The University of Bucharest has sent back to the Education Ministry, for the third time, the file of Victor Ponta, with the request to have his Ph.D. title rescinded, University Professor Marian Popescu, Chairman of the University of Bucharest’s Ethics Commission, confirmed on Tuesday. The Education Minister has opened for public consultation a government decision and an emergency ordinance that regulate the way in which Ph.D. titles are rescinded, however the two are yet to end up on the Government’s table.
The two documents, which change the rules of doctoral schools, stipulate that the awarding and rescinding of Ph.D. titles will be among the prerogatives of universities. However, the Ph.D. titles offered so far through minister’s orders will be rescinded by the Education Minister too, not by rectors. What the rectors can do is send to the Education Ministry the decision to have the Ph.D. title rescinded, along with the Ethics Commission’s file. Minister Adrian Curaj stated that based on the new stipulations whoever will be minister will not be able to “avoid” rescinding a title once the university rector signs a decision and the decision is approved.
In early January, when the minister announced how the new rules will look, Professor Mircea Dumitru, the rector of the University of Bucharest, stated that the university he leads will rescind the Ph.D. titles of dignitaries that plagiarized their Ph.D. theses.
According to the new regulations for which Government approval is pending, in case violations of academic ethics are noticed within the Ph.D. thesis, after the Ph.D. title is awarded, the violations will be analyzed by the university’s ethics commission or by the ethics commission of the Romanian Academy, but within a period of 30 days.
Victor Ponta: “I regret that Romania of 2016 has the methods and mentalities typical of the 1950s”
The news that the Bucharest University is asking, for the third time, the rescinding of his Ph.D. title sparked harsh reaction from the former Social Democrat Premier. Ponta says that the overture is political and talks about the “Securitate” and “methods typical of the 1950s.”
“In the 1950s the communists that took over the Bucharest University were firing people based on strictly political criteria! In 2011, several Securitate members were imposed by Basescu at the helm of the University and have been doing the same ever since – decisions on strictly political criteria! (for 4 years they have been dealing SOLELY with my thesis, which I started in 1999 and completed in 2003, on a topic – “International Criminal Court” – that ONLY I tackled during those years. They established a Commission JUST for me and are asking for the rescinding of a legally obtained title JUST in my case). The fact that I will win in court once again (just as I’ve done so far) does not console me! I regret that Romania of 2016 has the methods and mentalities typical of the 1950s, that fundamental institutions are led by people “controlled” by their own weaknesses and “skeletons in the closets.” And I regret that the name of the University is being besmeared by those who should protect it. But I am glad that the Law Faculty has refused to be involved in this political skirmish! In the 1950s and in 2016 too there are people who do not allow themselves to be intimidated!” Ponta wrote on his Facebook page.