German Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Geffe has resigned after years of wrangling over her doctoral thesis. The minister was charged with plagiarism in 2019. The Free University of Berlin was already looking into the thesis at the time, but the issue was still hotly debated. Amid the controversy, the minister has now decided to step down.
Francesca Geffe has held the position of Minister of Family Affairs in Germany since 2018. In February 2019, she was criticized for plagiarism in his 2010 PhD thesis. The Free University of Berlin examined the thesis in the same year and finally made a decision to reprimand the minister. Her academic title has not been withdrawn.
In recent days, this issue has been reopened. Geoffe replied that she had tried to write the thesis “as best as possible” and that she “regrets making the mistakes.” However, the minister decided to withdraw from her position. She formally submitted her resignation to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Geoffey said she would keep her promise and fight to become the new mayor of Berlin. He will be elected on September 26th.
Not the first time
Doctoral theses have stirred controversy in Germany before. For example, in 2011, then Defense Minister Carl Theodor zu Gutenberg resigned after losing his Ph.D. Large portions of his thesis were not his own. Two years later, in 2013, then-Minister of Education Annette Chavannes resigned after her former university withdrew her title.
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