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Professor in noose case fired for plagiarism

  • Story Highlights
  • Columbia University professor who found noose on her door has been fired
  • University: Madonna Constantine published academic work without crediting others
  • Constantine calls investigation, prior incidents as "conspiracy," "witch-hunt"
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From Mythili Rao
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Columbia University professor, who gained notoriety when a noose was found on the door of her office, has been fired after months of public and private allegations of plagiarism and racial targeting.

Madonna Constantine, professor of psychology and education at the university's Teachers College, was initially suspended after an independent 18-month investigation into allegations of plagiarism concluded that on several occasions she had published academic work without crediting others for content.

Constantine immediately denounced the findings as well as her suspension, calling the university's actions "vindictive and mean-spirited."

"It is my opinion that this investigation, along with other incidents that have happened to me at Teachers College in recent months, point to a conspiracy and witch-hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community," she said in a written statement.

Twenty-six pages of tables and spreadsheets submitted to CNN by Paul Giacomo, Constantine's attorney, contend that the passages in question can be traced to previous writings by Constantine.

According to Giacomo, the former teacher at the school and two former students who alleged plagiarism had in fact plagiarized from Constantine. He called the termination of his client's employment an "entirely retaliatory" move intended to punish Constantine for filing a grievance against the university president and appealing the faculty's prior decision to suspend her.

He called the university's treatment of his client unfair.

"To me, it was tantamount to a kangaroo court," Giacomo said of the review process. "They wanted to be rid of her."

A spokesperson representing Teachers College disagreed. "She was given a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations against her," Marcia Horowitz of Rubenstein public relations told CNN. "She was provided with copies of the journal works where similarities were found and was given an opportunity to explain them. All appropriate legal processes were followed."

Giacomo said Constantine may challenge the university's actions in court.

The NYPD would not comment on the progress of the investigation into the noose incident.

CNN's Nkechi Nneji contributed to this story

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