FU Berlin checks Giffey’s dissertation again

OAlthough Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey decided not to use her doctorate after discussions about her dissertation, the Free University of Berlin is reviewing the controversial scientific work again. The university announced on Wednesday evening. It should now be examined whether the right decision had been made after the conclusion of the first test procedure. In autumn 2019, the university decided against withdrawing the doctorate, but issued a reprimand to Giffey.

An examination board is now to be set up again by the responsible doctoral committee of the Political and Social Sciences department. However, this should not include a member of the old commission. This means that Giffey’s supervisor, Tanja Börzel, is not there either. The FU announced that it would make the names of the members public. The president of the university, Günter M. Ziegler, said: “The members will all be members with a backbone.” The university wishes to conclude the procedure – regardless of the complexity – if possible during the lecture period of the winter semester, ie at the end of February of the year 2021. The university reacted to several critical reports on its approach.

The family minister, however, had already announced on Friday that she would refrain from using her doctorate. The background for this step: The Free University (FU) had announced that it wanted to reopen the examination procedure for its doctoral thesis. Giffey had ruled out further consequences. She wants to hold on to her candidacy for the Berlin SPD state chairmanship on November 27th. She is also expected to be the top candidate for the House of Representatives election in the fall of 2021. So her goal: to become Berlin’s Supreme Mayor.


A spokesman for the FU announced on Friday that they had taken note of Giffey’s letter and the FU was now examining possible effects on the procedure.

After the SPD minister waived her doctorate, the CDU leadership insisted on continuing the examination procedure. “In the case of Giffey, a final review and evaluation is essential in the interests of the integrity of our science system,” said the chairwoman of the CDU Federal Committee for Education, Research and Innovation, Karin Prien, on Saturday at the German Press Agency (dpa) in Berlin.

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