Posts Tagged ‘shoe waving’

Summa cum fraude: Now shoe waving to show contempt for Guttenberg

February 27, 2011

The German academic world is finally reacting to the Googleberg affaire. A demonstration was held in Berlin on Saturday and an open letter to Angela Merkel has been signed by more than 15,000 academics (as of Sunday noon).

Shoe waving as a means of showing contempt is spreading. It was very evident at the demonstration in Berlin on Saturday 26th February against Guttenberg and his fraudulent ways and against Angela Merkel for keeping him in his job.

Several hundred demonstrators protested in Berlin on 26th February 2011 against the fact that Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg simply copied parts of his doctoral thesis and therefore lost his PhD but still remains in his job as Defence Minister. Summa cum fraude was the poster in reference to the very lax standards of University of Bayreuth in awarding him a PhD with  “Summa cum laude”  for his plagiarised thesis.


"Summa cum fraude": Photo: DAPD

Shoe waving showing contempt for Guttenberg: photo DAPD

Professor Debora Weber-Wulff writes on her blog:

German scientists and doctoral students are signing an open letter to the German Chancellor by the droves. There are some 7000 (over 15,153 on Sunday at noon -ed) signatures as of Feb. 26, 2011. Since I didn’t go to the demonstration in Berlin this afternoon, I will offer this translation:

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

As doctoral students we have been following the current discussion about the plagiarism accusations against the Minister of Defense, Mr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. We are shocked and do not understand what is happening. We have the impression that you are trying everything in your power to keep a minister in your cabinet who still insists that he did not knowingly deceive in his doctoral thesis, despite massive evidence to the contrary.

With this course of action, the German government and the members of parliament from the coalition [of CDU, CSU and FDP] damage not only themselves, but much more.

Zu Guttenberg has had to distance himself a number of times from statements he has made about his dissertation. The Internet community has with an unparalleled effort managed to demonstrate numerous incidents of clear plagiarism in Mr. zu Guttenberg’s dissertation. The evidence can be openly seen and checked by anyone. It should not surprise anyone that experts in plagiarism are united in the opinion that this is not just a few “embarassing errors”. This is massive, systematic deception.
Zu Guttenberg copied large portions of his dissertation from various sources – apparently with great ambition – and did not name those sources in order to obtain a doctoral title that he used for, among other things, election advertising. The University of Bayreuth did not address this issue of deception [when revoking the doctorate].

In the face of the extent and amount of plagiarism found, it should be as clear to you as it is to us that at the end of an exact investigation by the university, only one result will be possible with respect to the intent to deceive on the part of the minister. This cannot be done unknowingly.

Calling the deception a deception has nothing to do with the minister belonging to a particular political party. We would also demand that politicians from opposing parties step down, if they had given their word of honor that the work was only their own, except for sources as noted, and had plagiarized in the same manner.

On February 23, 2011 Mr. zu Guttenberg stated that he only wants to be judged by his performance as Minister of Defense. He alluded to a phrase you had used when you said that you did not hire him as a research assistant.

This makes a mockery of all the research assistants and doctoral students who honestly endeavor to contribute to the advancement of science. This makes it sound as if obtaining a doctoral title by fraud is just a trivial offense and that the academic word of honor is meaningless in everyday life.

When following the rules of good scientific practice it is not just a question of footnotes, trivialities that can safely be neglected in the face of the larger political problems of the day. This is the foundation of our work and our trustworthiness. We strive in our own work, according to the best of our knowledge and conscience, to reach this high goal at all times. When we fail, we run the risk – and rightly so – of being expelled from the university.
Most of us teach younger students. It is often our job to teach them the basics of good scientific practice. We insist that the students be exact at all times, correctly quoting and clearly noting all help that was used. We don’t do this because we are fanatics about footnotes or because we live in an ivory tower and know nothing about real life. It is our intention to pass on the understanding that scientific progress – and with it progress for society as a whole – is only possible when we can depend on the honesty of the scientific community.

When our students violate these precepts, we grade their efforts as unsatisfactory. On repeated violation, as a rule we try to expel them. Those who have been expelled are denied access to numerous career opportunities – and rightly so – even for jobs that are much less in need of personal integrity then the office of the Minister of Defense.

We may be old-fashioned and are spouting outdated conservative values when we are of the opinion that values such as veracity and a sense of responsibility should also be valid outside of the scientific community. Mr zu Guttenberg seemed to be of this same opinion until very recently.

Research contributes a valuable service to the development of society. Honest and innovative science is the foundation of the prosperity of our country. When it is no longer an important value to protect ideas in our society, then we have gambled away our future. We don’t expect thankfulness for our scientific work, but we expect respect, we expect that our work be taken seriously. By handling the case of zu Guttenberg as a trifle, Germany’s position in world science, its credibility as the “Land of Ideas”, suffers.

Maybe you consider our contributions to society as being negligible. In that case, we kindly request that in the future you refrain from referring to Germany as the “Republic of Education and Culture”, as you often proclaim.


The Undersigned [at the time of translation]

3242 doctoral students
persons with doctorates
other supporters

(Updated ticker of Germans signing the open letter here)

I have no great faith in the level of integrity of European politicians. I cannot see that any principles of ethics or integrity will have any impact on Angela Merkel’s decisions. She will get rid of  Guttenberg if – and only if – she feels that he will be more of a liability rather than an asset in the March elections.

The message of the shoes is clear

February 2, 2011

The mood of the demonstrators in Cairo is captured by the waving shoes in Tahrir Square as Mubarak announces he will not stand again — far too little, much too late.

The political message of shoe throwing or waving is quite unambiguous.

The shoes are out in Tahrir Square: image

In the meantime the duplicitous and corrupt Tony Blair praises Mubarak and reveals his view of democracy – “Democracy is Ok provided I like the result” !!!!!

“Blair said that meant there should not be a rush to elections in Egypt.”

It is incomprehensible for me that a corrupt and intellectually bankrupt lightweight such as Tony Blair with all his demonstrated failings could be “rewarded” by being made an envoy to the Middle East.


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