Feb

22

Ray of Light for Madonna Constantine

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Dateline: Teacher’s College. In what is tentatively being dubbed the “2008 Madonna Constantine Plagiarism Incident Slash Witch Hunt Slash General Racism Shitshow”, the Times is starting the morning off by informing us that Professor Constantine will be keeping her job. The New Republic takes a surprisingly un-touchy-feely position and, frankly, goes on a bit of a rant. In the Sun, find a defense from two of her students.

Bringing up the rear, the Post puts the word “noose” in scare quotes, although all those photos were enough to convince Bwog that the noose did, at least, physically exist. However, they also took the time to track down one of her alleged victims, Christine Yeh, now teaching at the University of San Francisco since a 2006 departure from Columbia.

According to a TC spokesperson, the details of Professor Constantine’s punishment are not public.

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31 Comments

  1. aren't you  

    forgetting about spec?

  2. Anonymous  

    Yeah, I'm going to have to say letting her keep her job is probably more racist than firing her.

  3. Anonymours

    I think it's painfully obvious now that the noose was probably placed by Constantine herself. This is a classic case of using the racism excuse to cover blatant cruelty, criminality, or in this case, unethical behavior. This is a disgrace and a real insult to every black person who truly has been a victim of racism. When will Columbia stop hiring these mental cases?!?

  4. racism  

    is treating someone differently because of their race. Constantine should get the same punishment that a white colleague would get if he or she was found conclusively guilty of substantial plagiarism.

    I find it hard to believe that another less-high profile professor who wasn't black would still have a job after this. If that's in fact how Columbia would behave were the perpetrator someone else, then I think they need to increase the severity of their disciplinary process.

    A student in her shoes would get either suspended or expelled, and presumably a student's punishment should be less severe than that of a professor, because we're younger & more apt to reform from bad behavior, and because we're not in explicit leadership positions in the same way.

    Thoughts?

  5. Chubs Malloy  

    That photo of Constantine you have appears to have been taken about five years and fifty pounds ago, judging from the NY Post's more recent picture.

  6. McFister

    She has tenure, she gets to keep her job, etc. This noise about race is just that, noise.

    She should keep her mouth shut and get on with doing her job.

  7. wait  

    tenure protects you from this kind of thing?

    i thought it would have some statute of limitations or something & was just supposed to protect professors' right to research whatever they wanted.
    ...
    oh snap, maybe the whole thing's a psychological experiment on how race is perceived in academia & columbia's in on it. how sick would that be? (I don't actually believe this)

    • McFister

      No, tenure does not necessarily protect you. However, TC obviously made the decision that sanctions were more appropriate than removal.

      Given the back story on this case, I think it's safe to assume the noose incident was a hoax, but the perpetrator will go unpunished.

  8. At what point...

    ...will people start looking at spendy schools such as TC and Columbia and think to themselves, "Why the FUCK would I want to put myself thousands of dollars in debt to get an 'education' at what is obviously an ethnocentric joke of a cult passing itself off as an institution of higher learning?"

    Seriously.

  9. abd

    I guess my answer to that question is so that I don't embarrass myself by writing things like "ethnocentric joke of a cult."

    Actually, I might still write them, but with luck I'd know enough to be embarrassed.

    • Nicely put  

      abd.

      And to #3:
      "I think it's painfully obvious now that the noose was probably placed by Constantine herself."

      I think it's painfully obvious now that you need a good helping of shut the fuck up. Or at least a degree in law...

      Hey! I bet she was also the one who vandalized the bathrooms in SIPA and lewisohn too! Trickle down economics is a good idea!

      • Roosta  

        You know, if someone had told me she had placed the noose herself a few months ago, I would have probably punched them in the face, but now I'm not so sure...

        The fact that the noose incident happened right after she started getting sued for plagiarism ("[copying] verbatim or near verbatim" is not an abstract, debatable description of her offense) should certainly raise eyebrows.

        Also, given her extreme affinity for the "race card," and her obsession with race issues, makes one wonder all the more.

        Fake hate crimes are not new. Recall an incident a few years ago when Prof. Kerri Dunn, a lesbian Jewish convert, vandalized her own car with swastikas and homophobic graffiti before giving a lecture about hate speech.

        I suppose we'll have to wait until the NYPD releases the tapes until the truth comes out. But, I doubt that will ever happen. I hope I'm wrong...

    • feh

      your response: all sizzle, no steak. Quit looking for pats on the back and actually COUNTER what I wrote. This isn't your Anthro seminar.

  10. the obvious:  

    The fact that someone who plagiarizes her own students' work gets to keep her job is a fucking travesty.

  11. ...  

    where are the side by side excerpts?

    plagiarism tends to be one of those sorts of things that is very clearly evident when it has occurred, and usually results in a confession.

    constantine is arguing this thing, so perhaps it's weak evidence or correlation at best...

    i want to see excerpts/citations of the works where the alleged plagiarism occurred. until i see that, i honestly don't believe either side's story...

    as a scientist would say. fuck your story, fuck their story too... SHOW ME THE DATA.

  12. Anonymous

    Gawd. The drama this woman has produced...maybe she should "teach" in the performing arts college. I have NO doubts that she planted the noose and now is playing the race card. yawn. cry racism, lather, rinse, repeat....

  13. i dont quite  

    get these commenters with "NO doubts" who think it's "painfully obvious" what happened. we really know very little about the story - it's fair enough to have an opinion, but to hold it with 100% certainty suggests irrationality - if not a certainty due to ugly preconceptions along the lines of "a black person who complains of racism is usually whining to cover their own failures".

  14. also  

    "The New Republic takes a surprisingly un-touchy-feely position and, frankly, goes on a bit of a rant."

    that wasnt a TNR editorial or article, that was Marty Peretz' blog, the spine. im no fan of either, but the difference matters, and a proto-journalist Bwog-writing type ought to know it.

  15. Wow  

    But actually, in another travesty, I've known certain students to be published very lightly for plagiarizing. This is anecdotal, of course, and I can't say how these things generally go, but I'd say the university is remiss in more than just this case.

  16. I do quite

    To "i dont quite":
    Universities typically don't hire outside law firms to conduct plagiarism investigations; it's usually done internally. Teachers College hired one of the biggest law firms in the country because they knew there was a distinct possibility they would get sued if plagiarism were to be found - a real "no brainer" since Constantine has apparently threatened to sue those who would accuse her of plagiarism. The investigation took 18 months, and there was a 4 member oversight committee made up of current and former faculty. If you were the one who had plagiarized others' work at a university, wouldn't this pretty much be what you would ask for?

    Let me answer that for you: You would also ask that you be able to keep your job that probably pays upwards of $150,000.00/year no matter what the outcome was.

    Anything else?

    Let me answer that for you:

    You'd ask that you be allowed to keep your dignity, right?

    Now, you're being delusional...

    • What the hell's  

      the matter with this guy?

      Commenter #17 questioned the supposed certainty of those who say Constantine MUST have placed the noose herself and did NOT even discuss the accusations of plagiarism. You rant on about the accusations and process by which she's being tried, but you call Commenter #17 delusional? Do you understand what a non sequitur is?

      Do you really think most Columbia students support plagiarism? Or would support Constantine IF she placed the noose there herself? Of course not, but we support due process and the notion that someone is innocent until he or she is proven guilty. You know, the staples of the American legal system? If you don't like those ideals, maybe you should move to another country with a weaker legal defense system.

      So I guess that's why Columbia's down the crapper, hmm? Or maybe because there has been a mass campus uprising to support Constantine regardless of her innocence or guilt...Oh wait! There hasn't been one! But I guess that isn't a problem for you since you don't subscribe to the tenets of empiricism, you know...that pillar of modernity?

      • mary

        Columbia is down the crapper for many reasons much like many of the "elite" academic institutions of this country. The plagerism is blatant. Did you read the comparative texts???? Someone is lying on the ground , bleeding of a gunshot and another is standing in front of the victim with a smoking gun of the same caliber and claims "racism" about those who indict him. Get over yourself, you pompous ass...we as parents are paying tens of thousands of dollars, 200,000 over a course of 4 years for this type of standard as "professors"???? Are you DELUSIONAL? Or just not paying the bill every month for this garbage...We hand over the best and the brightest, our lifes work in raising our kids to be worthy of the elites...And THIS is who is teaching????....... FLUSH !!!!!

        • First of all  

          get a hold of yourself. Second, answer these questions:

          1) What does this plagiarism case have to do with the noose incident?
          2) Even if Constantine's credibility is ruined, how does the plagiarism case LEGALLY prove her guilt in regards to placing the noose (as many commenters on this board have suggested)?
          3) Are you parent of a student at Columbia College/SEAS?
          4) What proof do you have that Constantine's supposed act of plagiarism is directly representative of the faculty in general at Columbia University, specifically of the faculty at the school in which your child is enrolled?
          5) If you believe that Constantine's actions are representative of the faculty at the school that your child attends, then why not move your child to another institution?
          6) If you cannot prove that Constantine's actions are representative of the faculty at the school your child attends, what is your argument?

          And try to be more moderate with the "????" They scream, "I'm having a conniption fit."

          Yours truly,
          Pompous ass who supports the American justice system and opposes the notion that faculty are simply guilty by association.

  17. mary

    If her dignity is compromised (which is a leap, an assumption that she had dignity to start) it is her own doing. By her own statement we know that she was offered a quiet deal, to admit the hoose and the plagerism and be done with it with minimal damage to her reputation. A gag order was promised. She refused and instead rants all over the web of this racial discrimination. She is a fool.

  18. mary

    Another elite university down the crapper ala Duke U. Flush..

  19. I would like  

    to emphasize that probably the most important question there is #4 so please don't neglect it.

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