updated 2/21/2008 3:39:05 PM ET 2008-02-21T20:39:05

A Columbia University professor whose colleagues found a noose hanging from her office doorway will remain on staff despite being sanctioned for plagiarism, school officials said Thursday.

The university's Teachers College announced Wednesday it had imposed "serious sanctions" against Madonna G. Constantine. The college said a lengthy investigation uncovered numerous instances in which she used others' work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.

Her lawyer said she had been targeted because of her race and hinted the sanctions and noose incident were linked, claims Teachers College spokeswoman Marcia Horowitz denied.

The inquiry into Constantine was launched in 2006, well before the noose — a symbol of lynchings in the Deep South — was discovered this past October, the school said. The incident roiled the Ivy League campus and gained national attention.

Details of the sanctions were not released, but Horowitz said Constantine was not suspended and will remain a tenured professor.

Horowitz said the case was reviewed by an outside law firm as well as a panel of current and former professors at Teachers College.

Constantine, an education and psychology professor who has written extensively about race, said Wednesday that the accusations and the noose incident are part of efforts to intimidate her because she is black.

Lawyer calls probe 'underhanded'
Her lawyer, Paul J. Giacomo Jr., said his client can prove her innocence and called the school's investigation "extremely underhanded from the beginning." He said he will appeal the sanctions.

In a written statement, Constantine said she had been subjected to "a conspiracy and witch hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community."

Her lawyer said she had been targeted because of her race and hinted the sanctions and noose incident were linked, claims that Horowitz denied.

Police at the time ruled out any possibility that Constantine had hung the rope herself. A few weeks later, a swastika was discovered on the door of a Jewish professor at Teachers College. As of Thursday, the investigation was ongoing and there had been no arrests made in either incident, police said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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