Retired Police Chief who resigned from SUNY Brockport over convicted cop killer’s speaking event accepts new job
CHILI, N.Y. (WHEC) — The retired Brockport Police Chief who resigned from his position as an adjunct professor at SUNY Brockport over the description of a convicted cop killer as a "political prisoner" in the write-up of his speaking event at the college has accepted a new position.
Daniel Varrenti had been teaching at SUNY Brockport for 22 years when he resigned over the event that called Jalil Muntaqim, also known as Anthony Bottom, a "political prisoner". Muntaqim was convicted of killing Patrolmen Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini in 1971. He was also a Black Panther and a member of the Black Liberation Army. Click here for more information about the Black Liberation Army.
Varrenti told News10NBC Anchor Nikki Rudd at the time that the incident was "the last straw" for him and said he felt he could no longer be affiliated with the college.
Wednesday, Varrenti told News10NBC in an email that shortly after news of his resignation from SUNY Brockport broke, a New York City-based college offered him a job, but because he was not interested in relocating, he declined the offer. At around the same time, Varrenti said Robert Wesleyan College reached out asking if he would be interested in joining its Criminal Justice Department as an adjunct instructor to teach its Criminal Investigation course.
Varrenti accepted and says he will begin teaching in the upcoming fall semester.
"I believe Roberts Wesleyan College exhibits the values and philosophy that I will thoroughly enjoy promoting while instructing students at this college," Varrenti wrote.
Muntaqim’s speaking engagement drew controversy on many levels. While some believed the event shouldn’t have happened at all, others objected to the fact that taxpayer money was originally going to be used to pay Muntaqim for the event. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle spoke out against the decision to describe Muntaqim as a "political prisoner."
The controversy led SUNY Brockport to pull the grant that was going to pay Muntaqim and pause its "Promoting Excellence in Diversity Grant" program to review and revise the application process. It also updated the description that caused the controversy to include the fact that Muntaqim was convicted of murdering two police officers, but the school did not take out the term "political prisoner"
SUNY Brockport said it did not endorse the characterization of Muntaqim as a political prisoner, though it does recognize the rights of the faculty member who invited him and wrote the description to speak to describe Muntaqim that way.
The speaking event was held on April 6 virtually. There were protests against the event held on campus at the time of the event, as well as protests in favor of it. No one was arrested on either side. During the event, Muntaqim never addressed the fact that he was convicted of murder.