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German Education Minister Accused Of Plagiarizing Her University Thesis

SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, SUDWEST PRESSE, RHEINISCHE POST, BERLINER ZEITUNG (Germany)

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Germany’s Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, has criticized the University of Düsseldorf for allegedly informing the press about the results of a report on plagiarism in her doctoral thesis before she herself had been informed of the existence of the report.

"I won’t stand for it," she told Südwest Presse. "I now have no other option but to defend myself.”

Earlier this year, following allegations by an anonymous blogger that Schavan had plagiarized parts of her PHD dissertation -- written 32 years ago and entitled "Person and Conscience -- Studies on Conditions, Need and Requirements of Today's Consciences" -- the University opened an investigation.

The Rheinische Post quoted Schavan as saying: "At no time during work on my dissertation did I attempt to deceive."

This is not the conclusion reached by University examiners. Süddeutsche Zeitung says the analysis states that the thesis presents "a characteristic picture of a plagiaristic modus operandi.” According to the report, text segments on 60 pages of the 351-page document show evidence of plagiarism.

"It’s a tight situation," said the Berliner Zeitung, noting that the allegations were now no longer those of an anonymous blogger but an official University position.

Dr. Ernst Dieter Rossmann, a Social Democrat Member of Parliament, said that should Schavan be stripped of her doctorate she should resign her ministerial post. 

Green faction leader Renate Künast added that "the credibility that Schavan needs to lead the Ministry successfully has already been lost." Künast told the Rheinische Post that it was "shameful that Schavan wants to sit this out."

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