She claims she was unjustly framed by some conspirators and made a scapegoat
Samia Rahman, a Dhaka University (DU) faculty member who was demoted recently on charges of plagiarism, has claimed she was the ultimate victim of vengeance and what she called dirty politics of the university.
She made the comments on Monday at Sagor Runi auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Although allegations of plagiarism in one of the papers authored by her surfaced four years ago, Samia Rahman claimed she had had to remain silent till now due to pressure exerted on her by the university.
Samia Rahman was demoted on January 28 over plagiarism in a joint article by her and a colleague at the university.
On January 28, the DU Syndicate demoted Samia Rahman and Syed Mahfuzul Haque Marjan of the Criminology department. However, a tribunal had recommended that the syndicate cut off an increment from each person as punishment. The Vice Chancellor-led syndicate, however, ordered the demotion of Samia Rahman from associate professor to assistant professor. She cannot apply for a promotion in the next two years.
Samia Rahman, who was also head of current affairs at a private television channel, said at Monday’s press meet that she would continue her legal battle until proven innocent.
She claimed that she had unjustly been framed by some conspirators and made a scapegoat.
“I did not receive justice from the incumbent authorities of the university,” she said.
She urged President Abdul Hamid, the chancellor of the university, to give strict instructions to the DU authorities to reveal the truth in this regard.
Samia Rahman said: “I have proof of not writing or submitting the article for which I have been accused of plagiarism.”
She alleged that some members of the university administration and teachers had been involved in the conspiracy against her.
However, instead of naming the conspirators at the press conference, she asked journalists to investigate the matter.
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Samia and Marjan’s article, “A New Dimension of Colonialism and Pop Culture: A Case Study of Cultural Imperialism,” was published in Social Science Review, the journal of the DU Faculty of Social Science in 2016. This article had reportedly been plagiarized.
In 2017, a spokesperson at the University of Chicago Press reportedly lodged the plagiarism allegations against Samia and Marjan in a letter sent to the authorities of Dhaka University.
The spokesperson claimed that the two teachers had co-authored an article which had lifted material from French philosopher Michel Foucault’s article, “The Subject and Power,” without proper citation. The letter was read out at the September 27, 2017 syndicate meeting.
The 19-page article by Foucault was published in the University of Chicago Press Journal in 1982.
Samia Rahman claimed the spokesperson, Alex Martin, was not even an authorized representative of the Chicago Journal in question.
She said she had come upon the information after contacting the authorities of the journal. She said the mail sent to DU was from a Gmail account whereas the journal sends emails from its authorized domain.
“The tribunal appointed to determine my penalty recommended punishment for the reviewer and the board of the DU Journal where the article was published. They were not punished as they are established and I am the scapegoat,” she alleged.
She said that Marjan had put her name into the article without her consent.
Marjan, who was a lecturer, needed to put her name in the paper as he needed an experienced teacher as co-author to publish the paper. Samia Rahman said: “He was my student as well.”
Rangpur’s Begum Rokeya University Vice Chancellor Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah and lawyer Turin Afroz were also present at the press conference.