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Faculty Feature - Abel Rodríguez, JD ('01)

Posted on 11/13/2017 1:16:13 PM

Alumnus Abel Rodríguez, JD ('01) returned to Cabrini in the fall of 2015 as an assistant professor. He regularly teaches ECG 300: Immigration, Law, and Social Justice, in which students engage in advocacy for migrant rights. In the Department of Religious Studies, he teaches Church and State; Morality Matters; and Study of Religion Through Film. Aside from his courseload, Rodríguez was recently appointed Director for Cabrini’s Center on Immigration and he is co-writing an article with Jennifer Bulcock, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, on the moral dimensions of crime involving moral turpitude, a designation within U.S. immigration law used to exclude, detain, and deport noncitizens.

What is your go-to advice for Cabrini students?
Seek out people who believe in you, encourage you, and actively support you in achieving your aspirations. Avoid those who limit their own potential and seek to limit yours. I was discouraged from pursuing graduate school and becoming a professor. I am exceedingly grateful that I found my champions. If you have not found yours, my door is always open. 

What is your favorite item in your office and why?
Students have contributed their artwork to my office, and I have many favorites. If I have to choose one, it would be a remarkable, original sketch created by Cabrini student William Jusino (’18) depicting the struggles faced by people in migration who experience detention and deportation. It hangs above my desk and motivates me. It reminds me of the urgent need to continue fighting for human rights and human dignity as well as the impact our students can have. 

What are the top three songs on your current playlist?
The top three songs on my current playlist are: “If I Was President” by Las Cafeteras, “Breathe” by India Arie, and “537 C.U.B.A.” by Orishas.

Which do you do more often - binge watch a TV series or have a movie marathon? 
Until recently, I would have said movie marathon. But have you seen these Netflix docuseries? I still love film, but lately the docuseries have got me hooked.      

What are two things still left on your bucket list?
1. To collaborate on a feature-length documentary.
2. Travel to and through Cuba, my family’s home country, without the restrictions imposed by the U.S. government.