CUNY’s hiring process under scrutiny after arrest of ‘radical’ ex-prof Shellyne Rodriguez who attacked Post reporter
Taxpayer-funded CUNY is facing calls to crack down on its vetting of adjuncts after since-fired professor Shellyne Rodriguez — who proudly displays anti-cop tattoos — was arrested Thursday for holding a machete to a Post reporter’s neck.
Rodriguez, who has “FTP” (for “f–k the police”) inked on her fingers, flashed a brazen smile after she was slapped with harassment and menacing charges and escorted out of the NYPD’s 43rd Precinct in The Bronx in handcuffs.
The 45-year-old artist and community organizer — who had gone viral for cursing out pro-life students at CUNY’s Hunter College in the lead-up to Tuesday’s machete saga — was promptly fired by the school.
Now, some are questioning how someone like Rodriguez – a self-described “black Marxist” who has helped organize “FTP” protests that led to mass arrests — even ended up teaching at the public college in the first place.
“This is so beyond, beyond,” former CUNY trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld told The Post on Thursday, adding “there should be an inquiry of this professors’ hiring.”
“CUNY has become a farce,” he continued, adding, “You have revolutionaries and lunatics running the place.
“What you need is for the governor and mayor to create a commission to clean up CUNY.”
The formal hiring process for adjunct professors at CUNY is lacking because vetting is simply down to department heads – allowing for someone like Rodriguez to be recruited, a source familiar with the process said.
“The people doing the hirings are radicals and they seek out radicals,” claimed the source, who is a department head at another CUNY campus.
Unlike full-time faculty positions where there is extensive vetting, the source said adjunct professors are often just hired by a particular department’s personnel and budget committee.
Almost all department chairs involved in recruitment are members of the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY professors and adjuncts, according to the source, which described the group as left-wing and radical.
“The union attracts lunatics both full-time and part-time,” the source said.
In the wake of the Rodriguez saga, New York Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar called on CUNY to take a new look at their hiring policies.
“It’s becoming more and more apparent that they, on the college level, the professors should probably also go through a bit of a psychological evaluation,” Kassar said.
“I don’t necessarily think you’re supposed to be examining them like you examine a police officer … this might be the first time [with] a machete, but it is not the first time we have heard about CUNY — and to some degree SUNY — college professors being the person who is most extreme in the classrooms.”
CUNY has 25 colleges across the five boroughs, while SUNY, the state university system, is comprised of 64 institutions.
Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens), who obtained his MFA from Hunter and spent decades teaching at CUNY, said he hoped the hiring of “intolerant, radical” individuals such as Rodriguez wasn’t part of a pattern.
“People have to be vetted. People have to listen to both sides. And people have to be tolerant,” he said.
Rodriguez “should have never been allowed to work with students,” Holden added. “I think the provost should examine her class observations and student evaluations to see who dropped the ball in the department and allowed this maniac in the classroom.”
Under CUNY’s current policies for hiring adjuncts, would-be professors are required to sign an oath to the US Constitution during the application process.
Before she was axed on Tuesday, Rodriguez had worked at Hunter College as an adjunct arts professor since at least 2018, according to SeeThroughNY. Her highest annual paycheck was $26,684, which she received last year, according to the site.
CUNY’s four-year colleges, such as Hunter, gets a major chunk of their funding from the state, while the city pitches in to back the network’s community colleges.
CUNY didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment about its vetting process.
In a statement, PSC President James Davis said the union “has a duty to ensure that every worker that we represent is afforded the full protections of their contractual due-process rights.
“The PSC does not condone violence, nor do we comment on members’ ongoing disciplinary proceedings. The union has not released or endorsed any statement regarding any incidents involving Professor Shellyne Rodriguez,” Davis said.
The mounting questions over the school’s vetting process came as Rodriguez turned herself in Thursday morning over the caught-on-camera ordeal involving the machete.
The ex-professor held her head high as she was later led out of the Bronx precinct with her slew of tattoos on full display, including the “FTP” inked on her fingers, as well as an image of brass knuckles and the boxing term “southpaw” scrawled across her left hand.
She refused to answer questions as she was escorted to an NYPD vehicle, but started grinning when The Post asked why she opted to pull the machete in the first place.
A second-degree menacing charge in New York is a misdemeanor that can bring up to a year in prison, while harassment in the second degree, a violation, is punishable by up to 15 days.
The shocking chain of events that led to Rodriguez’s arrest unfolded Tuesday when a veteran Post reporter knocked on the door of her Bronx apartment to ask her about the May 2 footage of her cursing out Hunter College pro-life students.
“Get the f–k away from my door, or I’m gonna chop you up with this machete!” the manic art professor shouted from behind her closed door just seconds before barging out with the blade.
After the reporter and a photographer exited the building, dashcam video captured Rodriguez — still armed with the machete — chasing them down the street.
Rodriguez is currently embroiled in a legal saga with the NYPD over allegations officers abused her when she was arrested in the Bronx during a George Floyd protest in June 2020. The professor also helped organize several violent “FTP” protests in the Bronx through 2020.