It Ain’t Over Till the Accused Lady Cries “Conspiracy”

It Ain't Over Till the Accused Lady Cries "Conspiracy"Plagiarist professor and symbolic-noose victim Madonna Constantine released a statement yesterday calling Columbia’s discplinary action against her “premature, vindictive, and mean-spirited,” the product of “institutional racism,” “a conspiracy and witch-hunt.” She writes,

I am left to wonder whether a White faculty member would have been treated in such a publicly disrespectful and disparaging manner.

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.

Now, we love damning the man as much as the next 20-something pipsqueak, but when Columbia takes a fine-toothed comb to your oeuvre and finds five years’ worth of academic dishonesty? Might be time to cut your losses, maybe update your resume and check out the listings on monster.com.


Or, you could hang out at the office, brainstorming synonyms for “persecution” and pretending it’s the Cultural Revolution and Columbia’s the Red Guard:

There have been attempts by the Teachers College administration to intimidate and blackmail me into leaving the College by insisting that I sign a false statement related to the aforementioned investigation. I refused to sign it!

Most peculiarly, Constantine’s statement circulated first as an email addressed to the “Teachers College Community” before reaching the Spec where you can read it now, alongside a the TC’s response and news coverage on the “embattled” professor. NYT’s coverage is here.

  • truth

    Constantine is a crazy person, and the noose was a fake.

  • truth

    Constantine is a crazy person, and the noose was a fake.

  • lol

    why corrupt the old saying? “Fat lady” works for this example too.

    (and as to avoid being called shallow, I would also like to say [as a black woman] that she’s an prize idiot)

  • lol

    why corrupt the old saying? “Fat lady” works for this example too.

    (and as to avoid being called shallow, I would also like to say [as a black woman] that she’s an prize idiot)

  • @lol

    Ahh, you beat me to it. “Fat lady” would have been perfect. I guess it would be too much to expect some original defense from her, given that she’s a plagiarist… the racism card was inevitable. How classy.

  • @lol

    Ahh, you beat me to it. “Fat lady” would have been perfect. I guess it would be too much to expect some original defense from her, given that she’s a plagiarist… the racism card was inevitable. How classy.

  • THE NOOSE IS LOOSE

    Clearly she is pathological, stealing from her colleagues, pretty much the only people who might actually read her work.

  • THE NOOSE IS LOOSE

    Clearly she is pathological, stealing from her colleagues, pretty much the only people who might actually read her work.

  • pirate vs squid

    Maaaybe the noose on your door is a result of your systematic theft of others’ intellectual property? Hmm? Just maybe? No? Damn the man!

  • pirate vs squid

    Maaaybe the noose on your door is a result of your systematic theft of others’ intellectual property? Hmm? Just maybe? No? Damn the man!

  • light

    Truth you are out of line. Why would you assume she is crazy and the noose was fake.

  • light

    Truth you are out of line. Why would you assume she is crazy and the noose was fake.

  • confessoin

    I put the noose on her door, not becaue I’m racist, but because I felt left out. She was stealing everyone else’s work and I just wanted her to acknowledge my own contribution, “Beginner’s Guide to Knots & Splices,” so I put a knot on her door as a subtle hint. In retrospect, the noose may have been a poor choice.

  • confessoin

    I put the noose on her door, not becaue I’m racist, but because I felt left out. She was stealing everyone else’s work and I just wanted her to acknowledge my own contribution, “Beginner’s Guide to Knots & Splices,” so I put a knot on her door as a subtle hint. In retrospect, the noose may have been a poor choice.

  • alum

    Seems like a no-brainer to me that she put the noose on her own door, knowing her career was doomed, so she could cry “racism!” I don’t buy for a minute that Jena-style rednecks are roaming the halls of Teachers College, and she seems pathological and crazy enough to do it. Hope this race-baiting waste of space gets fired.

  • alum

    Seems like a no-brainer to me that she put the noose on her own door, knowing her career was doomed, so she could cry “racism!” I don’t buy for a minute that Jena-style rednecks are roaming the halls of Teachers College, and she seems pathological and crazy enough to do it. Hope this race-baiting waste of space gets fired.

  • oh noes

    Help! I’m being held accountable for my plagiarism because I’m black!

  • oh noes

    Help! I’m being held accountable for my plagiarism because I’m black!

  • truth

    light, why would you assume otherwise?

  • truth

    light, why would you assume otherwise?

  • columbia ’10

    Fire her already. She’s a complete and utter lair.

  • columbia ’10

    Fire her already. She’s a complete and utter lair.

  • @ truth

    Dear Sir Self-Righteous,

    Imagine you lied. Imagine it was a big lie. (Many of us are guilty of the occasional Big Lie.) Now imagine that someone used that as a reason to automatically mistrust everything you said. Wouldn’t you take umbrage, or at least be unhappy about it? Your position, which explicitly assumes guilt until innocence is proven, is one which I suspect you would rather not have applied to you. After all, what if no evidence that this woman hung the noose herself is forthcoming? Will you still believe her to be guilty? Imagine that she is innocent–is there a conceivable way for her to clear herself in your eyes, short of the true culprit coming forward? Does one lie–even a big one–condemn you to never be believed again?

    For someone who goes by ‘truth,’ you have some funny ideas about it.

  • @ truth

    Dear Sir Self-Righteous,

    Imagine you lied. Imagine it was a big lie. (Many of us are guilty of the occasional Big Lie.) Now imagine that someone used that as a reason to automatically mistrust everything you said. Wouldn’t you take umbrage, or at least be unhappy about it? Your position, which explicitly assumes guilt until innocence is proven, is one which I suspect you would rather not have applied to you. After all, what if no evidence that this woman hung the noose herself is forthcoming? Will you still believe her to be guilty? Imagine that she is innocent–is there a conceivable way for her to clear herself in your eyes, short of the true culprit coming forward? Does one lie–even a big one–condemn you to never be believed again?

    For someone who goes by ‘truth,’ you have some funny ideas about it.

  • my name is og

    what’s the difference? she should be fired whether or not she hung her own noose.

  • my name is og

    what’s the difference? she should be fired whether or not she hung her own noose.

  • why

    Why does Columbia have a teachers’ college?

  • why

    Why does Columbia have a teachers’ college?

  • abbledabble’02

    why not? it is the top graduate school of education in the country.

  • abbledabble’02

    why not? it is the top graduate school of education in the country.

  • @why

    Because its the best in the nation?

  • @why

    Because its the best in the nation?

  • @abbledabble

    because the vast majority of teachers are underqualified, PC-spouting drones that are unfireable thanks to tenure and unions, and it appears that Columbia isn’t helping matters by employing this underqualified PC-spouting drone.

  • @abbledabble

    because the vast majority of teachers are underqualified, PC-spouting drones that are unfireable thanks to tenure and unions, and it appears that Columbia isn’t helping matters by employing this underqualified PC-spouting drone.

  • Sir Self-Righteous

    “Big Lie?” You can imagine yourself guilty of systematic plagiarism? This isn’t telling your mom you brushed your teeth when you didn’t. This isn’t telling your grandmother you didn’t take the cookie when you did. Everybody lies; everybody says and does things they wish they didn’t do. Of course I can understand that, but what this woman did was not a single, isolated action made in a moment of weakness. This is not “one lie.” It lasted for years! You call me self-righteous, fine, but if I’m too harsh, then you’re far too lenient. You’re putting yourself in her shoes as if you could possibly do something like this, and I think you forget the scope of her deceit. As a professor, she should hold herself to the highest standards of academic integrity, or how could she respond if a student like you or me slipped and told a “Big Lie?” You say it’s possible, and I agree: I would not be “self-righteous” if it was one stupid mistake that somebody made—and then asked for forgiveness. But this was not a single slip on her part. I don’t know if she takes “umbrage” to the accusations being made, but if it is true that the noose isn’t a hoax, that Columbia has crazy-ass racists running around its campus, then it’s nobody’s fault but her own if we don’t believe her. She has lied for years, and she’s never (never!) asked for forgiveness, even when caught. Instead she claims she is the victim. Self-righteous? Fine, but I would hope that most of us, imperfect as we are, can differentiate between one “big lie” regretfully told and consistent, self-serving dishonesty.

  • Sir Self-Righteous

    “Big Lie?” You can imagine yourself guilty of systematic plagiarism? This isn’t telling your mom you brushed your teeth when you didn’t. This isn’t telling your grandmother you didn’t take the cookie when you did. Everybody lies; everybody says and does things they wish they didn’t do. Of course I can understand that, but what this woman did was not a single, isolated action made in a moment of weakness. This is not “one lie.” It lasted for years! You call me self-righteous, fine, but if I’m too harsh, then you’re far too lenient. You’re putting yourself in her shoes as if you could possibly do something like this, and I think you forget the scope of her deceit. As a professor, she should hold herself to the highest standards of academic integrity, or how could she respond if a student like you or me slipped and told a “Big Lie?” You say it’s possible, and I agree: I would not be “self-righteous” if it was one stupid mistake that somebody made—and then asked for forgiveness. But this was not a single slip on her part. I don’t know if she takes “umbrage” to the accusations being made, but if it is true that the noose isn’t a hoax, that Columbia has crazy-ass racists running around its campus, then it’s nobody’s fault but her own if we don’t believe her. She has lied for years, and she’s never (never!) asked for forgiveness, even when caught. Instead she claims she is the victim. Self-righteous? Fine, but I would hope that most of us, imperfect as we are, can differentiate between one “big lie” regretfully told and consistent, self-serving dishonesty.

  • @10:45

    you are a student at TC to know this i take it?

    because otherwise given she is one of only 2 black tenured professors it is a pretty big leap in logic to assume who among the faculty are PC-spouting drones

    @10:52 right on broheim.

  • @10:45

    you are a student at TC to know this i take it?

    because otherwise given she is one of only 2 black tenured professors it is a pretty big leap in logic to assume who among the faculty are PC-spouting drones

    @10:52 right on broheim.

  • ShameOnHer

    Wasting one breath of indigination of the vast racist conspiracy at Columbia is an insult to intelligence and the real racist issues that do exist in this country. At the most charitable and credulous, someone isolated lunatic hung a noose on her door. This does not excuse nor mitigate years of systematic plagarism. Unless, of course, the noose was a veiled warning from the Columbia administration to make her keep quiet and continue to plagarize so they oculd fire her. The sad thing is that you could get a few idiots at Columbia to scream about how that could happen, and they couldn’t find Jena, Louisiana on a map.

    Her playing the race card devalues the race card where it should be used in many other arenas, and is an insult to her supporters and friends.

  • ShameOnHer

    Wasting one breath of indigination of the vast racist conspiracy at Columbia is an insult to intelligence and the real racist issues that do exist in this country. At the most charitable and credulous, someone isolated lunatic hung a noose on her door. This does not excuse nor mitigate years of systematic plagarism. Unless, of course, the noose was a veiled warning from the Columbia administration to make her keep quiet and continue to plagarize so they oculd fire her. The sad thing is that you could get a few idiots at Columbia to scream about how that could happen, and they couldn’t find Jena, Louisiana on a map.

    Her playing the race card devalues the race card where it should be used in many other arenas, and is an insult to her supporters and friends.

  • digby

    … Especially since Columbia is a hotbed of liberal radicalism and PC nonsense. Seriously these are the people that brought you equal airtime for holocaust deniers and genocidists. The LAST thing going on is a racist conspiracy against blacks. Maybe against Jews or white men I would believe.

  • digby

    … Especially since Columbia is a hotbed of liberal radicalism and PC nonsense. Seriously these are the people that brought you equal airtime for holocaust deniers and genocidists. The LAST thing going on is a racist conspiracy against blacks. Maybe against Jews or white men I would believe.

  • mary

    Oh no, another black professor who sees racists behind every corner, every door and every mirror(actually that really is a racist in the mirror “professor”). Shame on her, shame on columbia for not firing her IMMEDIATLY. Another Ivy league university down the hopper.

  • mary

    Oh no, another black professor who sees racists behind every corner, every door and every mirror(actually that really is a racist in the mirror “professor”). Shame on her, shame on columbia for not firing her IMMEDIATLY. Another Ivy league university down the hopper.

  • Former Ivy Leaguer

    Madonna Constantine. 14 minutes 58 seconds, 14 minutes 59 seconds.

    Before she got caught, she got tenure and she got promoted to full professor. Teachers College needs to take another look at its promotion criteria. Here’s an idea: they should systematically subject faculty articles to plagiarism software, just like they do for students.

  • Former Ivy Leaguer

    Madonna Constantine. 14 minutes 58 seconds, 14 minutes 59 seconds.

    Before she got caught, she got tenure and she got promoted to full professor. Teachers College needs to take another look at its promotion criteria. Here’s an idea: they should systematically subject faculty articles to plagiarism software, just like they do for students.

  • CC ’07

    Just for the record, Teacher’s College is not part of Columbia University. It is across the street and part of the “Columbia community”, which effectively means they have borrowing privileges at our library.

  • CC ’07

    Just for the record, Teacher’s College is not part of Columbia University. It is across the street and part of the “Columbia community”, which effectively means they have borrowing privileges at our library.

  • Columbia ’07

    Just for the record, Teacher’s College is not part of Columbia University. It is across the street and part of the “Columbia community”, which effectively means they have borrowing privileges at our library.

  • Columbia ’07

    Just for the record, Teacher’s College is not part of Columbia University. It is across the street and part of the “Columbia community”, which effectively means they have borrowing privileges at our library.