Thursday, October 11, 2007

Campus rage Students, victim won’t be silenced by noose

Campus rage
Students, victim won’t be silenced by noose

by joshua rhett miller / metro new york
OCT 11, 2007

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS. A day after a hangman’s noose was found on the office door of a black professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, hundreds of students, faculty members and elected officials said the hate crime had no place on the Ivy League campus.

“Hanging the noose on my door reeks of cowardice and fear on many, many levels,” the victim, Madonna Constantine, said during a raucous rally outside the school yesterday. “I would like the perpetrator to know I will not be silenced.”

Constantine, 44, a professor of psychology and education, said she was sorry the university was exposed to “such an unbelievably vile incident” and thanked her supporters after making a brief statement. She did not address reporters.

Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman said a closed-door meeting with faculty and students was planned for last night, giving the “TC family” its first chance to formally discuss the incident.

“I share your shock and outrage,” Fuhrman told the crowd. “This is an abhorrent act. It has no place anywhere and it has no place in this great institution.”

Elizabeth Mayton, a doctoral student who attended yesterday’s rally, said she was “disgusted and embarrassed” by the noose — but wasn’t surprised.

“I know a lot of people are racist and that’s just how it is,” said Mayton, who is white. “From what I’ve heard, there’s been things like this going on all over the place.”

Deputy Inspector Michael Osgood, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force, said the 4-foot-long twine noose was likely placed on the doorknob of Constantine’s office sometime between 8 and 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. The rope, which appeared to be tied by hand, was being tested for DNA yesterday at a police lab in Queens, he said.

“We have not, I repeat, we have not identified a suspect in this case,” Osgood said during a news conference. “As standard operating procedure, we are following whatever leads present themselves.”

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