Embattled educator Madonna Con stantine has a one-of-a-kind distinc tion: She's the professor that not even Columbia could stomach.
A panel of her now-former peers last month voted to uphold the decision of Columbia's Teachers College to fire Constantine for plagiarizing the work of her students and another professor.
Constantine, who is black and gained brief notoriety in 2007 after a noose was found attached to her office door, says she's simply a victim of "structural racism" at Columbia.
And her lawyer says he'll go to court to get her job back -- on top of a $200 million defamation lawsuit he's already filed against her accusers and the university.
Hopefully, the legal system will sort through such matters expeditiously.
Still: If Columbia University wasn't cowed into backing down, you have to figure the charges against Constantine are pretty solid.
This is an institution, after all, that's quailed before bad actors in the past:
* In 2006, after students rushed the stage at a public forum to attack an anti-illegal-immigration speaker, the university dithered for months before announcing unspecified actions against some of the students.
* In 2007, Columbia famously honored Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a prime speaking invitation.
* And in April, university President Lee Bollinger recommended that tenure be granted to Joseph Massad, a Middle Eastern studies prof who equates the state of Israel with white supremacism.
Given all this, Constantine might be forgiven for wondering: What's wrong with a little plagiarism, anyway?