A hangman's noose was found pinned to the door of an African-American professor's door at Teacher's College, administrators wrote in an e-mail today.
The noose was discovered this morning and was reported to the New York City Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force, members of which are currently investigating the incident. Police and University officials declined to name the professor, who the police described as a 44 year-old black woman, but students identified the victim as Professor Madonna Constantine, who is in the Psychological Counseling department and is known for her work on racism.
"The TC community and I deplore this hateful act, which violates every Teachers College and societal norm," Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman wrote in an e-mail to Teachers College's faculty and students.
University President Lee Bollinger denounced the incident.
"This is an assault on African Americans and therefore it is an assault on every one of us. I know I speak on behalf of every member of our communities in condemning this horrible action. I also want to express our full support of Teachers College and President Susan Furhman in dealing with this matter," Bollinger said in a statement.
"All of her [Constantine's] work [on racism] is disregarded. She is just a black woman to them," Jasmine Alvarez, a representative to the University Senate, said.
More than 150 undergraduates attended an emergency meeting held last night in Earl Hall to discuss and weigh a response to the incident. Over 120 Teachers College students gathered last night in TC dining hall to express their feelings, react against, and move forward from the hate crime, and voted positively on today's protest. Undergraduates at Earl Hall later said they would join.
"I've been here two years and this [hate] just seems part of the culture and it's an ugly manifestation of the culture here at Columbia," Desiree Carver-Thomas, CC '09, said after the Earl Hall meeting. "I'm wanting to get at the root of the culture and the problem rather than chasing after every event that happens on campus because that just runs us ragged."
Antonios Saravanos, student Senator for Teacher's College, said and that there would be a formal Town Hall tomorrow in Grace Dodge Hall at 3:30 p.m. where Fuhrman would speak.
Farrah Khan, a first-year student at TC and a member of the Black Student Network, indicated that the event had rocked the small TC campus. "I had a class at 5 and we talked about it for the whole two hours," Khan said. "The very moment that we say racism is far away, ... something like this happens. this is on our campus, here not at 116th, but on our campus."
"As infuriating as it was, it was not a surprise," Khan said.
This afternoon, e-mails were flying around student listservs under the heading "Jena at Columbia," referring to an incident which occurred last December in Jena, La., when white students hung nooses from a tree—which was typically a gathering spot for whites only—at Jena High School one day after six black students sat under it. Students planned to meet tonight at 9;30 in the Intercultural Resource Center on 114th Street to discuss reaction to the incident.
This comes less than two weeks after graffiti was found scrawled on the stall of a bathroom in the International Affairs Building which said, "Attention You pinko Commie Motherfuckers and Arab Towelheads: America will wake up one day and Nuke Mecca, Medina, Tehran, Baghdad, Jakarta, and all the savages in Africa. You will all be fucked! America is for White Europeans."
By 7:30, media had already descended upon the small Teachers College campus with representatives from CBS, ABC, and NY1 all broadcasting from satellite trucks.
Anyone with information regarding the incident has been asked to contact the 26th Precinct Detective Squad or John DeAngelis, chief of Public Safety.
Keep checking www.columbiaspectator.com for updates.