Madonna Constantine

Madonna G. Constantine[1] is a former psychology and education professor at Columbia University's Teachers College. She was fired in 2008 on grounds of plagiarism.[2]

Education and early career

Constantine earned a B.S. in psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1984,[3] an M.S. from the same institution in counseling, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Memphis.[4] She worked at the University of Texas at Austin for five years at the Counseling and Mental Health Center before becoming the director of the Temple University vocational counseling center.[5] She joined Teachers College, Columbia University in 1998, earned tenure in 2001, and (after a brief interlude at Ohio State University[6]) became a full professor in 2003.[5][7]

Noose incident

In October 2007, Constantine, who is African-American, received national attention when a noose was discovered hanging on the door of her office.[5] Students rallied on Teachers College steps and walked through Columbia's campus denouncing racism at a press conference, where Constantine read from a statement.[8] In March, 2008, a grand jury was convened to investigate the noose incident.[9] Columbia University stonewalled law enforcement for 24 hours, originally demanding a subpoena, before agreeing to release security tapes that could help identify the suspect.[10] There were allegations that Constantine placed the noose on her own door in an attempt to fabricate an apparent hate crime.[11]

Plagiarism and dismissal

In February 2008, Constantine faced unspecified sanctions from the university for plagiarism. A law firm hired by Teachers College to investigate Constantine issued a report citing "numerous instances in which she [Constantine] used others' work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years."[12][13][14] Constantine denied the charges of plagiarism and claims that she is a victim of institutional racism because the University did not fully investigate the allegations.[15][16][17] Constantine alleged that evidence she presented establishing her innocence was ignored even when independent third parties corroborated it.[15]

College officials were reported to say that the investigation had been underway for eighteen months, which (as The New York Times noted) means that it began prior to, and was in progress during, the time of the noose incident.[18]

According to reports, the investigation was handled by a law firm rather than a faculty committee because of administration fears that a misstep might leave the college vulnerable to a lawsuit.[19]

The Columbia Daily Spectator (the Columbia student newspaper) reported that the noose incident sparked a renewed discussion of racism at Teachers College.[20] The Spectator also conducted its own analysis of the 36 passages that were involved in Teachers College’s determination that Constantine was guilty of academic plagiarism, and the paper concluded that there were significant similarities between the passages by Constantine and passages by Professor Christine Yeh and two Teachers College students.[21] A later Columbia Spectator article reported that Constantine's attorneys had presented evidence to the Columbia Spectator as well as to Columbia which the attorneys asserted proved Constantine's "prior authorship of all of the passages that...are have been plagiarized".[22] Columbia officials rejected those claims, saying that the authenticity of that evidence could not be verified.[6]

On June 23, 2008, Teachers College announced that Constantine would be fired effective at the end of the year.[23] In October 2008 Constantine filed suit against the college, alleging that her termination was "arbitrary, irrational, and unauthorized,"[24] but the suit was "disposed". Constantine filed a defamation lawsuit against Columbia in April 2009.[25] She lost one of 3 lawsuits against Teachers College in March 2010.[26] In March of 2012, The New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the dismissal of Madonna Constantine's defamation action against Columbia University and others. [27]


  • Constantine, M. G. (2007). Racial microaggressions against African American Clients in Cross-Racial Counseling Relationships. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 1-16.
  • Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (2007). Perceptions of Racial microaggressions among Black Supervisees in Cross-Racial Dyads. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 142-153.
  • Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (Eds). (2006). Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
  • Smith, T. B, Constantine, M. G., Dunn, T. W., Dinehart, J. M., & Montoya, J. A. (2006). Multicultural Education in the Mental Health Professions: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 132-145.
  • Constantine, M. G., & Sue, D. W. (Eds). (2005). Strategies for Building Multicultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
  • Constantine, M. G., Warren, A. K., & Miville, M. L. (2005). White Racial Identity Dyadic Interactions in Supervision: Implications for Supervisees' Multicultural Counseling Competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 490-496.
  • Miville, M. L., Constantine, M. G., Baysden, M. F., So-Lloyd, G. (2005). Chameleon Changes: An Exploration of Racial Identity Themes of Multiracial People. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 507-516.
  • Wallace, B. C., & Constantine, M. G. (2005). Afrocentric Cultural Values, Psychological Help-Seeking Attitudes, and Self-Concealment in African American College Students. Journal of Black Psychology, 31, 369-385.
  • Constantine, M. G., Wallace, B. C., & Kindaichi, M. M. (2005). Examining Contextual Factors in the Career Decision Status of African American Adolescents. Journal of Career Assessment, 13, 307-319.
  • Constantine, M. G., Anderson, G. M., Berkel, L. A., Caldwell, L. D., & Utsey, S. O. (2005). Examining the cultural adjustment experiences of African international college students: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 57-66.
  • Constantine, M. G., Melincoff, D. S., Barakett, M. D., Torino, G. C., & Warren, A. K. (2004). Experiences and perceptions of multicultural counselling scholars: A qualitative examination. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 17, 375-393.
  • Constantine, M. G., Gainor, K. A., Ahluwalia, M. K., & Berkel, L. A. (2003). Independent and interdependent self-construals, individualism, collectivism, and harmony control in African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 29, 87-101.
  • Constantine, M. G. (2002). Predictors of satisfaction with counseling: Racial and ethnic minority clients' attitudes toward counseling and ratings of their counselors' general and multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49, 255-263.
  • Constantine, M. G. (2001). Predictors of observer ratings of multicultural counseling competence in Black, Latino, and White American trainees. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 48, 456-462.
  • Perez, R. M., Constantine, M. G., & Gerard, P. A. (2000). Individual and institutional productivity or racial and ethnic minority research in the Journal of Counseling Psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 223-228.


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