The Belgrade University Senate unanimously declared Serbia’s Finance Minister Sinisa Mali’s doctorate as plagiarism and annulled it.
The Senate confirmed the University Commission for Professional Ethic’s decision with all 32 members who were in the meeting voting in favour.
That is the final step regarded the University, and Mali can appeal the decision with the Administrative Court.
The Minister’s doctorate saga dragged for years before the students organized in the 1in5 million Movement blocked the Rectorate for 12 days and were supported by the Rector Ivanka Popovic and other professors in their demand to finally solve what they described as plagiarism from the beginning.
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Many professors from home and abroad said the same, but the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON) first voted it was not and then changed its ruling.
Professor Dragan Popadic, from the Faculty of Philosophy, told Radio Slobodna Evropa (RSE) that as a citizen, he considers that it is both embarrassings also dangerous for Mali to remain in such an important government position after the annulment of his doctorate. He believes, however, that this is exactly what will happen.
Mali received his PhD in 2013 from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON) in Belgrade on the theme “Creating value through restructuring and privatization processes – theoretical concepts and achievements in Serbia”.
The investigation into the thesis of Sinisa Mali, who in the meantime has made a career in politics and joined the Serbian government as Minister of Finance, lasted five years.
The Faculty of Organizational Sciences initially decided that the Minister’s thesis had not been plagiarized, since, as stated, only 7% of the text had been transmitted without mentioning the source, but the University did not accept the report and sent it back to the FON for review.
(Radio Slobodna Evropa, 12.12.2019)
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