CUNY Early College Initiative Administrator Posts Photo of Man Without Pants in Classroom

City University of New York (CUNY) employee J. Michael Steele, who works with the school’s Early College Initiative to expose young people to the college experience, posted a photo of a man — whose appearance is strikingly similar to Steele — standing in a classroom without pants on. Steele stated in his post that “no kids were present for this blackmail photo,” but has since denied that he is the man in the photo. CUNY claims that “appropriate action” is being taken.

“When it’s hot inside and outside. It’s Pom Pom shorts time. No kids were present for this blackmail photo,” Steele, who works with CUNY’s Early College Initiative, said in a social media post, which was captured and posted by the popular Twitter account Libs of TikTok.


Steele appears to have since deleted the photo. After being questioned about the identity of the man in the photograph, Steele denied the photo was of him, according to a report by the New York Post.

CUNY has also apologized for Steele’s pant-less post, and said that the school will take action.

“CUNY is committed to providing an appropriate learning environment for all its students,” spokesperson Joseph Tirella told the Post. “This post was brought to our attention, subsequently removed and appropriate action is now being taken.”

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on personnel matters,” Tirella added.

Steele is a former teacher and principal in Detroit and Massachusetts, who now works in a CUNY program that supports 20 New York City public middle and high schools offering college-prep curriculum, as well as the opportunity for students to obtain college credit.

While the program serves students in grades 6 through 12, Steele does not directly work with students, the report added.

Spectators of Steele’s post nonetheless took to social media to lambast the CUNY program director for his bizarre classroom imagery.

“NYC … where you don’t have to wear pants to school as long as you’re wearing the damn mask,” Christina Pushaw, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R)’s spokeswoman, wrote.

“There’s such a thing called professionalism. Don’t people know the appropriate behavior for work environments? Especially ones around kids? Where the heck is maturity? There’s such thing as respecting the job. Also kids need stable & professional examples for behavioral learning,” another Twitter user commented.

“Seems like a legit place to take a photo like that… People willingly send their kids to these places??? [Like] really???” another quipped.

“I’m deeply envious of his high level of professionalism,” another Twitter user joked.

“No kids were present? So, who took the photo and WHY were you dressing like this on school grounds?” another inquired.

“Why do they keep posting these things publicly?” another Twitter user asked.

“I’ve worked inside C-130s on the the flight line in >100°F weather wearing the standard work uniform, cargo pants, steel toe boots, and a t-shirt. He’s inside a temperature controlled building, note no sweat, that could have children still present,” another said. “He has zero excuses for this.”