Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Düsseldorf University to open formal revocation investigation

After an almost six-hour-long meeting behind closed doors, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Düsseldorf voted to open formal revocation proceedings on the dissertation of Annette Schavan, the current German Minister of Education and Research, as noted in a press release issued this evening. Since so many people are interested in this topic world-wide, I am translating it to English here:
In May 2012 a public allegation was raised that the doctoral thesis of Prof. Dr. Schavan contained plagiarism.  If we as a faculty find substantial evidence of  scientific misconduct, we must pursue it vigorously -regardless of the person involved or their social position. There is no legal statute of limitations on such cases.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities must then determine if the doctorate was correctly granted at the time it was granted.

As part of the process, the doctoral committee of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities conducted a preliminary investigation. They examined Schavan's written thesis and obtained a statement from her on the situation.

Based on the recommendation of the doctoral committee, I [the dean,
Bruno Bleckmann] presented the question to the Faculty Board at today's meeting as to whether or not we should proceed with a formal revocation investigation.

The Faculty Board discussed all of the issues raised during the preliminary investigation in detail today. They voted by secret ballot with 14 votes in favor and one abstention to open a formal revocation investigation. 

In the coming weeks, the members of the Faculty Board will intensively deal with the documents prepared by the doctoral committee and the statement from the person in question. The next meeting of the Faculty Board is set for February 5, at which time the continuation of the revocation investigation will be on the agenda. 

I want to emphasize that the process is still open-ended at this point.

For this reason I ask for your understanding that this statement, which details the current status and procedures, is all the information that I can provide at the present time.

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