UPDATED: More critical voices speak out against Danko’s doctoral dissertation

Three more academic institutions and the Slovak Academy of Sciences have supported the universities in their criticism of the paper and the actions of the current education minister.

Speaker of Parliament Andrej DankoSpeaker of Parliament Andrej Danko (Source: SITA)

Following the critical statements from the Comenius University in Bratislava, the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, teachers and other academic and scientific institutions have also voiced their disagreement with the attempts to cover up and trivialise the case of Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko’s doctoral dissertation.

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Recently, the commission of the Matej Bel University confirmed that he had copied 63 out of 72 pages.

For the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (FIIT STU), it is unacceptable that the doctoral dissertation is plagiarised, whether legislation defines the term or not, and it is at odds with the long held principles of academic ethics that it has been compiled from other sources.

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Read also: Teachers call on Lubyová to stop misleading in Danko’s case Read more 

Moreover, the faculty considers it unacceptable if any person tries to cover up such a paper that is meant to prove their qualification, especially if this person is a high constitutional representative. It is also unacceptable if a university, on whose premises such a thesis has been defended, does not act in order to clear its name. The faculty was also critical of the recent statements of Education Minister Martina Lubyová (nominated by Danko’s Slovak National Party) who is trying to trivialise the matter.

“Such a statement fatally damages the long-term efforts of the STU and our many colleagues at other universities to raise top experts who will do their work professionally, honestly and decently,” reads the statement of FIIT STU’s management and chair of its academy senate, issued on January 17.

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Only under these conditions can experts make a contribution to our society and discourage our young people from going abroad.

“What we have witnessed in the recent months and days is a spit in the faces of our students, colleagues and other honest people who are trying to move our country forward,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Department of Economic Policy of the University of Economics’ Faculty of National Economy (NHF EUBA) have denied using unethical scientific methods.

“The members of the Department of Economic Policy respect academic principles and freedoms, and they openly recognise EUBA’s code of ethics that clearly rejects direct plagiarism and any other non-ethical scientific practice,” reads the statement published on January 20, adding that the code of ethics also rejects the attempt to cover up any such behaviour.

The Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) also sided with the universities, expressing support for the statements that the Comenius University in Bratislava and the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice have issued.

It also referred to its previous statement concerning plagiarism, issued last November, in which it called such behaviour condemnable.

TUKE also responds

Some concerns have meanwhile been raised by the Technical University of Košice (TUKE) as well, which pointed to “unhealthy manipulation and dangerous trivialisation in the case of Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko’s doctoral dissertation”.

“It is a blow below the belt to the academic environment and all honest students and university employees who care about the future of our Slovakia,” TUKE wrote in a statement issued on January 21, as quoted by SITA, adding that every thesis needs to meet some basic ethical principles.

Thanks to many exceptional people working in Slovak universities, education and science in Slovakia stand at strong traditions. It is necessary to protect, develop and strengthen them.

“We care about strengthening the confidence and status of education and science in all fields and that students, graduates, teachers and scientific employees proudly claim allegiance to them,” the statement continues, adding that everybody should realise and fulfil the main function of our universities and protect the basic values and principles.

The devaluation of conditions represented by changes that deform ethical and evaluation criteria in academia might have a negative impact on the development of society, and may result in its deterioration, TUKE claimed.

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