Germany’s education minister and a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to take legal action after her former university stripped her of her doctorate because of plagiarism.
The University of Dusseldorf announced Tuesday that parts of Annette Schavan’s 1980 doctoral thesis "Person and Conscience" had been copied and they had decided to void her PhD, the Agence France-Presse reported.
But Schavan has refused to resign, despite opposition calls for her to quit, and says she will fight the ruling in court.
"I will not accept the decision of the University of Dusseldorf and I will file a lawsuit against it," Schavan was quoted as saying during a visit to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Schavan is not the first German minister to run into problems over plagiarism.
Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, once seen as a possible successor to Merkel, resigned in 2011 after it was discovered he had plagiarized parts of his doctoral thesis.
The scandal earned the aristocrat the nickname “Baron Cut-and-Paste,” Reuters reported.
But the accusations against Schavan, which were brought to the university's attention by an anonymous blogger, according to the Associated Press, are particularly embarrassing.
Not only is the 57-year-old responsible for overseeing Germany’s universities, but she was "scathing in her criticism" of Guttenberg, Reuters said.
And the accusations come just months before September's national election.