Belgrade University Rector Ivanka Popovic said that the review of Finance Minister Sinisa Mali’s doctoral thesis would certainly be completed.
“I can say with certainty that the case of the disputed doctorate by Sinisa Mali will be resolved,” she told Vreme weekly.
The minister has been accused of plagiarism when he wrote his doctoral thesis. The case has provoked protests by students who want an ethics committee to rule on the thesis.
“The policy of not stepping on anyone’s toes is present not only in the University but in society as a whole. There is absolutely no reason for the interests of professionalism not to be a priority. Why should we keep quiet when Belgrade University is the largest expert body with the greatest capacity to resolve expert issues,”she told NIN weekly.
In separate interviews to NIN, Vreme and Nedeljnik weeklies, Popovic said that the public needs to get answers from people they trust and added that the University has to be a place with experts whose opinions are trusted. “If that does not exist, the function of the University as a public resource is lessened,” she said.
The Rector said that people are not prepared to come out in public and the academic community needs to be encouraged to articulate its views more loudly. Everything that is considered to be a weakness of Belgrade University has symbolically poured into the Mali doctorate case, she said. “We have to know that the outcome of this case won’t change the University on its own,” she added.
Popovic said she was not being neutral but was on the side of the University and would fight for values and knowledge that are in its interest.