Belgrade University chief, Rector Ivanka Popovic on Tuesday called the Serbian academic community to resolve the dispute over the allegations that Finance Minister Sinisa Mali had plagiarized his doctoral thesis, saying she stands with her students and accepts moral responsibility.
“As Belgrade University Rector, I accept the moral responsibility and stand with my students who have been in the Rectorate for 12 days, fighting for the autonomy and reputation of the university,” she said, adding that the Rectorate accepts the responsibility to resolve doctorate issues.
In a statement issued after her meeting with the students locked into the Rectorate, she said that “the slow resolving of the validity of Finance Minister Sinisa Mali’s doctorate is harming the reputation of the university as an institution of national importance”, adding that “it is in the interest of the entire academic community to have to the issue resolved as soon as possible”.
The Rector gave a deadline of November 4, 2019 for the Professional Ethics Committee to reach a final decision on whether Mali’s doctorate was plagiarized. She said that date was set by the students in the Rectorate, University Senate, Council and Student Parliament.
Popovic called “all players in political and public life, the president, prime minister, ministers, parliament speaker, ruling majority MPs and all others to behave responsibly with full respect for the autonomy of Belgrade University, its procedures, freedom of though and expression for all its students and staff”.
She said that the students locked in the Rectorate must not be subject to any disciplinary or any other academic consequences.