Wednesday Humor: German Education Minister Stripped Of PhD For Plagiarism

Tyler Durden's picture

Some thought the irony of a Treasury Secretary who cheated on his taxes was extreme but Germany has gone one better as the nation's Education Minister has just been stripped of her PhD due to plagiarism. As Spiegel Online reports, the University of Düsseldorf has revoked German Education Minister Annette Schavan's degree because "she systematically and deliberately presented intellectual efforts throughout her entire dissertation that were not her own." As such, she was guilty of "intentional deception through plagiarism." Allegations that parts of her dissertation were not consistent with academic standards were first raised last spring and were hardened in October when a blogger released detailed findings of citation shortcomings he had found in the education minister's dissertation. Of course, she has taken the political route to this problem - denial -  admitting merely to "oversights," and adding that "There was no cheating involved." The university voted 12 to 2 to revoke her degree and invalidate her academic title. Schavan is yet to resign from Merkel's Cabinet. What next? A skeet-shooting gun tzar, a job tzar responsible for thousands of jobs losses while in the private sector, or a Nobel Peace Prize winner building a drone army.


Via Spiegel Online,

Merkel's Education Minister Has Ph.D. Title Revoked


German Education Minister Annette Schavan has long been dogged by accusations that she had plagiarized parts of her Ph.D. thesis. Now, the University of Düsseldorf has revoked her degree. She may be forced to resign from Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet.


It was shortly after 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening when Bruno Bleckmann, a professor of ancient history at the University of Düsseldorf, stepped in front of the waiting journalists. He quickly strode up to the microphone to deliver his statement. A faculty board, Bleckmann said, had arrived at the decision to declare German Education Minister Annette Schavan's Ph.D. thesis "invalid and to revoke her doctor title."


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."


The announcement is the worst possible outcome for Schavan. The very suspicion that she had plagiarized parts of her dissertation had "hit her hard," as she said last year. Allegations that parts of her dissertation were not consistent with academic standards were first raised last spring and were hardened in October when a blogger released detailed findings of citation shortcomings he had found in the education minister's dissertation. She has consistently denied the charges, admitting merely to "oversights." Immediately after Bleckmann finished delivering his statement, Schavan's lawyer released a statement indicating that the minister planned to file a legal challenge to the revocation of her dissertation at a Düsseldorf court. "There was no cheating involved," the statement read.




'Accepted Guidelines'


Bleckmann also rejected Schavan's argument that conventions regarding citations were different at the time when she wrote her dissertation. He said that the board's decision was not a "projection of today's standards back in time." He pointed out that even at the time there were "accepted guidelines" that explained how to correctly cite passages taken from secondary sources. One version of those guidelines had even been published by her Ph.D. advisor, it was recently revealed.





Schavan is now faced with the prospect of losing her position on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet. It wouldn't be the first time that a German cabinet minister was forced to resign after losing a doctor title. Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down in the spring of 2011 after it was determined that he had plagiarized large sections of his Ph.D. thesis. Already, demands have been made for Schavan to resign from her party by the Greens, the Left Party and the Pirate Party.



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
redpill's picture

Don't forget the illegal gun-running attorney general put in charge of gun ownership regulations!

Raymond Reason's picture

If you've got a PhD, you didn't write that dissertation. 

tarsubil's picture

I've got a PhD. My dissertation wasn't entirely on the up and up. Although, all the ideas (and lies) were entirely my own. Oh well, when in Rome.

AngryGerman's picture

you still have the jizz of the profs on your face??

NotApplicable's picture

Oh noes! The facade is crumbling!

redpill's picture

Shocking that in an ivory tower education culture that discourages creative thinking and rewards lock-step adherence to current established ideas that people would feel compelled to copy the work of others.

NotApplicable's picture

Is that a popping "education" bubble I see?

AngryGerman's picture

nope, throughout time you always got your phd by getting your "bubble" popped!



Pladizow's picture

Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.” - Edward Abbey

The Tylers should have their PhD (Playa Hatin' Degree) stripped away!

Dr.'s picture

Well, it seems that the Germans actually value their PhD degree and expect the holder to have earned it without ctlr+C & ctrl+P.

trav777's picture

Only the germans would actually go after a plagiarist.  That's highly white of them.

Here in the USA we would give them a holiday or a pulitzer (Roots).

Pladizow's picture

Because in America the elite are not 'white"?

economics9698's picture

MLK and Einstein plagiarized.  She was not in the protected class of people.

Ghordius's picture

"highly white"? interesting view. here we'd say "very northern", with a special emphasis on good governance (the opposite of corruption)

the interesting thing is that this very moment a whole generation of "doctors" and "professors" of "libaral arts" (like journalism) are trembling in their boots and wonder if they will be targeted

outside of the hard, technical sciences, nearly everybody was plagiarizing, that's why they were picking those "intellectual directions" in the first place

you would't expect this from Germany, eh?

Joe Davola's picture

Worst case I ever saw was an interviewee who gave me a copy of his thesis and while reading through it some of the figures and verbiage looked similar to a textbook from another author sitting on my shelf.  The figures were exactly the same, the verbiage for whole chapters of the thesis were the same as in the book.  I'm still unsure who lifted from whom - but it was even down to the typesetting that was the same.  Dude wasn't hired.  How it got past his comittee is concerning.

AngryGerman's picture

...concerning as in like getting on his four and taking it through every hole at the same time. thats not concerning, that pretty standard down at the "happy home"

Joe Davola's picture

There is that.

However, I'm more inclined to figure the comittee didn't really review and/or have the knowledge to review.

tarsubil's picture

You cut me real deep man. Your avatar provided me comfort. Thank you.

Turin Turambar's picture

Can you really blame the lady?  Tired old leftist canards have been around for centuries.  It's pretty difficult to reinvent the wheel just to get a PhD stamp from the approved leftist intelligentsia.  :-O

Not Too Important's picture

Or Goldman apparatchiks in charge of national treasuries.

Stackers's picture

Does Germany have an Oprah Show for her to go on ?

Pladizow's picture

No, but perhaps they could get one of those camps up and running?

IridiumRebel's picture

When do Krugman and Bernanke get stripped for shear idiocy?

Popo's picture

Bernanke is clearly on the record for misunderstanding the biggest financial collapse in history, and being completely unaware of it just months before it hit.

There's really no arguing his incompetence.  

Since then he's obviously spent most of his time coming up with ways of describing "printing money" to make it sound like some kind of a new cutting-edge concept.



NotApplicable's picture

Well, if TPTB remain intact, they'll white-wash him into a hero, just like all of the other snake-oil salesmen of days past. Both Roosevelts come to mind, being nothing but the Bushes of the day.

As Shrub himself stated, "We write history."

Lore's picture

Can a dissertation be rejected on the basis of intellectual dishonesty, general lameness or plain evil?

Bandit und Buster's picture

"Bernanke is clearly on the record for misunderstanding the biggest financial collapse" Misunderstanding my ass!

The sheep are the only ones 'misunderstanding' the collapse.  Read much history?


That criminal AND the collapse is ALL what the PLAN is about!


TWSceptic's picture

The question still remains, is he really incompetent, or just evil and well aware of what he's doing? I'm more inclined to think it's the latter.

Unprepared's picture

I don't want to see either of them naked.

HyperLazy's picture

Par for the course amongst politicians and academics.

BTW, it was so cold last week - I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets...

Poetic injustice's picture

That story is too unbelievable to be true!

BattlegroundEurope2011's picture

Not just in China.  Who would'uv thought.

Its just too easy to "cut & paste then print" these days....go ask the bernanke

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

I eat apple, Apple is good

Cheesy Bastard's picture

In America plagiarism gets you promoted to vice president.

zero deception's picture

What?! The Pirate Party asked her to resign. What kind of self-respeicting pirate asks another to play nicd.

I need more cowbell's picture

Yikes, Gott in Himmel. I bet that the only thing she's ever been stripped of

Joe Davola's picture

I bet she looks hot - near the end of Oktoberfest.

dracos_ghost's picture

Ich bin Fraudliner

schatzi's picture

The icing on the cake was that she initiated the dumping of another minister: Guttenberg for plagiarism and claimed she felt embarrassed for all scientists. I swear, the quality of humans we have as politicians is more than depressing. It's despairing.

NotApplicable's picture

Quality humans would never be evil enough to become politicians, or stupid enough to believe they can reform this criminal syndicate.

Thus, we get one sociopath after another, supported by the self-propelled "reformers."

hooligan2009's picture

but they do get the greatest percentage share of half the people who can even be bothered to vote for a shit sandwich or a douche bag

EvlTheCat's picture

hahahahahahahahaha I needed this.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I nominate her as the first potential candidate for the upcoming 2013 Jean-Claude Juncker & Mariano Rajoy Joint "Lying Is Necessary" Award Mar 14, 2012 - Uploaded by LuxembourgExposed

Featuring the greatest hits, such as: "When it becomes serious, you have to lie" (Wenn es ernst wird, muss man lügen) & It is all untrue, except for some things.

Hedgetard55's picture

Seconded, although she will have much competition before it is all over. Hillary, Timmay, Barry, Carney, Napolitano, Piglosi, Feinstein...