Romanian education minister hits back at plagiarism accusations

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu on Monday hit back at claims that he plagiarized a university course saying his accusers were seeking to derail new education laws.

Mr Cimpeanu said the main aim of an investigative report published by PressOne was to “block education laws,” when asked to respond to the allegations.  He didn’t deny the charges, however.

The opposition Save Romania Union called for his resignation. „The defender of plagiarists is himself a plagiarist. He shouldn’t spend another second as education minister,” Cătălin Drulă, party chief said.

Investigative journalist  Emilia Sercan who has built her career on uncovering a high-level ring of fraudulent PhDs, on Monday published an article accusing the minister of plagiarizing a university course in 2006.

She claimed he appropriated 13 chapters which were the work of  two other authors at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

The allegations focus on a paper called “Irrigation, drainage, combating soil erosion. Irrigation of crops” and the minister is accused of plagiarizing 92 pages by posing as the author of the respective sections of the university course.

“Such attempts to stop the education laws from their natural course – which are of interest to millions of children – cannot influence me, even if they are specific personal approaches”, he said. He did not directly respond to the charges.

PressOne said the name of the original authors was replaced by the name of the current education minister in the 2006 edition and also in a later version, which was  published in the same form.

In January, PressOne accused Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă of plagiarizing parts of his doctoral thesis. He denied the allegations.

A Romanian court struck down the allegations in July, prompting claims that the ruling was politically motivated.

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