Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hangman's Noose Found on NYC Prof's Door. blatant act of racism and This is an assault on African-Americans, Minorities and therefore it is an assault on every one of us
NYC Police Investigate Whether Noose on Professor's Door Came From Students or Colleague.

Hundreds of Columbia University teachers and students voiced outrage Wednesday over a noose found hanging from a black professor's office door, while police investigated if it was the work of disgruntled students or a colleague.

The 4-foot-long twine noose was found Tuesday on Madonna Constantine's door at Teachers College, a graduate school of education affiliated with Columbia. At a raucous rally Wednesday, Constantine said it was a "blatant act of racism."

I'm upset that our community has been exposed to such an unbelievably vile incident," she told the crowd. "Hanging the noose on my door reeks of cowardice and fear on many, many levels."

Police were testing the noose for DNA evidence, said Deputy Inspector Michael Osgood, commander of the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force.

Constantine, 44, told police there was "ill will" between her and another professor, a police official said. But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation had not been completed, stressed that the dispute was only one possible lead, and that police were also looking into whether "disgruntled students, anyone upset with grades" were involved.

Teachers College held a community meeting to discuss the incident, which has roiled the Ivy League campus.

"This is an assault on African-Americans and therefore it is an assault on every one of us," university President Lee C. Bollinger said in a statement. "I know I speak on behalf of every member of our communities in condemning this horrible action."

The state Attorney General's office has sent lawyers from its civil rights bureau and investigators to look into the incident, said spokesman Jeffrey Lerner.

Derald Wing Sue, an adjunct professor at Teachers College who does research with Constantine, said he was at work Tuesday morning when another colleague spotted the noose hanging on the door. She wasn't in her office at the time.

Constantine has written about race, including a book entitled "Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings." Students said Constantine teaches a class on racial justice.

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