Madonna Constantine: The Definitive Account (Part 1)

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Today, the Village Voice ran the first part of a billion part article that’s something like the definitive account of everything that happened surrounding Madonna Constantine. You might recall October’s noose-hanging incident and the whole multiple charges of plagiarism thing, for example. Anyway, we’ve distilled everything that’s new and important in the article in easy-to-digest bullet points below (Spoiler Alert: She plagiarized.) 

  • “As many as 10 people complained about Constantine over several years, and these sources say the college did little to intervene.”
  • “Constantine attempted to silence her accusers in the spring of 2007 by sending them letters threatening to sue unless they dropped their claims. She used college stationery and the college mailing account.”
  • “Despite [former student Karen Cort’s] accusation [of plagiarism], Constantine never pursued official sanctions. Instead, as punishment, she ordered Cort to cancel plans for the January break and come to her office. Constantine had her mark each book in her office with the professor’s stamp. The shelves in the office held hundreds of books. The job took several days to complete.”
  • This particular plagiarized text was a second-year research paper written by the aforementioned former student, Karen Cort. Constantine told Cort to list Constantine’s name as the primary researcher, despite Cort actually writing and researching the paper. For whatever reason, Cort agreed.

  • “[Former student/plagiarism victim Christine] Yeh was contacted by the editors of an academic journal, who were reviewing a paper she’d submitted for publication. There was a problem, they said: Yeh’s paper had already been published in another academic journal about six months earlier under Constantine’s byline.”
  • Constantine decided to take a leave of absence, and while her replacement, Suniya Luthar, was going through Constantine’s old office, she noticed some suspicious plagiarism paraphernalia and was approached by other people whose work Constantine stole. Luthar reported her findings to VP of Academic Affairs Darlyne Bailey, who was a friend of Constantine and spearheaded the movement to bring Constantine from Ohio State to CU. Bailey reported that Luthar was trying to “undermine the the reputation of the department” and hired a consultant to investiagate Luthar.
  • “Constantine, meanwhile, showed up at Luthar’s office and accused her of ‘gossiping.’ She threatened to sue Luthar. Someone had apparently tipped her off to the complaints, which were supposed to be confidential.”
  • “A Federal Express package containing a letter from Constantine arrived at Cort’s home. The letter was written on Teachers College stationery and paid for via a college mailing account. ‘She wrote that she knew I was about to graduate, and she said she had heard rumors that I had alleged plagiarism against her,’ Cort says. ‘She vehemently denied it and said if I continued to defame her, she would take steps against me. It was a threat.'”

…which brings our story to October, the month of the noose-hanging controversy. But it’s a cliffhanger — you’ll have to hang on until next week to read the continuation of the story, excitingly titled “Part II: VIDEO CAMERAS, CRIES OF RACISM, AND A PROFESSOR ON THE DEFENSIVE.”

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  1. So?

    How does Bailey get a promotion to dean at minny when she's obviously also part of this corrupt and inept subculture?

  2. Typical

    Typical for these blacks all over campus to always claim the victim role.

  3. Typical

    for sour white people >:{

  4. shut up

    You're all nuts. DON'T play the racial card in this incident, you'll be no better than Madonna.

  5. ...  

    on a serious note... when reading the article it does make me wonder if there was actual intent to plagiarize that went on, or perhaps, no one had a fucking clue what they were doing.

    • yeah...

      but the article also had a lot of he said, she said without actually presenting evidence for the claims the interviewees were making. Furthermore, a lot of the people contacted refrained from commenting which makes it kind of hard to choose sides.

      The incident where Karen Cort was made to stamp books all winter break is kind of bizarre to me, though. It makes Constantine sound like a nutcase and puts her in a bad light...making me inclined to think she's the culprit.

      • Aherm

        Quick impression of every Village Voice article published in the last ten years:

        Is [name of institution VV disapproves of] fucking up? Hey, we have no idea. But this disgruntled ex-employee says, "[Name] fired me because they're [racist/profit-hungry/self-interested]. One time they called me [racist epithet/ineffective worker/unhelpful]." Since [institution] declined comment, we couldn't think of any way to verify whether or not this was true, which is why we gave it thirty-six inches of column space. But hey, we'll lend the article credibility by inserting ten pages of filler.

        [Ten pages of filler, mostly endless quotes, hearsay, and irrelevant phrases culled from other news articles. Written with thesaurus in hand.]

        Anyway, [institution] has a long history of bad behavior. In 1982, they [were accused of doing something in another Voice article]. Does this damage their credibility? "It sure does," says [disgruntled former employee]. Only time will tell.


        e.g.: The Voice's piece on the Strand, two months ago, which inexplicably doesn't appear on the web. Actual excerpt [note, not an actual excerpt]: "Does the Strand suck now? We think so, but not for any particular reason other than that their prices went up a little. Plus one of their employees made an unsubstantiated claim that they're racists. When asked to comment, the owners said 'Our rent went up. And we are not racists.' What a bunch of liars. Signed, Voice."

        Note: I am a liberal too guys

  6. lover

    I love that picture of her. The same one has been posted for ages. Is she really that enormous?

  7. lol so  

    not to dig anthony kelley any further into his sad little hole of idiocy, but:

    "Is Madonna Constantine guilty of plagiarism? I do not know. In fact, no one aside from Teachers College Professor Madonna Constantine will ever know whether or not she actually committed plagiarism.The ultimate truth of a situation cannot be attained through investigations, especially when they are clouded with accusations of bias and prejudice. As observers, all we can do is make speculations based on evidence that has been provided to us."

  8. oh wait  

    i just made fun of anthony, but actually the village voice article has an interesting tidbit bwog leaves out:

    Karen Cort is a liar, and she has been proved to be a liar," he [the lawyer] says. "Everything has been rejected by verifiable, written evidence. Everything is documented—it's not just 'he said, she said.' "

    Giacomo says he can prove that Cort and the others lifted material from Constantine based on documents filed by his client, which predate, by a period of years, the papers at issue.

    Maybe I'm just naive, but can he really claim that if it's totally bullshit? Are Columbia's lawyers really lying?! We need a court of law or something.

  9. well

    Papers can lie around for ages before they're published. Weren't these Constantine's students? She may have had access to them a long time ago, while they were being written, in fact. I don't want to point fingers because this case is much more nebulous than it initially appeared...but if Constantine's case was strong she wouldn't need to resort to threats or claims of racism.

  10. erm

    What exactly do you mean by "plagarism paraphernalia"?!

  11. Anonymous  

    What's clear from this article is that teacher's college is full of hacks.

  12. This Person

    demeans blacks, women, professors, and Columbia. As pointed out earlier, if she didn't commit plagiarism, then why is her only defense that she's a target of prejudice? Why can't she put up something (anything!) that supports her case that doesn't have to do with race or gender?

    I'll tell you why: she's guilty.

    PS - can we please change the "purple" password color? It's pink, or lavender if we're being generous. That is not purple.

  13. um...

    ..."plagiarism paraphernalia"? lolz.

  14. The King of Spain

    Magenta is one of the seven great colors. No one may defame Magenta with accusations of plagiarism.

  15. random  

    I demand part II, Bwog!

  16. guess again

    You could use to white out the original authors name and write in your own!

  17. admit it already

    can we all finally admit that she put the noose up on her own door to try and divert attention from all the shit she's done

  18. Anonymous

    Not canned here honey!!

    Darlyne Bailey is my new dean. Ouch! He said, she said, fat, skinny, black, white, get a life. Was Luthar ever accused of anything but trying to do her job as chair and get back the money the former chair stole and the president (Bailey) did not want to know about? Get a life people, the cover up is always worse than the crime. The noose was wrong, but people who abuse their power like this, white or black (usually white, but this time black) should be hanged. Cripes sakes, maybe Henry Louis Gates was profiled just like I assumed from the start, but these folks need to visit the pokey. Say it ain' so, at my alma mater? Can it be? Yes, it is. Ouch again. Try going to work everyday at your job, knowing the folks who did this at your school now determine your professional prospects. Tell me it ain't so Joe! Or is that Madonna?

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