Cop Beaters, Convicts, and CUNY: a University with a Radical Problem

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February 26, 2015
CONTACT: David Seidemann, dseidemann@earthlink.net

Cop Beaters, Convicts, and CUNY: a University with a Radical Problem

protest-2The City University of New York (CUNY) has a problem: three of the six people charged in beating of policemen on the Brooklyn Bridge were teachers at CUNY (Eric Linsker, Cindy Gorn, and Jarrod Shanahan).[i]

Unfortunately, CUNY seems to have a soft spot for violent radicalism – and punching police is mild in comparison to the activities of past CUNY teachers

  • After having served 16 years for explosives possession, Susan Rosenberg, former member of the Weather Underground, was hired as an adjunct professor at CUNY’s John Jay College. Rosenberg was also a suspect in the Brinks robbery that killed two policemen and a security guard. After four semesters, CUNY did not renew her contract following lobbying by both the New York City and Rockland County chapters of the Police Emerald Society.[ii]  That did not stop John Jay College from holding “a celebration of Susan Rosenberg” in 2011.[iii]
  • Mohamed Yousry, an adjunct lecturer at CUNY’s York College, was convicted in 2005 of providing material aid to terrorism.[iv]

Over the years, major CUNY faculty groups have expressed support for radicals of this sort:

  • In 2002, the CUNY faculty union contributed to a defense fund for Sami Al-Arian, who later pleaded guilty to contributing services to a terrorist organization. In 2000, the same union contributed $5000 to a committee dedicated to freeing Lori Berenson,[v] an American who was convicted in Peru on terrorism charges.[vi]
  • In 2004, the Chair of the CUNY Faculty Senate published a letter in support of rehiring Susan Rosenberg, the convicted former member of the Weather Underground.[vii] Similarly, three days after Mohamed Yousry was sentenced on terrorism charges, the Senate Chair speculated that he might be looking for work as a teaching adjunct.[viii]
  • In 2007, the CUNY faculty union passed a resolution calling for “freedom now for Mumia Abu-Jamal,” [ix] who was convicted in1982 for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Note that the union calls for the immediate freedom of Abu-Jamal, not a retrial, betraying its bias against evidence based decisions .

And with an educational incubator like CUNY’s, it’s not surprising how some students respond:

  • Farrooque Ahmed, who graduated from CUNY’s College of Staten Island in 2003, was sentenced in 2011 to 23 years in prison for his role in planning bombings in Washington D.C.[x]
  • Syed Hashmi, a 2003 graduate of CUNY’s Brooklyn College, was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years for attempting to supply military gear to Al Qaeda.[xi]

The world-view of those who teach at a university counts. There is a pattern of support for radical causes among CUNY faculty.

Parents, tuition payers, and the tax paying public should think twice about choosing CUNY.


[i] Eric Linsker: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/12/14/1010-wins-suspect-charged-with-assaulting-2-cops-during-brooklyn-bridge-protest/ Cindy Gorn: http://www.hunteruap.org/faculty/affiliated/ http://www.hunteruap.org/about/ Eric Shanahan:  http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/brooklyn-teaching-assistant-arraigned-on-brooklyn-bridge-brawl-charges-1.9768985 http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/brooklyn-teaching-assistant-arraigned-on-brooklyn-bridge-brawl-charges-1.9768985

[ii] http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/ex-radical-pushed-teaching-jobs-article-1.633621


[iv] http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/nyregion/07translator.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

[v] http://www.psc-cuny.org/sites/default/files/Resolution%20for%20Lori%20Berenson.pdf

[vi] http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=80894

[vii] https://www.dropbox.com/s/vjif9e5lj5cz572/Letter%20to%20NY%20Post-Dec.%2024%2C%202004.pdf?dl=0


[ix] http://archive.psc-cuny.org/PDF/DAminutes31May07.pdf

[x] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farooque_Ahmed http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/farooque-ahmed-man-busted-alleged-metro-bomb-plot-wanted-fight-overseas-fbi-article-1.192605

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