Phi Beta Cons

Columbia: Creating More ‘Noose-ance’ for the NYPD

noted Friday that administrators at Columbia Teachers College officials seem to expect  “privileged” treatment in their dealings with the law.
First they refused for two days to provide the police’s hate crimes investigators with videotapes relating to the hanging of a noose on a black professor’s office door, demanding first a court order from the police. About this Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has commented further: “We get videotape all the time from the scenes of crimes. Generally speaking, no one requires a subpoena … I think it’s a very broad interpretation of the law … These are public areas that people go through.”
Could it be that the college thinks it is above the rules which generally apply to crime scenes and public spaces, and to which ordinary citizens of good will adhere?
The New York Post is now reporting that Columbia refuses to provide the police with the names of the students whose complaints triggered an internal college investigation of Professor Madonna Constantine, whose office was visited with the noose.
Is the college trying to protect Constantine and, if so, from what? And, in the process, is it hindering the investigation of the noose incident? If so, why?
On top of all this, Columbia is also refusing to provide details of a university investigation into a charged conflict between Constantine and another professor, Suniya Luthar. The latter has accused “her fellow diversity diva” (the Post’s description) of doing only minor work on a book they both worked on but stealing all the credit for it. 
Since not even the name of the book appears to have been readily made available, one can only surmise it is Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings, which Constantine published last year, and around which time the conflict between the two women occurred.
It would be curious if the hanging of a reprehensible noose served to choke off a flow of information necessary to understanding its causes and consequences. If Teachers College wants to invite further investigation and suspicion, and speculation to its motivation, it is moving precisely in the right direction.

Candace de Russy — Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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