While the campus is in full uproar, Columbia University is refusing to give the NYPD security videotapes of the office of Madonna Constantine, an African-American professor who found a noose hanging on her office door Tuesday morning. The police began asking for the footage yesterday, but Columbia administrators have turned them down, forcing the police to seek a court order for the tapes. An odd choice for the school to make. Two explanations come to mind!
The first is that, having leaned on the First Amendment as rationale for Iranian prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent speech at the school (the controversial spotlight of which they so thoroughly enjoyed!), the school's administrators may be wary of the appearance of being selective constitutionalists by folding too easily on the Fourth. Hmm. Possible! Unlikely!
The second, (cue swelling conspiratorial background music), is that there is something on that tape that Columbia doesn't want in the public arena. What could it be? Some on the Internets have suggested that Prof. Constantine may have left the noose herself: Making a vague point about the Jena 6? Livening up the stunningly dull academic discourse on diversity and tolerance? Ensuring that the tenure committee will tread lightly come decision-making time?
That's pretty far-fetched. Maybe the tape just happened to catch Columbia president Lee Bollinger in a compromising position with a graduate student. Kidding! Regardless, we're curious about this one. Send your thoughts, hate mail and inside information here.