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Former professor pleads guilty to threatening reporters with machete

FOX News correspondent CB Cotton reports on Shellyne Rodriguez’s guilty plea and sentencing after incident with NY Post reporters.

A New York professor notoriously caught on camera holding a machete to a reporter’s neck last year has reportedly been fired from her latest teaching gig after espousing anti-Israel views. 

Shellyne Rodriguez, who was terminated last year from her position at New York City’s Hunter College, was fired again – this time from her most recent role at Cooper Union in Manhattan. 

“Cooper Union has fired me because of a social media post I made about ‘Zionists’… effective immediately,” Rodriguez, 47, wrote in a Jan. 23 email to students, according to the New York Post. Cooper Union Students for Justice in Palestine shared the email on Instagram the next day. 

“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!” 


Reporter is standing outside of a door with person holding a machete

Shellyne Rodriguez threatens a New York Post reporter by holding a large machete to his throat on May 23, 2023, in the Bronx. (Robert Miller for the NY Post)

“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 student group wrote, calling on followers to email the art school dean. 

Reached by Fox News Digital about Rodriguez’s reported termination, a spokesperson for Cooper Union said, “We don’t provide comment on personnel matters.”

The Post noted how Rodriguez is no longer listed as an adjunct on Cooper Union’s faculty page. 

The reasoning for her latest termination was not immediately clear but came after Rodriguez participated earlier last month in a CUNY for Palestine virtual panel in which she spoke about the possibility of a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement rent strike in New York involving not making rent payments to Jewish landlords or landlords who support Israel. 

Her remarks, widely condemned online as antisemitic, also included Rodriguez explaining, “the idea that we could be a Trojan horse, that we are inside empire, and you’re here to upend it.” Of others supporting Israel, she told those on the panel, “You probably wait tables where they go to brunch. Find them, go to their offices, don’t let them sleep.” 

According to the Post, Rodriguez also torched former Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. as a “roach” and “Zionist lapdog” in one post on her own Instagram account. 

“Jewish students at Cooper Union are very relieved that they fired her,” Jeffrey Lax, a CUNY law professor and co-founder of Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY, which advocates for Jewish students on campus, told the Post. “Her comments were really despicable.” 

Shellyne Rodriguez walks along the street

Shellyne Rodriguez walks along the street in Bronx, New York on May 25, 2023. (Kevin C. Downs for Fox News Digital)


“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 told the outlet. “They’re not to be commended, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Last May, Rodriguez, an adjunct professor at Hunter College at the time, was caught on camera cursing at students who set up a pro-life table, claiming they were “triggering” others. 

“You’re not educating s—. This is f—ing propaganda,” Rodriguez said in the video shared online by Students for Life of America. “What are you going to do like anti-trans next?”

When a New York Post reporter arrived at her apartment seeking comment about the incident, she was caught on video again – this time holding a blade to the reporter’s neck. 

Shellyne Rodriguez

Shellyne Rodriguez leaves The Bronx County Hall of Justice after being sentenced to 13 months of behavioral therapy for menacing, Oct. 2, 2023. (Kevin C Downs for Fox News Digital)

She pleaded guilty to harassment and menacing in connection to the attack on the reporter, the Post reported, citing the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. If she completes a therapy program, she would be permitted to withdraw the misdemeanor plea under the terms of her plea agreement and would be sentenced on the violation to a conditional discharge. 

Rodriguez was sentenced in October to 13 months of behavioral therapy for menacing.


Her termination from Cooper Union also comes months after pro-Palestinian protesters there banged on the windows of the school library while Jewish students were inside. 

Rodriguez also notably organized “f— police” demonstrations in 2020 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 

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