The Machete Standard: The Firing of an Activist Professor Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Below is my column in the New York Post on Hunter College Professor Shellyne Rodríguez and her termination after menacing a reporter with a machete. She was previously defended by students and faculty after trashing a pro-life display.  The fact is that misconduct by activist faculty is on the rise, as is the underlying sense of impunity. The problem is that the termination may set a machete standard, but there is still doubt over what else can compel termination in today’s academic environment. Clearly, abusing students and destroying pro-life displays is not one of those things.

Here is the column:

Professor Shellyne Rodríguez is out of a job.

Hunter College fired the art professor after she held a machete to the neck of a New York Post reporter and threatened to “chop you up.”

The most remarkable aspect of the story may not be a professor brandishing a knife, but a college actually finding a basis to fire an activist academic.

Hunter College, after all, had refused to fire Rodríguez after she trashed a pro-life table run by students.

She is not the first academic to attack a pro-life display or even assault others.

Indeed, prior professors were celebrated at their schools for taking such actions against pro-life or conservative displays.

A couple days earlier, Rodríguez spotted students with pro-life material at the college.

She was captured on a videotape telling the students that “you’re not educating s–t […] This is f–king propaganda. What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next? This is bulls–t. This is violent. You’re triggering my students.”

Unlike the professor, the students remained calm and respectful.

One even said “sorry” to the accusation that being pro-life was triggering for her students.

It did not help.

Rodríguez continued to rave, stating, “No you’re not — because you can’t even have a f–king baby. So you don’t even know what that is. Get this s–t the f–k out of here.”

In an Instagram post, she is then shown trashing the table.

Hunter College, however, did not consider this unhinged attack to be sufficient to terminate Rodríguez.

Not surprisingly, Rodríguez was undeterred.

When the New York Post’s Reuven Fenton went to her apartment to ask her about the earlier incident, Rodríguez came out wielding a machete and put it to his neck.

She then threatened him, “Get the f–k away from my door! Get the f–k away from my door!”

After briefly going inside, the armed Rodríguez pursued the reporter and his photographer as they attempted to leave.

On the street, she threatened that “if I see you on this block one more f–king time, you’re gonna … Get the f–k off the block! Get the f–k out of here, yo!”

She then chased them and kicked the reporter in the shins.

That was finally enough for Hunter College, though it is still not clear where the actual termination line is between trashing displays and abusing students (not a fireable offense) and a machete attack (fireable).

Before she was fired, Rodríguez was defended by students and colleagues.

The PSC Graduate Center, the labor organization of graduate and professional schools at the City University of New York, actually said Rodríguez was “justified” in trashing the display, which the organization described as “dangerously false propaganda” and “disinformation.”

The statement of the center captures the double standard on many campuses today.

The truth is that, if the display was a pro-choice or Black Lives Matter display, the professor would have been canned before the last flyer made it to the floor.

When it comes to heckling, attacking or threatening conservatives, however, all bets are off.

Former CUNY law dean Mary Lu Bilek even insisted that disrupting a speech on free speech was free speech.

Another recent example comes from the State University of New York at Albany, where sociology professor Renee Overdyke shut down a pro-life display and then resisted arrest.

One student is heard screaming, “She’s a [expletive] professor.”

That is precisely the point! Overdyke was showing students that they do not have to tolerate opposing views on campus.

There is no report of any discipline of Overdyke, who is also being supported by many on campus.

We have seen a steady stream of professors shouting down speakers, committing property damageparticipating in riotsverbally attacking students, or even taking violent action in protests.

Others, like Fresno State University public health professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher, recruited students to destroy pro-life messages.

At the University of California Santa Barbara, professors actually rallied around feminist studies associate professor Mireille Miller-Young, who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display. 

Despite pleading guilty to criminal assault, she was not fired and received overwhelming support from the students and faculty.

She was later honored as a model for women advocates.

Other faculty confine themselves to calling for or justifying the violence of others.

We saw professors advocating “detonating white people,” denouncing policecalling for Republicans to suffer, strangling police officers, celebrating the death of conservativescalling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters, and other outrageous statements.

University of Rhode Island professor Erik Loomis defended the murder of a conservative protester and said he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence.

The university later elevated Loomis to director of graduate studies of history.

He continued to espouse such views as denouncing “science, statistics, and technology [as] all inherently racist.”

Despite my disgust with many of these comments, I supported these faculty as a matter of free speech.

But the dwindling number of faculty on the right get no such support.

Conservatives and libertarians understand that they have no cushion or protection.

Even a single, later-deleted tweet can result in suspension.

Shellyne Rodríguez may have been fired, but chances are some new college will endorse her work  exploring “strategies of survival against erasure and subjugation.”

She might want to practice survival skills without the machete.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and a professor at George Washington University Law School.

40 thoughts on “The Machete Standard: The Firing of an Activist Professor Leaves More Questions Than Answers”

  1. The quickest way to stop child sex traffick…is a couple good men. Who put a bullet in pimps! The pump won’t rent out again to them…not will be ever know….which John bullets him???!!!???if we wanted sex trade could be eviscerated in america and rendered a no go thing! But someone else likes it…who are those pervert? Bc Americans could end it easily and qiick…..but why don’t we? Ppl like Rhodes could be do thst…..but the system likes it…until when? ….and the in kids the rub! We can turn uhh it offf. Stewart Rhodes could have but the Fed courts are not ready? Get ready! You only pretend this system…dramatic is going to maintain and make all you all defend it. You cant. It’s civil war you sent Rhodes to 25 jail for for today’s issies! Hmm. Why aren’t traffickers in jail. Oh Stewart’s idea the should be in jail is more dangerous than them in jail. I get it ….what a ducking terrorost….how dare him!

  2. There’s Teresa chain sawed their balls off. And who got fired? Not the song commander….he cried bc once again he sent systems over without weapons! Again! But still got promoted? Why?? And how….it’s because a real cruel joke on the tax payer. The Nazi opm….hired the Drs shadow government. Decades ago. ketch up!!

    1. And to it may concern…..I feel like…Rhodes feels! So you better toss me in jail too! I feel like my country is being lost! And I say that to other people! I actually took a grievance to the school board. I lost while the principal who robs the cradle won. Meanwhile to take my kid to Minnesota to do right by brands I risk them kidnapping her…..into their ideology. A kid. When I know best. So yeah I have lots of Stewart tendency on me! Where do you want me to turn myself in?because according to that judge I will always be a terrorist and never a patriot! Where should I turn myself in?

      1. Nd y the way …there re e bodie on my lnd…..where you ‘ll upload to dig them up or me? I have you the dude plte….you won’t look into it despite .my .mom ….who requexted! You better get the ded off! You have my consent! That guy I reported to you ‘ll ok likely killer! -loook- my heir…don’t wreck her! Perfect! Child. Don’t wreck her! Get the murderer without wrecking my kid!

  3. The only upside to colleges that hire employees based on demographics and political viewpoint, instead of merit, is that the leftists within their ranks are becoming increasingly stupid.

  4. Ohio Republicans Take Machete To Direct Democracy

    A GOP-backed state law that took effect in April made a number of changes to voting, including banning most August special elections. But on May 10, Republican lawmakers approved a statewide vote this upcoming August to decide on a resolution to make it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution.

    Republicans want voters to raise the threshold for approving future amendments to the Ohio Constitution from a simple majority to 60%, before a possible November ballot measure to codify abortion rights in the constitution.

    The resolution that would be decided in August would also make it significantly harder for groups to get onto the ballot in the future by requiring signatures from every county in the state, not half the counties as is law now.


    Ohio Republicans are afraid that a pro-choice referendum could pass under current rules. So they have to raise the bar! As one Republican legislator said, “We don’t want the public doing an end-run around us”. In other words, Republicans don’t trust the people to make their own choices.


      The above blog stooge has never had carnal knowledge with a woman. He knows nothing about making babies, nor having a life. The above Blog Stooge is just a sad paid troll who copies/pastes whatever is provided to him by his handlers

      Don’t be a stoogie troll!


      Ben Franklin et al. gave Americans a severely restricted-vote republic, which democracies have been since inception in Greece.

      States were given the power to set vote criteria.

      The “Reconstruction Amendments” are invalid, illegitimate, illicit and unconstitutional having been improperly ratified with a gun to America’s head.

      Violence is not enumerated in the constitutional amendment process.

      Turnout in 1788 was 11.6 % by design of the Founders and Framers.

      The original intent was severe limitation and restriction of the vote.

      “the people are nothing but a great beast…

      I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

      “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

      “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

      – Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

      “[We gave you] a republic, if you can keep it.”

      – Ben Franklin, 1787

    3. Are we a direct democracy or a democratic republic. While I personally prefer a simple majority to amend a state constitution, it is not unreasonable to require 60%. A change to a constitution is much more serious of a matter than passing a statute. For the US Constitution, one needs 67% of both Houses of Congress, followed by 75% of state legislatures (meaning both houses of those state legislatures). By comparison 60% is not that high of a threshold – especially, as noted, for a constitutional change.

      1. It is nigh on impossible to ratify even one constitutional amendment.

        Lincoln et al. rammed through THREE with a gun to America’s head.

        Violence is not part of the constitutional amendment process.

        The “Reconstruction Amendments” must be fully abrogated.

        America must be brought back onto the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    4. Anonymous – Ratifying an amendment to the federal constitution requires the votes of at least 3/4 of state legislatures or conventions. The drafters of the federal Constitution wisely recognized that a constitutional amendment, which has the effect of taking power out of the hands of the legislature, should be difficult. In Ohio, they are proposing to raise the super majority vote to only 60%, the same level at which cloture can be invoked to halt debate in the US Senate. It seems quite reasonable, hardly a knife attack.

  5. This is the result of schools valuing political advocacy over all other qualifications in hiring. Mediocrities love it because they can’t stand out with intellect, but by god they can prove their political reliability.


    “The ‘Great Emancipator’ and the Issue of Race – Abraham Lincoln’s Program of Black Resettlement”

    “Congress Votes Funds for Resettlement”

    “In 1860, the 3,185 slaves in the District of Columbia were owned by just two percent of the District’s residents. In April 1862, Lincoln arranged to have a bill introduced in Congress that would compensate District slave-holders an average of $300 for each slave. An additional $100,000 was appropriated 55

    to be expended under the direction of the President of the United States, to aid in the colonization and settlement of such free persons of African descent now residing in said District, including those to be liberated by this act, as may desire to emigrate to the Republic of Haiti or Liberia, or such other country beyond the limits of the United States as the President may determine.

    “When he signed the bill into law on April 16, Lincoln stated: “I am gratified that the two principles of compensation, and colonization, are both recognized, and practically applied in the act.”56

    “Two months later, as part of the (second) Confiscation Act of July 1862, Congress appropriated an additional half-million dollars for the President’s use in resettling blacks who came under Union military control. Rejecting criticism from prominent “radicals” such as Senator Charles Sumner, most Senators and Representatives expressed support for the bold project in a joint resolution declaring57

    that the President is hereby authorized to make provision for the transportation, colonization and settlement in some tropical country beyond the limits of the United States, of such persons of African race, made free by the provisions of this act, as may be willing to emigrate …

    “Lincoln now had Congressional authority and $600,000 in authorized funds to proceed with his plan for resettlement.”

    – Robert Morgan

  7. Funny how the unhinged left is always on the lookout for “safe spaces” because they feel threatened by all those “white supremacists,” yet they’re the ones with the machetes and the “let’s kill conservatives” chants.

  8. Any conservative Hunter College students should start wearing sheathed machetes on their belts – in and out of class – as a “show of solidarity” with Professor Rodriguez.

    1. @JDaveF,

      That would actually be illegal. Just to wear a machete.

      As to the professor, I have to wonder about Turley.
      He brings up a good point about earlier actions being defended until you actually have someone committing assault w a deadly weapon.

      Perhaps the tide is turning or rather the rubber band has been stretched as far as it could go and is coming back towards the right?

    2. students should start wearing sheathed machetes on their belts

      New York has strict Knife laws. Half the pocket knives I carry are illegal to posses in NY. I do posses 2 or 3 machetes, they are from my parents and inlaws, when we cleaned out their houses. The question not asked, why was the Prof in possession of such a weapon.

  9. JT, I’m apparently the first to note that a machete is not a knife.

    An unhinged attack on students is indicative of someone that has rage issues, and the least Hunter could have done is suspend her.

    Murderous intent is somewhat different in that it is a felony. This is a person that requires inpatient psychiatric care.

    Considering that this assault occurred in NYC, Alvin Bragg may choose not to prosecute.

  10. This nutjob of an adjunct art professor is the least of our worries. We have 2 disgusting situations here 1) where is the DA filing charges of attempted murder against the POC? and 2) when are the endowers of this university going to fire the imbeciles who hired this worthless agenda promoter in the first place. Someone as unhinged, angry and violence prone as her should never been hired to instruct anyone. The real problems with universities these days are those doing the hiring of staff.

  11. When people commit atrocious acts and are praised and given approval then they view that as positive reinforcement of their acts, and being silent in the face of atrocious and illegal acts is almost but not quite as bad. Silence implies consent. What do people do when they get positive reinforcement? They repeat or magnify their acts and activities until they do something horrible resulting in deaths, injury, damage. This is hardly rocket science. Anybody who has raised children or trained animals knows this. It will only get worse unless you stop it.
    The reporter has civil recourse and should use it. This was assault and then battery and I would classify a machete held to the neck as life threatening. A simple slip leads to a carotid laceration or major vein disruption then death from bleeding out in minutes or less. You are lucky to save someone in an MICU if a tracheostomy tube suddenly erodes through a carotid artery with a catastrophic hemorrhage as the result. Blood everywhere and the field restricted. A pumping artery does not pump for long in that situation. Never a pretty site. I’m sure any knowledgeable trauma surgeon in NYC would tell you the same. Certainly the suit would be worth more than $ 5 million.

    1. And we honestly think DA Bragg is going to press charges against his own? Come on – that’s not how it works in NYC now. Your race is your get out of jail free card.

  12. Despite my disgust with many of these comments, I supported these faculty as a matter of free speech.

    That’s great. We’ve gone from sidewalk chalk being erased to machetes to the throat. Have you considered simply condemning these faculty as a matter survival? Because at the rate we’re going, it will be of little consolation to know you defended the regimes free speech as they prepared to drop the guillotine on your neck.

  13. Shellyne Rodríguez may have been fired, but chances are some new college will endorse her work exploring “strategies of survival against erasure and subjugation.”

    Joe Biden’s handlers are said to be in discussions about replacing Karine Jean-Pierre with the machete wielding Shellyne Rodriguez to prevent authentic journalists from asking any questions. Banning news stories is in their genes

  14. It is interesting to juxtapose the machete wielding Professor, and the infamous AOC. The Representative from New York City that denies anyone is in danger in NYC, it is a lie propagated by the right.

    The question then becomes. Why does an educated liberal fall for such propaganda and seek out an illegal machete. There are laws against the possesion instruments of mass slashings.

  15. She displays a unique ability to express herself with a three word vocabulary. Her ability to add nuance is complimented by skilled use of the machete and shin kicking.

  16. NYPD’s response to Shellyne Rodriguez’s assault with the machete clearly illustrate the double standard of justice in America. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in the Biden administration nominates Rodriguez for the Congressional Medal of Freedom for “saving democracy”. Such a heroine for justice. Thank you, Jonathan, for an excellent article.

    1. It’s been boiling a while now. The colonel who chainsaw off the red horse balls I. The 90s got fired. The Egyptian leading the show never did. Even though he knew about 911 years earlier. machette …chainsaw…what difference does it make?

      1. You ought to take that chainsaw seriosly! The col was an Egyptian not an americn. His fidelity was never to america…and look where it for us! Ears and dead! But Ginny and Teresa were fired for that forgiven officer…and we never ask who is ppl doing all the hiriring…w they don’t need to…they already own us….it’s so sad..we been so taken over like this!

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