Sunday, October 14, 2007

Noose incident haunts Columbia University recruiting

Noose incident haunts Columbia University recruiting
Sunday, October 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

The disgrace of a hangman's noose left on a black professor's door overshadowed a student recruitment event at Columbia University Teachers College Saturday.

Faculty members were forced to reassure prospective applicants that the grad school is committed to tolerance and diversity.

"The college community is going to have to take some time to sort out what happened and what this event will mean for Teachers College students," Prof. Aaron Pallas told them.

General Counsel Janice Robinson said to one group, "We will begin to move forward and not let this affect incoming students. But we can't forget what happened."

The bias crime didn't appear to keep students away. Droves attended the information sessions just five days after the racist symbol was found.

But young people checking out the Ivy League campus said the incident - which targeted Prof. Madonna Constantine - weighed on their minds.

"It does matter. It matters to humanity as a whole," said Marlena McMahon-Purk, 21, of Washington Heights.

There have been no arrests in the case, and the NYPD is still reviewing footage from six video cameras, tape the university wouldn't turn over without a court order. Sources said police need to enhance some images on the tapes.

Two days after the noose was found, police were called to the Morningside Heights campus again to investigate a swastika on a bathroom wall.

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