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Dhaka Tribune

DU finds proof of plagiarism against two teachers

A five-member committee formed by the DU Syndicate submitted the probe report three years after the allegation was raised

Update : 10 Sep 2020, 03:49 PM

The Dhaka University authorities have found proof of plagiarism in a joint article authored by two of its teachers.

However, the probe report, which provides evidence of plagiarism against the teachers, was submitted three years after the probe began, breaching its submission deadline of only four weeks.

The five-member probe body was formed by the DU Syndicate – the highest governing body of DU – on September 27, 2017, at the maiden syndicate meeting chaired by incumbent Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Akhtaruzzaman.

The investigation committee submitted the findings at another syndicate meeting on Wednesday.

Following the revelations, the governing body set up a tribunal to determine the punishment of the guilty teachers.

DU Pro-VC (Administration) Prof Muhammad Samad confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.

In 2017, a spokesperson of the University of Chicago Press, in a letter to the DU authorities, reportedly lodged the plagiarism allegations against Samia Rahman, associate professor of mass communication and journalism, and Syed Mahfujul Haque Marjan, lecturer of criminology.

The spokesperson claimed through a letter that the two teachers co-authored an article which had copied, without proper citations, materials from French philosopher Michel Foucault’s article titled “The Subject and Power.” The letter was read out at September 27, 2017’s meeting.

The 19-page article by Foucault was published in the University of Chicago Press’s journal Critical Inquiry’s Volume 8, Number 4, in 1982.

When asked about the accusations, Marjan, in 2017, had said that Samia Rahman was the first author of the article and if there were any problems, they were in her portion of the work.

“I have no problems in my own part. Samia madam had completed her own portion and sent it to me in email. I have the proof,” Marjan added.

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 - also reportedly accused of plagiarism - in December 2016.

Samia, who is also the head of current affairs of a private television channel, said in 2017: “I was abroad when the article was published. He (Marjan) submitted it without consulting me. I filed a complaint to the then Social Science Faculty Dean Farid Uddin Ahmed [now VC of SUST] after seeing the article published in the journal in my name without my consent.”

She claimed then that she had all the documents regarding the complaint and that the dean’s office failed to respond.

According to DU regulations, if any faculty member is found guilty on plagiarism charges, the highest punishment is job termination. But traditionally, the syndicate tends to demote teachers guilty of such offences. 

The syndicate terminated three teachers on Wednesday:  BNP-backed teacher Prof Morshed Hasan Khan of the marketing department for reportedly defaming Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Assistant Professor Radia Taisir of statistics department for staying abroad without the university’s permission, and former professor Saiful Islam of theatre and performance studies department for unknown reason, said a DU press release on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a five-member probe body was formed during Wednesday's meeting, headed by Pro-VC (admin) Prof Muhammad Samad, to investigate suspended assistant registrar Sharmin Jahan's alleged involvement with supplying fake masks at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital.

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