Calling it “violence against the University,” oppositional politicians and University professors Djordje Pavicevic and Biljana Stojkovic have condemned the reinstatement of current Serbian Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali, which had been voided because his thesis was found to be plagiarized.
In response to the Belgrade Administrative Court decision ordering the University of Belgrade to restore Mali’s controversial doctorate, Djordje Pavicevic, an MP of the Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own movement and a professor at the Belgrade University School of Political Sciences, told Nova on March 22 that the ruling is an abuse of state institutions. In his opinion, “the fact that the court determined certain procedural mistakes were made” by the University when processing Mali’s case “cannot erase” the fact that Mali is “a notorious plagiarizer” who demonstrated “intellectual dishonor.”
In a March 21 statement for N1, co-president of the Together party and Belgrade University School of Biology professor Biljana Stojkovic said that the court’s decision shows that Serbia’s judiciary is subjugated to the ruling regime and also proves that the regime is not satisfied with the “role” the University of Belgrade plays in the country’s current power structure.
According to the court’s official explanation, received by N1 on March 21, the University’s decision which stripped Mali of the doctor’s degree he received from the Belgrade University School of Organizational Sciences in 2013 “currently has no legal basis.”
Said decision was made by the University of Belgrade Senate on Dec. 22, 2021, due to the “academic dishonesty” Mali displayed by plagiarizing his PhD thesis – and was also the second time the University had voided Mali’s title. The Senate’s first such decision was overturned by the Administrative Court as well, again citing a procedural error. Both court rulings were the result of Mali appealing the University’s judgement.