BERLIN — A prominent German politician was stripped of her doctorate on Wednesday after a university said she plagiarized parts of her dissertation.
The University of Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw Silvana Koch-Mehrin’s doctor title comes after the resignation in March of Germany’s defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, after it emerged that he copied large parts of his thesis without attribution. Guttenberg also was stripped of his doctorate.
After he resigned, contributors to a website started an unofficial examination of other doctorates and allegations emerged against Koch-Mehrin.
Last month, Koch-Mehrin quit as vice-president of the European Parliament and resigned from the leadership board of her Free Democratic Party, the junior party in Germany’s governing coalition. She said she didn’t want to be a “target for attacks.”
The dean of Heidelberg’s doctorate committee, Manfred Berg, said his panel has now concluded that Koch-Mehrin’s thesis “consists of plagiarisms in substantial parts.”
The university said more than 120 passages were plagiarized, with material lifted from more than 30 publications — many not credited.
Koch-Mehrin said she would seek an examination of whether the university’s decision was unlawful and complained she had not had access to the records, news agency DAPD reported.
She said in a statement that her thesis was “not free of weaknesses, not seldom imprecise, superficial and sometimes downright inaccurate,” but the conclusions were based on her own academic work.
The doctorate was titled “Historical currency union between economics and politics: The Latin Monetary Union 1865-1927.”