February 21, 2008

Noose News

After the Jena Six brouhaha last year, the nation was swept by a frenzy of noose-sightings. Every day, the press brought us the latest noose news to alarm us that The Noose Was Loose in America!

I want to thank the numerous readers who emailed me stories about the most publicized of the many noose incidents, that of Columbia U. Teachers College professor Madonna G. Constantine, a black woman who said she found a noose on her doors. They all said her story smelled like a hoax.

Today, the NYT reports:

A professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College who was propelled into the national spotlight when a noose was found on her office door last fall has been found to have plagiarized the work of a former colleague and two former students, the college has announced.

The college, in statements to the faculty and the news media, said an 18-month investigation into charges against the professor, Madonna G. Constantine, had determined there were “numerous instances in which she used others’ work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.” ...

Dr. Constantine, in an e-mail message to faculty and students on Wednesday, called the investigation “biased and flawed,” and said it was part of a “conspiracy and witch hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community.”

“I am left to wonder whether a white faculty member would have been treated in such a publicly disrespectful and disparaging manner,” she wrote.

She added, “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.” ...

Dr. Constantine, a professor of psychology and education who specializes in the study of how race and racial prejudice can affect clinical and educational dynamics, came to Teachers College in 1998 as an associate professor and earned tenure in 2001.

In 2006, the chairman of Dr. Constantine’s department, Suniya S. Luthar, passed along to administrators complaints that Dr. Constantine had unfairly used portions of writings by a junior colleague, Christine Yeh, as well as a number of students, Dr. Luthar said in an interview. Teachers College eventually asked Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a law firm, to investigate.

Dr. Yeh, who is now at the University of San Francisco, said in an interview Wednesday that she had left Teachers College in part because of her differences with Dr. Constantine. She called the college’s determination that there had been plagiarism “an important first step.”

“I’m really hopeful other people will come forward now,” she said. “When the initial charges were made, there were many students involved who didn’t feel they could follow up. They were too scared, and they were afraid of retribution.”

Dr. Yeh said that some of her work that had been copied concerned “indigenous healing,” or alternative methods, like acupuncture and Santeria, of dealing with medical and spiritual ailments. She said she has specialized in that subject for years.

Mr. Giacomo [Constantine's lawyer] said that he and his client met with lawyers from Hughes Hubbard in August and that Dr. Constantine was confronted with 36 passages from her work, and similar passages from the work of others, mostly Dr. Yeh’s. He said Dr. Constantine had subsequently submitted documentation showing that the passages were her own “original work,” and “related back to prior works she had done.”

“We thought that was the end of story; we thought there was no way that they could overlook the documentation that we had presented,” he said.

In October, a noose was found on Dr. Constantine’s office door, prompting the police investigation and student protests at Teachers College, which cherishes its image as a bastion of multiculturalism. In January, Mr. Giacomo said, the college’s president and provost told Dr. Constantine that the investigation into her writings had concluded that she had used the works of others without attribution, but that if she agreed to resign, the report would not be publicized.

Mr. Giacomo said that despite objections and further documentation, the college did not change its position. He said he now considered it “not a stretch of the imagination” to suspect the noose was “an additional way of intimidating my client.”

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

Black Sea said...

Hmmm.

We've got a Columbia U. professor writing about Santeria (one wonders what this has to do with teaching), whose work is then regarded by a senior faculty member as prime fodder for plagiarizing.

Why am I not surprised, and what would Larry Summers say about all this?

Not only does Dr. Constantine lift passages regarding "indigenous healing," but she also copies work from her own students. I believe this is called "scraping the bottom of the barrel." By the way, I didn't just coin that phrase, though I don't know who to attribute it to.

I think Dr. Constantine's next line of defense should be to argue that these plagiarised passages were maliciously planted in her writings as "a conspiracy and witch hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community." After all, who has time to profread his or her own work these days?

Perhaps once this episode is concluded, Dr. Constantine will write a memoir of her ordeals at Columbia Teachers College.

Suggested title: "No Noose is Good Noose."

Ian Lewis said...

In October, a noose was found on Dr. Constantine’s office door, prompting the police investigation and student protests at Teachers College, which cherishes its image as a bastion of multiculturalism.

I am curious, who were the students protesting?

I mean, I am assuming that they gathered in the Quad or something, but, who were they protesting?

The School President? The Dean?

Sideways said...

I had a kick reading her selected publication list on the school's website

"Constantine, M. G. (2007). Racial Microaggressions against African American Clients in Cross-Racial Counseling Relationships. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 1-16.

Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (2007). Perceptions of Racial Microaggressions among Black Supervisees in Cross-Racial Dyads. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 142-153."

are the first two.

Anonymous said...

What were those studies that found higher rates of psychosis among African Americans? This means specifically disconnection from reality, inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Case after case of racial graffiti and so on has been exposed as done by the professed victim. When there is no oppression, fabricate it. How much of the American racial consciousness has been shaped by this kind of fraud and/or delusion?

To conceive of a mind that has a need for this is downright scary. Wouldn't a person with this kind of need to express victimization also engineer social situations for the same purpose? Actively provoking hostility through blatant unacceptable behavior but also more subtle moves to engender anger?

Really, really scary.

nsam said...

steve

heres an interesting topic for research.. Find out the percentage of minority researchers in the social sciences whose mainstay is "the study of race and racial prejudice" in various contexts.. This number would surely exceed 50%? How a person who has been time and again accused of plagiarism by colleagues and various other improprieties remains unaffected shall remain one of the enduring mysteries (to be unravelled by 22nd century historians).

Anonymous said...

A fair number of academics engage in plagerism, most often in the form of stealing ideas from graduate students or professors/researchers from smaller or lesser known institutions.

It seems the more powerful ones can do so with impunity as may of the people the steal from fear reporting them: advisors have huge control over the future of their graduate students and even lesser known researchers face career risks exposing.

Also, professors in Identity Studies are fairly well known to engage in this practice. They have the same control over the future of their graduate students' careers and also have the magic wand of R*C*SM to wave at any whistle blower.

Usually, these cases have to be overwhelmingly obvious to be pursued and rendered accurate. It makes one wonder (a) how bad Mrs. Constantine's plagerism was and (b) how bad her relationship with Yeh were and what happened between the two of them.

al fin said...

It is difficult to say. An empty noose on the door could have been anyone's doing. If she is indeed a plagiarist, her personal denials are somewhat devalued.

Now, had Ms. Constantine herself been fatally lynched, there might have been some doubt as to who was responsible.

Tripp said...

I think Constantine's approach to stopping bigotry is right on. Given the extremely high cost of rope (over $14,000 per foot, last I checked) and the fact that petty insults are never, ever intended to provoke outrage or publicity, I'm pretty sure we'll see the frequency of noose incidents drop to zero within the next five or six minutes.

(Oh, and Constantine's point about white faculty members is also dead on. It's a well-known fact that white professors never get treated with disrespect.)

Bemused said...

I was somewhat bewildered when nooses became a big issue last year. I don't recall ever having heard previously that they had a terrible power to terrorize black people, like a burning cross. Granted, black criminals were lynched in the South, but white criminals were lynched as well. It wasn't race-specific. In recent decades I thought of a noose as more of an Old West symbol and a Halloween decoration than an emblem of racial intimidation.

There hasn't been a spate of lynchings for at least half a century, yet all this hysteria. Meanwhile, I learn from the History Channel that there is virtual ethnic cleansing going on in parts of LA between blacks and Hispanics. Innocent blacks are being shot for merely "trespassing" in a Mexican neighborhood. Is this not more worthy of Sharpton and Jackson's concern than the specter of the noose-sightings?

Cousin Elliot said...

The NYT, all the noose that's fit to print.

Sorry.....

Martin said...

"Bemused said...

I was somewhat bewildered when nooses became a big issue last year. I don't recall ever having heard previously that they had a terrible power to terrorize black people, like a burning cross."

Who knows, before long, bus seats, lunch-counter stools, and loan application forms may become notorious symbols of racial oppresion.

Dennis Dale said...

Ian asks:

"I am curious, who were the students protesting?"

I tried to build a post around this question, answering that since the protesters exist in a liberal bastion where there is no "racist" faction but only, if the myth built around these many frauds is to be believed, individual bigots acting in secret.
Thus they are protesting against society as a whole, for being lax in pursuit of racism. They are in effect protesting against themselves, demanding less freedom and to live under a sterner authority.

Anonymous said...

"There hasn't been a spate of lynchings for at least half a century, yet all this hysteria. Meanwhile, I learn from the History Channel that there is virtual ethnic cleansing going on in parts of LA between blacks and Hispanics. Innocent blacks are being shot for merely "trespassing" in a Mexican neighborhood. Is this not more worthy of Sharpton and Jackson's concern than the specter of the noose-sightings?"

Excellent question, and one I've asked myself. It must have something to do with the limited amount of shake down potential from a fellow oppressed minority.

Anonymous said...

Bemused -- Lynching in the South WAS race-specific. There were even postcards made of lynching scenes (fairly barbaric, little white girls sticking the burnt bodies with sticks) for "souvenirs."

There was an exhibit I believe in the Smithsonian about ten years ago on that subject. However this barbarity ended in the mid-1930's are the nation grew more connected and northern investment became a concern. Just like Nathan Bedford Forrest dropped the Klan like a rock when it scared off his northern investors.

Some incidents of lynching (Emmet Till) occurred as late as the mid 1950's. But that's still at the half-century mark. Excluding the Texas Byrd case of the 1990's. However as Cosby noted, the death toll from ghetto culture far outweighs anything inflicted by the Klan at the height of the lynching. And as Cosby notes, it's convenient to blame significant but long past atrocities by others instead of tackling real problems today.

Bob said...

This reminds me of a prior incident of someone looking for attention

http://www.knbc.com/education/3998600/detail.html

Anonymous said...

What were the protesters protesting against? A racist society no doubt.

Although the dimwits drink their own cool aid and believe their own fictions, functionally these anger outbursts are to scare uber-liberal, weak-kneed, silver spoon trustees administrators and professors into caving into yet more demands:

* more funding
* new identity hires
* more diversicrat bureaucracy
* making identity study classes graduation requirements, etc.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

The Tuskeegee Institute has documented 3,347 instances of blacks being lynched by whites between 1880 and 1951. Between 1976 and 2005, the FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicate that 175,255 blacks were murdered by other blacks.

Oh, I forgot - the 175,255 are whitey's fault, too. But the crime-scene photos just aren't as moving being lingered over in a Ken Burns documentary.

Anonymous said...

As a Hiberno-American (or "Person of Celt" if you prefer) I am scandalized at the use of the term "lynch" -- couldn't we use non nonIrishsurname-o-phobic terminology. Extra-Judicial Quasi-Penal Life Termination Procedures EJQPLTP perhaps? You hooligans make me sick! I may boycott this site!

sincerely,

Celtic Union for Nonirishsurnameophobic Terminology

ben tillman said...

Bemused -- Lynching in the South WAS race-specific.

No, it wasn't.

Some incidents of lynching (Emmet Till) occurred as late as the mid 1950's.

Emmitt Till wasn't lynched. He was killed in an act of private vengeance by his victim's husband.