Professor Madonna Constantine has been sanctioned by Teachers College for plagiarism, according to a memo obtained by Spectator Tuesday evening. The memo, dated Feb. 18, was hand-delivered to professors on the Office of the President's stationery.
TC confirmed in a statement later Tuesday evening that after an internal investigation TC had "found numerous instances in which she [Constantine] used others' work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years."
The statement specifies that "the investigation, which began in 2006, was prompted by complaints from students and one former faculty member who said language from materials they wrote was included without attribution in the articles."
The statement explained that "the investigation, which was conducted by Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a law firm with a substantial practice representing universities and academic institutions, concluded that Professor Constantine's explanation for the strikingly similar language was not credible."
Constantine has the right to appeal to the Faculty Advisory Committee, the President's memo noted. An emergency TC faculty meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday.
In October, Constantine, a professor of counseling and clinical psychology, was thrust into the spotlight as the victim of an apparent hate crime when a noose was found on her office door. Students and colleagues rallied to her defense, describing her as a scholar who addressed issues of race head-on. As of last month, the New York Police Department had not identified any suspects in the case.
Tuesday's memo commended Professor Christine Yeh, former TC professor and current faculty member at the University of San Francisco, and former TC students Tracy Juliao and Karen Cort for their cooperation. Yeh did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. One TC faculty member said that nine other students did not come forward against Constantine because they were unable to seek indemnity in time.
Jasmine Alvarez, a TC student in Constantine's department, said she was shocked when she learned about the memo from a Spectator reporter. "I'm shocked. I'm surprised," said Alvarez, who is also the diversity representative for the TC Student Senate. "I wouldn't have expected that. From the many publications that she already has written and from her reputation, that just doesn't add up to me."
"Is this where our tuition dollars are going? Toward the investigation of a woman whose words of insight and provocative thoughts have progressed the academic battle toward social justice?" said Amanda Luterman, a TC student in counseling and clinical psychology. "I honestly don't understand the priorities here anymore when I see the good guys under siege."
Paul Giacomo, Constantine's lawyer, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.