NOOSE FOUND ON PROFESSOR'S DOOR AT COLUMBIA
Wednesday, October 10th 2007, 2:29 AM
A hangman's noose was left dangling on the door of a black professor's office at Columbia University
Teachers College on Tuesday, triggering a hate-crime investigation and drawing parallels to the "Jena Six" controversy.
The ugly symbol of bigotry targeted Dr. Madonna Constantine, a respected psychology and education
expert whose books include "Addressing Racism," sources said.
"This is a cowardly, despicable act," said Constantine's
research partner, Derald Wing Sue. "It's obviously a hate crime."
Detectives were investigating whether the incident was racially motivated and whether it stemmed
from a dispute between Constantine and another faculty member, a university source said.
There are video cameras outside the grad school building on W. 120th St. but none inside.
Cop believe the noose - emblematic of lynchings of blacks in the Old South - was placed on the
doorknob between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. yesterday. It was discovered by Prof. Marie Miville, who spotted it in Horace Mann Hall
and ran to tell Sue.
The NYPD was called and the head of the Hate Crimes Task Force visited the campus. College President
Susan Fuhrman sent an e-mail to students and staff about the "hateful act."
"I'm upset, but I'm not surprised," said Shawn Maxam, 26, a master's degree student who is black.
"I think it's just a reflection of what's going on in America
as a whole.
"We got tricked into thinking that race is not an issue because we're in 2007 and Barack Obama
is running for President. That's not the case."
About 150 students gathered in front of Teachers College last night to protest racism, and organizers
called for a campuswide student walkout at 2 p.m. today.
The incident came on the heels of the "Jena Six" controversy that began when white teens hung
nooses outside a school in Jena, La.,
The nooses prompted race-related fights, and six black teens were charged with attempted murder
in one scuffle, leading to civil rights protests and charges of injustice.
"It's disturbing," said student Pete Cronin, 33. "It's not the type of thing you'd ever think
would happen here or should happen anywhere."
"You might expect this stuff at the undergraduate level, but not here," said Prof. Lambros Comitas.
"We've never had any ethnic or racial tensions."
Students were equally surprised that the noose was left for Constantine, who has worked at Teachers
College since 1998 and often writes and lectures on race and multiculturalism.
"I've never heard a bad thing said about her," said a 27-year-old student.
Constantine could not be reached for comment. Colleagues said she was
not at work when the noose was found but came in later to speak with police and school administrators.