Black Professor Files $200 Million Lawsuit Against Columbia University: She Claims an Academic Lynching Occurred

Madonna Constantine, a former professor of psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College, has filed a $200 million lawsuit against the university. The introduction to the complaint filed with the court is titled “The Academic Lynching of Professor Madonna Constantine.”

In October 2007 a noose was found hanging on her office door at Columbia. Police still have no clue as to how the noose was placed on her door.

Four months later in February 2008, Columbia announced that Professor Constantine had been accused of plagiarizing the work of two students and one professor. According to Teachers College, there were “numerous instances in which she used others’ work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.” An investigation by a legal team found about two dozen instances of plagiarism.

Constantine denied the charges saying she was the victim of a “witch hunt” and that it was her work that had been plagiarized by her accusers. At that time Teachers College said that Professor Constantine would be disciplined but not dismissed.

Then in June 2008, with students mostly off campus for the summer, Columbia announced that Professor Constantine would in fact be dismissed from her tenured position.

Constantine, a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans,  holds a Ph.D. from the University of Memphis. She is the coauthor of the book Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings.