Fired Columbia Prof Back In The News


Madonna ConstantineIt was a scandal first reported in February 2008: a Columbia University professor was under investigation for plagiarism as well as for hatching an alleged racial incidence whereby she claimed that someone had placed a noose over her office door.  The noose incident didn’t end Madonna Constantine’s Columbia career, but the school went ahead and fired her last June over the plagiarism charges.

Now, Ms. Constantine is back in the news, seeking $200 million in a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court. According to the Columbia Spectator, the one-time tenured professor of counseling and clinical psychology at Teachers College, is seeking to recover damages from the college as well as from the attorneys who handled the case on behalf of Columbia and from faculty and students who spoke out against her.

Former Professor Claims Scholarly Reputation Ruined

In her complaint, Ms. Constantine has stated that her scholarly reputation has been ruined as a result of what she says was a scheme pushed by the head of her department and former faculty members.  Constantine added that the charges against her were “fabricated and publicized, and that her own evidence was ignored in proceedings.”

Responding to Constantine’s lawsuit, a public relations representative speaking on behalf of Columbia said that the charges against the school were without merit and that the college would fight the lawsuit.

Was The Noose Incident Fabricated?

Columbia has maintained that the plagiarism investigation against Constantine had been underway for eighteen months before the charges were filed in February 2008. This means that the school’s investigation began in August 2006 (or earlier) while the noose incident didn’t take place until October 2007. Some, including Jason Savage of the IvyGate blog, have suggested that Constantine fabricated the noose incident herself as a means of distracting the college in advance of going public with their plagiarism allegations.


Resmovits, Joy (2009, April 21). Constantine files TC defamation complaint. Columbia Spectator (online edition), Retrieved April 23, 2009, from

DeMarche, Edmund (2009, April 23). Former professor in noose case seeks $200M in lawsuit., Retrieved April 23, 2009, from

Savage, Jacob (2008, February, 20). Columbia Professor Hangs Her Own Noose By Plagiarizing., Retrieved April 23, 2009, from

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Categories: Campus News