Hangman's Noose Targets Columbia Professor

Students have planned a walkout as police investigate the possible hate crime.

ByABC News
October 10, 2007, 8:57 AM

Oct. 10, 2007 — -- New York police are investigating a possible hate crime at Columbia University Tuesday after a hangman's noose was tied to the door of a black professor at Columbia's Teachers College.

The noose was discovered on the door of Teachers College professor Dr. Madonna Constantine, shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to WABC.

Constantine is a professor of psychology and education and is the director of the Cultural Winter Roundtable in psychology and education at the Teachers College. She has written broadly on themes of multiculturalism, racism and ethnicity, according to a list of publications on her online faculty bio.

At a demonstration this afternoon outside the Teachers College, Constantine challenged the person or persons who hanged the hateful symbol.

"Pinning a noose on my door reeks of cowardice and fear on many, many levels," Constantine said to applause. "I would like the perpetrator to know I will not be silent."

Teachers College President Susan Furhman sent an e-mail to students and faculty Tuesday afternoon explaining why police from the city's hate crimes task force were on the campus.

"The TC community and I deplore this hateful act, which violates every Teachers College and societal norm," the e-mail read, which was released to ABC News.

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger also took on the incident in a written statement released to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper. "This is an assault on African-Americans and therefore is an assault on every one of us," Bollinger said in the statement.

Police were checking campus security cameras to determine whether the act was caught on tape. They were also considering the possibility that the noose may have been placed by another faculty member as part of an ongoing dispute with Constantine, WABC reported.

The suspected hate crime comes less than two weeks after a highly controversial appearance at Columbia by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the discovery of racist and Islamophobic graffiti at the Teachers College, ranked the best graduate school education program in the country.