walked the line of revolutionary socialist rhetoric and incitement of violence, according to reports. In 2019, the combination artist and community organizer led Decolonize This Place, which led a targeted campaign of vandalism against the New York City transit system on Jan. 31 to demand “free” subway fares.
The group urged its members to get out and “f— s— up,” culminating in $100,000 damage and 13 arrests, including two for harming police officers.
Rodriguez’s personal website posts a handful of texts, including June Jordan’s poem “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies,” which an LGBTQ+ analyst describes as envisioning “a new, unknowable world made possible by black feminist vengeance.”
“I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon surrounded by my comrades singing terrible revenge in merciless accelerating rhythms,” it says. “I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore.”
Rodriguez described herself as “a black Marxist” in a 2019 article, adding that she hopes a world revolution will ensue following the ideology of a radical, antisemitic poet born LeRoi Jones who later changed his name to Amiri Baraka. “I, too, like Baraka, believe that the black proletariat is the vanguard of the world revolution.”
(Baraka is also a favorite of Biden administration Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who has pursued dozens of charges against pro-life advocates while claiming transgender procedures may be a minor’s constitutional right.)
Her essay goes on to denounce the United States as “Amerikkka” and to cite the “Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions” by Communist Party founder Vladimir Lenin.
Several colleges have hired Rodriguez to share her insights on art and socialist intersectional politics. She gave a visiting lecture on “Insurgent Practices against Neoliberalism” at the School of Visual Arts in 2022.
In a profanity-laden discussion, Rodriguez quoted Sarah Schulman, who deplored the wealthier people who displaced her “artist” neighbors: “freaky, faggy, community-based people who took drugs” and included “real drag queens, real street dykes … and really inappropriate, risk-taking sexually free nihilistic utopians.”
“That sounds like my crowd. I don’t know about y’all,” commented Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was the inaugural artist-in-residence for The Latinx Project, housed at New York University in February 2019. She curated an art exhibit focused on “displacement and the ways it affects the Latinx community in New York” through gentrification.
She also wrote about “The Unbridgeable Chasm Between the Bronx and the Police” in 2017.
Professors who blend radical ideology with violent activism have no place in academia, say her critics.
“Demanding that students agree with progressive positions is not education, it’s indoctrination,” said Kassar. “Hunter Professor Shellyne Rodriguez has no business teaching young minds, and CUNY is right to dismiss her. New York City and State must ensure that Ms. Rodriguez is not rehired by any other public college or university in the state.”
Rodriguez’s fate, and her previous acts of intimidation, will never silence pro-life students, said Hawkins.
“Free speech rights students are afraid to use don’t exist, which is why we have to keep fighting for our constitutional freedoms.”
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