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Report: Columbia U. noose professor sanctioned for fraud; Update: Two dozen instances of plagiarism; prof claims she's a "victim of structural racism"

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 20, 2008 10:18 PM

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We still don’t know who hung the noose at the office of Columbia University professor of psychology and education Madonna Constantine. It remains one of the notable unsolved mysteries of 2007. But now we know something about Constantine. According to a new report by the Columbia Spectator student publication, Constantine has been sanctioned for plagiarism. Fraud. Dishonestly passing something off as genuine (hat tip: reader Danny).

Food for thought:

Professor Madonna Constantine has been sanctioned by Teachers College for plagiarism, according to a memo obtained by Spectator Tuesday evening. The memo, dated Feb. 18, was hand-delivered to professors on the Office of the President’s stationery.

TC confirmed in a statement later Tuesday evening that after an internal investigation TC had “found numerous instances in which she [Constantine] used others’ work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.”

The statement specifies that “the investigation, which began in 2006, was prompted by complaints from students and one former faculty member who said language from materials they wrote was included without attribution in the articles.”

The statement explained that “the investigation, which was conducted by Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a law firm with a substantial practice representing universities and academic institutions, concluded that Professor Constantine’s explanation for the strikingly similar language was not credible.”

Constantine has the right to appeal to the Faculty Advisory Committee, the President’s memo noted. An emergency TC faculty meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday.

In October, Constantine, a professor of counseling and clinical psychology, was thrust into the spotlight as the victim of an apparent hate crime when a noose was found on her office door. Students and colleagues rallied to her defense, describing her as a scholar who addressed issues of race head-on. As of last month, the New York Police Department had not identified any suspects in the case.

Tuesday’s memo commended Professor Christine Yeh, former TC professor and current faculty member at the University of San Francisco, and former TC students Tracy Juliao and Karen Cort for their cooperation. Yeh did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. One TC faculty member said that nine other students did not come forward against Constantine because they were unable to seek indemnity in time.

Jasmine Alvarez, a TC student in Constantine’s department, said she was shocked when she learned about the memo from a Spectator reporter. “I’m shocked. I’m surprised,” said Alvarez, who is also the diversity representative for the TC Student Senate. “I wouldn’t have expected that. From the many publications that she already has written and from her reputation, that just doesn’t add up to me.”

Yeah. A lot of things don’t add up.

This is definitely a piece of the puzzle that remains.

***

The NYPost has some more eyebrow-raising details. Yeah, it smells to high heaven, people, as I’ve said all along:

The plagiarism probe was already under way last year when a 4-foot twine noose was discovered on the door of psychology and education professor Madonna Constantine’s office, officials at the university’s Teachers College said.

They said they disciplined Constantine for stealing other people’s work for articles she published in academic journals.

They cited two dozen instances of plagiarism over the past five years that were substantiated in an 18-month investigation by a Manhattan law firm.

Teachers College spokesman Joe Levine would not say how Constantine was punished, but college officials said her position is secure.

In a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News Service yesterday, Constantine said she was the victim of a racist conspiracy.

The school accused her of plagiarism because of the “structural racism that pervades this institution,” she charged. “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.”

And check this out:

After the October incident, cops were rebuffed – by Constantine herself – in their efforts to catch the person behind the alleged hate crime.

The professor was one of several faculty members who objected to the idea of posting surveillance cameras in her hallway, according to sources familiar with the campus investigation.

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