• Germany's news in English
 

Schavan won't resign, fights for doctorate

The Local · 6 Feb 2013, 11:50

Published: 06 Feb 2013 11:50 GMT+01:00

Speaking on Wednesday during a trip to South Africa, Schavan said, "I will not accept the decision of Düsseldorf University and will appeal against it. Considering the legal conflict, I ask for your understanding that I will not make any further statements today."

The university decided on Tuesday evening after a lengthy period of consultation to strip her of the doctorate she got in 1980 for her thesis "Person and Conscience". Technically she now only has her Abitur qualification - the German equivalent of British A levels - as she did not take a separate degree but proceeded directly to her doctorate.

She immediately came under intense pressure to resign her ministerial job, with many commentators comparing her case with that of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg who resigned from his defence minister job in 2011 after it was found he had copied large chunks of his doctoral thesis.

Schavan is a close political ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces re-election this September and could do without losing a senior colleague.

Opposition politicians are keen to portray her as a liability for Merkel and spent much of Tuesday evening and Wednesday calling for her resignation, particularly in view of her position as minister for education and research.

German media were a little more forgiving.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said Schavan's case was a borderline one - as demonstrated by the length of time it took the university to check it. "The misconduct of the current minister was more than 30 years ago. One should have taken all of this into account, have reprimanded her for the poor quotes and have been able to leave it at that."

The paper said that with Guttenberg and Schavan, Merkel's government has a plagiarist rate of 12.5 percent - nearly as high as the share of pages in Schavan's doctoral thesis that were erroneous.

"The decision against Schavan sets strict standards, also for the checking of dissertations that have long been mouldering away in libraries. It may be exciting to see who many titles will fall victim to these standards," the paper concludes.

The Berliner Zeitung said, "It is already clear that the decision does not only hit the academic reputation of Frau Schavan. An education minister who is found out to have plagiarised parts of her dissertation can hardly remain in office."

But the paper added that the academics at Düsseldorf University, who did not bring in external examiners to look at the thesis, would also become part of the political discussion. It also said that although it is undisputed that Schavan's work has serious academic errors, a new examination of it more than 30 years later with massive consequences for her career is questionable at the least. "If this concerned a crime it would have long exceeded the statute of limitations," the paper said.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung pointed out that Schavan had set the bar high when she had weighed in publicly on the Guttenberg case, criticising his plagiarism. "She must now be measured against that. Angela Merkel who delayed for a long time in the Guttenberg plagiarism affair can hardly afford, at the start of the federal election campaign, to hold onto a struggling minister."

The Local/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:27 February 6, 2013 by melbournite
and politicians wonder why we hate them. I suggest that the profession is self-selecting, only the biggest liars and cheats make it to ministerial level
22:14 February 6, 2013 by McM
An interesting development, the press calling for the Uni to account for its shonky credential award system at last. While the popular press is off on its latest witch hunt and tall poppy harvesting finally the Berlininer Zeitung has dared to raise the core issue with this type of problem. The speed at which the Uni and academic community has gone into fog production and self righteous hyporacy hinting that they are not responsible for the slack peer review of past academics and how they are all old and retired now blah blah .Ha, what a load of crap. They have to be held accountable if their award candidate is being asked to account.
22:31 February 6, 2013 by pepsionice
Here's the thing. Pull out one thousand thesis from 2001, and it'll shock you....even in Germany....that half the people did a lousy job, and it should NOT have been accepted. Everyone puts this huge emphasis on the thesis and how it's supposed to demonstrate something. The truth is....you actually get more points for writing a great flowing and grammar-correct thesis, but low on real content.

So, let's do the right thing. Start pulling out every thesis written twenty years ago and let's review a second time. I'm pretty sure a vast number will fail.
08:24 February 7, 2013 by Englishted
@ McM

So if I am correct what you are saying is if somebody lies and cheats it is the fault of the person on the receiving end.

If a house is burgled it is the owners of the house that are to blame ,not the person setting out to commit a criminal act .

She used this fraud throughout her rise to high office and also to earn higher wages for a job to which she was not entitled or qualified.

Shame on the press for exposing this fraud ,they should be concentrating on the propaganda about how well we are doing and how low unemployment is etc.etc.
12:03 February 7, 2013 by McM
I propose that all parties be accountable.Simple enough?
Today's headlines
Robber threatens woman with “HIV syringe”
File photo: DPA

Robber threatens woman with “HIV syringe”

1 hour ago

A shocked woman in Munich called police on Sunday evening after a man climbed into her car, demanded her purse – and threatened her with a syringe he said contained HIV.

Day in court for first Loveparade tragedy case
Crosses adorn the stairs which festival-goers fought to reach to escape the crush. Photo: DPA

Day in court for first Loveparade tragedy case

2 hours ago

July 2015 marked five years since one of the worst tragedies in modern German history. But this week, those affected by the 2010 Duisburg Loveparade disaster will at last see the case come to court.

Refugee crisis tests EU's core ideals: Merkel
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Refugee crisis tests EU's core ideals: Merkel

2 hours ago

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the refugee crisis facing Europe is testing the core ideals of universal rights at the heart of the European Union.

German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Going down with a bang. The splash diving championships 2015. Photo: DPA

German named 'arse bombing' world champ

5 hours ago

Summer went out with a bang - and a splash - in southwest Germany, where the finals of the "arse bombing“ world championship 2015 were held on Sunday.

Formula One
Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter
Formula One Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with his wife Vivian. File photo: DPA

Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter

6 hours ago

Star Formula One driver Nico Rosberg confirmed on Monday that he and his wife Vivian are now the parents of a baby girl, saying the couple were “overwhelmed and totally in love”.

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'
Refugees arrive at an intake centre. Photo: DPA

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'

7 hours ago

Germany's top official dealing with refugees said on Monday that there was 'no upper limit' to Germany's capacity for taking in people in need of asylum.

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran
Daniel Barenboim. Photo: DPA

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran

9 hours ago

Iran has barred famed conductor Daniel Barenboim from entering the Islamic republic because of his Israeli citizenship, thwarting his plan to lead a performance in Tehran, media reported Sunday.

Bundesliga
Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win
Borussia Dortmund celebrate scoring against Hertha Berlin. Photo:DPA

Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win

9 hours ago

Borussia Dortmund reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga from Bayern Munich on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin -- their eighth straight win under new coach Thomas Tuchel.

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan
Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Afghanistan on Sunday. Photo:DPA

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan

9 hours ago

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that German friendship with Afghanistan had "no end date" as he visited Kabul under tight security on Sunday.

Migrants crisis
German media and celebs rally for refugees
A welcome party for refugees in Heidenau on Friday. Photo: DPA

German media and celebs rally for refugees

1 day ago

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,931
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd