Annette Schavan has officially resigned from her government position as Germany’s education minister after she was found to have plagiarized on her doctoral dissertation. The announcement of this high profile and politically charged case was announced today by German chancellor Angela Merkel who accepted Mrs. Schavan’s resignation. Schavan was also stripped of her doctorate degree by the University of Düsseldorf after an anonymous online posting back in April of last year. This the second time in less than two year Merkel had to deal with the embarrassment and humiliation that one of her party members is ousted from office as a result of plagiarism. In 2011, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany’s former defense minister was also found guilty of plagiarizing on his doctoral thesis and ended up resigning from his position soon after.
Some members of The Christian Democratic Union, to which Schavan and Merkel belong were quick to react by arguing that the entire case is the result of political machination against a member of their party. Annette Schavan made a public statement announcing that she is challenging the decision of the University of Düsseldorf and will file a lawsuit to defend her name. The investigation that had been conducted by the University of Düsseldorf found that Schavan used multiple passages from outside sources in her thesis, ironically titled “People and Conscience” but failed to properly cite those sources.