A professor who was fired for plagiarism by Columbia University is suing the institution and her accusers for $200-million, alleging that she was the victim of an “academic lynching.”
Madonna G. Constantine, a former professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, an affiliated school of Columbia, was fired last July after an investigation found that she had plagiarized the work of two former students and a former colleague. Earlier last year, in an interview with The Chronicle, Ms. Constantine maintained that in fact it was her work that had been plagiarized and that her accusers had been motivated by professional envy.
A spokeswoman for Columbia said today that the lawsuit was without merit.
In her lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in New York state court, Ms. Constantine asserts that evidence that would have exonerated her was ignored, covered up, or destroyed. Ms. Constantine has a separate lawsuit pending against Columbia in which she is seeking reinstatement to her position.
In 2007, Ms. Constantine says, she found a noose outside her office door. In her new lawsuit, she says that she recently received a photograph of a noose in the mail and that the incidents “symbolize the academic lynching” she has suffered. —Thomas Bartlett