- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Last August, I wrote on the epidemic of plagiarism scandals which have hit a number of prominent European politicians including Romania’s prime minister and education minister and Hungary’s former president. Two prominent German politicians — Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and European Parliament Vice Presdient Silvana Koch-Mehrin — have already been forced to step down after they were found to have lifted past academic work from other sources.
The next casualty may be Education Minister Annette Schavan, who has been stripped of her doctorate by the University of Dusseldorf:
Based on an internal university analysis of Schavan’s doctoral thesis, which she submitted in 1980, and on her own statement regarding her work, the committee voted 12 to 2 to invalidate her academic title, Bleckmann said. There was one abstention. "As a doctoral candidate, she systematically and deliberately presented intellectual efforts throughout her entire dissertation that were not her own," Bleckmann said. Large sections of the work, he continued, had been taken from elsewhere without adequate attribution. As such, she was guilty of "intentional deception through plagiarism."
Schavan is fighting the decision, saying that citation standards were different at the time. If the charges stick, there’s a good chance she will be dropped from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. Perhaps ironically, the paper was on "Person and conscience—Studies on conditions, need and requirements of today’s consciences."