An academic committee debated for hours whether to revoke her title for copying passages of her 1980 thesis “Person and Conscience” without citing sources. They found her guilty of “systematic and premeditated” deception.
Although Schavan’s lawyer immediate said she would appeal the decision, it’s unclear whether the conservative Christian Democrat can survive as Germany’s top education official.
The affair is an embarrassing election-year blow for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who already lost one minister for plagiarizing a doctoral dissertation.
In 2011, her popular defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, was forced to resign after it was revealed he had copied large chunks of his thesis.
Accusations of Schavan’s plagiarism were first published anonymously on the blog schavanplag.wordpress last May, prompting her alma mater to announce it would investigate.
Altogether, passages on 60 of the dissertation’s 351 pages were found to be questionable.
Schavan has long denied she failed to properly cite her sources.