Have you been wondering what’s happening with the Columbia University noose incident? Me, too. I missed the New York Sun’s report earlier this week about an unjustly accused professor whom the school failed to support even after she had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
You probably missed it, too.
Columbia University is issuing a belated defense of a professor who earlier this month was falsely accused of hanging a noose on a colleague’s door.
For weeks, the university has been silent as a tenured professor of psychology and education at the Teachers College, Suniya Luthar, has been portrayed in press reports as a rival professor driven by a personal grudge over a book credit to intimidate a colleague, Madonna Constantine, by hanging a noose from her office door.
The president of Teachers College, Susan Fuhrman, said on Friday that in an effort to protect her privacy, the school had failed to offer Ms. Luthar the “public support she deserved.” Ms. Luthar is “one of the most decent human beings we know,” Ms. Fuhrman said during a speech on the state of Teachers College. “Professor Luthar is an eminent and cherished member of our faculty and deserves the embrace and support of this community.” Reached at her home yesterday, Ms. Luthar said she did not want to “fan the flames” by discussing her reaction. She did say the belated response from Columbia made her wonder “what took them so long.”
Left hung out to dry, Ms. Luthar is showing admirable restraint. I feel much sympathy for her. Her exoneration won’t get on the front page or on the nightly news. She deserves better.
Meanwhile, the push for noose legislation continues apace. The New York Post sounds a note of caution amid the hysteria:
The state Senate on Monday passed a bill that would make it a class E fel ony to place, draw or otherwise display a noose – on public or private property – and too bad about the First Amendment.
Now, the temptation for legislators to get tough on nooses has been understandably strong recently – given the lawmakers’ proclivity to pander, and the uproar over the noose found on a black professor’s door at Columbia’s Teachers’ College earlier this month and the ensuing series of apparent copycat incidents.
Disgusting occurrences, each and every one – but they’re no excuse for an end-run around free-speech rights.