2008_02_madonacon.jpgThe Columbia Teachers College professor who was in the news last year when a noose was found on her office door angrily denied she plagiarized others' work. Madonna Constantine, who the Teachers College sanctioned after a year-and-a-half investigation, will appeal the charges.

Constantine, who remains a tenured professor, issued a statement, calling the memo (released to TC faculty) discussing sanctions "premature, vindictive, and mean-spirited," lacking "sensitivity and due process." She wondered "whether a White faculty member would have been treated in such a publicly disrespectful and disparaging manner." You can read the full statement, but here's an excerpt:

Evidence regarding my case will be presented to the Faculty Advisory Committee at Teachers College as soon as my attorneys and I can coordinate my appeal. It is my opinion that this investigation, along with other incidents that have happened to me at Teachers College in recent months, point to a conspiracy and witch-hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community. I believe that nothing that has happened to me this year is coincidental, particularly when I reflect upon the hate crime I experienced last semester involving a noose on my office door. As one of only two tenured Black women full professors at Teachers College, it pains me to conclude that I have been specifically and systematically targeted.

Constantine's lawyer added that the investigation was "extremely underhanded" and suggested his client was the one who had been plagiarized. Additionally, he said the noose incident and plagiarism charges were TC's way to force her to leave. Paul Giacomo told Bloomberg News, "There have been attempts from the very top of the administration of Teachers College to intimidate and blackmail Madonna Constantine into leaving the college."

In late 2005, a former TC professor and students brought their complaints to the counseling and clinical psychology department, which was then chaired by Suniya Luthar. Luthar told the Columbia Spectator she informed the dean and handed over documents to TC attorneys in 2006, and in 2007 Constantine "allegedly presented her with a summons threatening legal action for defamation, slander, and libel" (see this Post story) but never followed up and eventually withdrew the complaint after the hate crime.