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Petraeus heckled by New York students after teaching college seminar

It could be a long semester for David Petraeus.

The retired four-star general and former CIA director — whose career ended in scandal last year — was heckled by roughly a dozen protesters following his first lecture at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College on Monday, according to a 90-second video posted online Wednesday that has been viewed more than 130,000 times.

“Why are you teaching at CUNY?” one heckler screamed as Petraeus walked near Central Park. “What do you have to say, huh?”

The hecklers seemed more enraged by Petraeus' 37-year military career, which culminated in his commanding U.S. forces in Afghanistan, than the adultery scandal which prompted his resignation from the CIA in November.

Petraeus, 60, was also blasted as a “scumbag” and a “war criminal” by the angry throng. The heckling became so intense at one point that Petraeus walked into the street and dodged oncoming traffic — including a city bus — as his critics closely followed.

“Petraeus out of CUNY! Petraeus out of CUNY!” the hecklers continued.

"What do you have to say, huh?”

- Petraeus heckler

Several in the crowd promised to harass Petraeus after “every class” at the public university, while another demanded that he "leave.”

“He’s a war criminal, there’s a war criminal right here,” another protester said. “He deserves to be tried.”

Petraeus admitted having an affair with Paula Broadwell — author of his biography "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus" — when he resigned from the CIA. The affair came to light in a messy fashion: Broadwell was accused of sending harassing emails to a Florida socialite who was friends with the general's family, prompting her to complain to an acquaintance who worked for the FBI. Investigators traced the emails to Broadwell, and in the course of doing so, uncovered intimate messages between Broadwell and Petraeus. Although the affair, which would have violated military rules, allegedly occurred after Petraeus left the Army, it was also seen as a serious matter at the CIA, where such secrets could make someone vulnerable to compromise.

Months after stepping down, Petraeus made it known he would seek a career in academia. The New York Times reported in July that Petraeus would teach a seminar at the school for just $1 following a report by Gawker.com that indicated he was to be paid $200,000 according to documents the website obtained.

Petraeus proposed the salary reduction following criticism of his anticipated compensation to “remove money as a point of controversy,” according to his attorney, Robert Barnett.

"The general never was taking on this teaching assignment for the money," Barnett told The Associated Press. "Once controversy arose about the amount he was being paid, he decided it was much more important to keep the focus on the students, on the school and on the teaching and not have it be about the money."

Petraeus, who has a doctorate from Princeton University and extensive teaching experience, was scheduled to start at the school as a visiting professor on Aug. 1.

The college’s dean, Ann Kirschner, lauded Petraeus while announcing the hire in April, saying the position correlates with his research interests in energy, manufacturing, life sciences and information technology and their implications for the U.S. His first seminar this fall is a course in American Studies called “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?”

In a statement posted to the college's website, Kirschner called for a more civilized debate.

"Our university is a place where complex issues and points of view across the political and cultural spectrum are considered and debated in the hopes that we might offer solutions to the problems in our world," the statement read. "In order to advance reasoned debate on such issues, it is important that multiple points of view be heard.

"Great universities strive to connect their students with remarkable leaders and thinkers so students can examine a variety of ideas, debate them, and form their own opinions. Those perspectives find expression through discussion in and out of the classroom.

"We may disagree, but we must always do so in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding," Kirschner's statement concluded. "While the college supports the articulation of all points of view on critical issues, it is essential that dialogue within the academic setting always be conducted civilly."

In July, Kirschner confirmed Petraeus’ compensation adjustment, characterizing it as “his decision” in a statement.

“This was his decision, and it speaks to his belief that our attention should be on the educational mission of the university,” the statement read. “Like the best faculty, he is focused on how to support our talented students — in their research, classroom activities, and professional aspirations.”

Some veterans, however, said Petraeus did not deserve Monday's public protest when contacted by FoxNews.com.

"It's outlandish that they would treat this man like that," said Art Koch, a Vietnam Army veteran and state adjutant for New York Veterans of Foreign Wars. "They can say whatever they want, and they have that right thanks to men like Gen. Petraeus."

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