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CUNY adjunct professor charged after violent protest

Photo courtesy of goodreads.com
Photo courtesy of goodreads.com

Eric Linsker, a CUNY adjunct professor who taught at Queens College, was arrested on Dec. 14 after a protest and faces a number of charges including assault in the second degree, resisting arrest, rioting in the first degree and unlawful possession of marijuana, authorities said.

After joining a separate demonstration at the Brooklyn Bridge, Linsker allegedly attempted to throw a trash can at cops. However, two officers ordered him to stop, which may have led to a struggle. He ran away to escape from custody, but was arrested later at his home, police said.

Linsker taught a poetry class last semester through the English department. He is also an adjunct professor at Baruch College and New York City College of Technology.

Controversy immediately developed over Linsker’s relationship to CUNY.

Brian Curran, a state assemblyman, wrote a letter to Chancellor James Milliken denouncing Linsker’s actions and calling for an internal investigation.

“The actions of Linsker both on the Brooklyn Bridge and in the courtroom at his arraignment were not befitting of a CUNY professor. The CUNY administration should not ignore this incident and should immediately suspend Professor Linsker pending an internal investigation of the incident or a conclusion to criminal charges pending against him,” Curran said in his letter.

Should CUNY not investigate Linsker, Curran vowed not to support any legislation to fund CUNY.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also gave his opinion on the matter and recommended Linsker be “removed from his position” should he be found guilty.

“I think an attack on a police officer goes against the grain of our civilization and our society. I think it is absolutely unacceptable,” De Blasio said.

A Facebook page titled “Fire Eric Linsker NOW” was created immediately after it was discovered he was an adjunct professor. As of Feb. 11, it received 4,399 and calls to “build support for the termination of this professional agitator who, at public expense, imposes his lawless ideology on the minds of the children of this city.”

On Jan. 1, QC President Felix Matos Rodriguez sent an email informing students Linsker would be reassigned in the English department. Originally, Linsker was supposed to teach during the winter break. However, President Rodriguez said the college changed its policy.

“Queens College determined that it was in the best interests of its students, after consultation with University administration and legal counsel, to relieve Mr. Linsker of teaching duties and to reassign him to academic support functions in the English department.” Rodriguez said in the email. “Other faculty has been assigned to teach in Mr. Linsker’s place.  Mr. Linsker’s status as a part-time lecturer will be reevaluated following the disposition of the criminal charges against him,”

Furthermore, Linsker would not be teaching during the spring semester despite a report by Capital New York indicating so.

Noteworthy among the coverage of his arrest was a bag he carried containing hammers; however, the New York Police Department said it was not used by Linsker.

Linsker is not currently teaching any courses at any CUNY college and will be in court on March 23 to face the set of charges against him.

Brandon Jordan

Brandon is a senior majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Business And Liberal Arts. He covers labor and activism at CUNY. He also likes to cook, bake, run and make puns, sometimes not in that order. You can follow him on Twitter @BrandonJ_R and email him at brandon[at]theknightnews.com.

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