Ivanka Popovic, University of Belgrade’s rector, on Jan. 9 said that the case involving Finance Minister Sinisa Mali’s plagiarized doctoral thesis had been covered by the media almost like events from a reality show, which, according to her, only fortified the impression that the annulment of the thesis was a political decision.
“The story has been politicized, but the process [of determining whether the thesis was plagiarized] hasn’t. And here I try to point to a very important distinction: the circumstances surrounding the said case are political, but the University’s procedure itself is not,” said Popovic for the Vreme weekly.
For this reason, the rector went on, she stands by her belief that it had been an academic decision, adding that the first 15 months of her mandate have been marked by the said case, which overshadowed all other accomplishments of her cabinet.
One of those other achievements, she added, is that the University of Belgrade has joined the Circle U, a European university alliance, and that now the university only needs to apply for funding through the European Commission’s open call.
“If we successfully apply, we should be able to obtain financial support for our interconnection activities. This, however, is where we can see the alliance’s quality as the European Commission will support only 24 alliances in this call,” said Popovic, stressing the importance of the application, and the alliance joining the ranks of institutions which will subsequently receive additional funding.
The members of the Circle U. are, in addition to the University of Belgrade, the University of Oslo, Aarhus University in Denmark, UC Louvain in Belgium, Université de Paris in France, King’s College London in the U.K., and Humboldt University Berlin in Germany.