A First in Romania’s Academic Setting
The Police Academy becomes the first university in the country to lose the right to award doctoral degrees. This comes as a result of a series of five sanctions placed on the Academy due to repeated violations of academic ethics and integrity.
Thanks to a proposal made by the Council of Ethics and University Management, which was issued on Friday, the Minister of Education, Monica Anisie, signed the orders to withdraw the accreditations from the Police Academy’s two schools: the Legal Studies and the Public Order and National Security doctoral schools.
The decision to put a padlock on Police Academy’s “plagiarism factories “ and impose a reformation on the Institution is a historical one.
This is the first time that a supervisory body belonging to the Ministry of Education, namely the Council of Ethics and University Management (CEMU), has ever proposed the withdrawal of a doctoral schools’ accreditation. The reason: “serious and repeated violation of quality standards and professional ethics.”
Consequently, the Police Academy, which is an institution that has awarded 683 doctoral degrees since 1995, now remains without the right to offer further doctoral studies and has been forced to begin a process of restructuring.
Following the cumulation of the five sanctions that the CEMU proposed and that were subsequently enforced by the Ministry of Education, the entire infrastructure of a system which propagates academic corruption is on the verge of collapse.
The infrastructure has developed, consolidated and perpetuated a culture of plagiarism and academic fraud among teachers and PhD students within the Police Academy over the last 25 years. The reality is such that copy and recycling content have become the norm in this Institution, which is responsible for the professional formation of the nation’s future law enforcement officers.
Those who benefitted from the academic fraud at the Police Academy eventually infiltrated key Romanian institutions: legislative, executive, justice, structures of the Ministry of the Interior – where they held and currently hold positions in leadership.
CEMU’s report states that 58 of the doctoral theses, which were defended between 2011 and 2016 at the Police Academy, are suspected of plagiarism. However, for almost two years, the Ethic’s Commission refused to carry out any investigation at all.
Even though between the years 2011 and 2018, 333 doctoral dissertations were defended in the two doctoral schools – the doctoral school in Legal Studies and the doctoral school in Public Order and National Security (OPSM) – only 82 of the theses were verified.
The Ministry of the Interior Affair’s new leadership decided to demand that the Institution undergo reformation for the following reasons: The reports regarding the discrepancies in the Police Academy that were made public by PressOne in recent years; the findings of the Ministry of the Interior’s investigative body; and the indictment and prosecution (by the National Anticorruption Directorate) of the Police Academy’s Rector Aadrian Iacob and Vice-Rector Marcoci who instigated blackmail – the basis of a criminal case that began after I received a death threat.
The Ministry of the Interior’s inside sources claim that at the end of December 2019, Secretary of State Bogdan Despescu had several meetings and discussions with people from the Ministry of the Interior regarding the need to enforce a reformation in the Academy.
Despescu quickly gave this initiative up in January of 2020 when I published an article stating that his doctoral dissertation had also been plagiarized.
A justification for the reorganization of the Police Academy is in place. In the last 10-15 years, the number of professors within the Institution has progressively increased, yet the quality of education has been decreasing.
Out of the three faculties that existed in the Academy – Police, Fire and of Archives – six were established: Police, Border Police, Gendarmes, Legal and Administrative Sciences, Fire and finally, Archival. This came out of a government decision.
The Academy blew up due to the fact that it doubled in size, from three faculties to six. This increase in the number of faculties has led to aberrant situations. At the beginning of the year, in the Faculty of Gendarmes, there were four tenured professors with PhDs and four non-doctoral teaching staff. The faculty has two departments – of the Gendarmes, in which there are four employees and General Training, with four other employees.
Due to such a small number of employees, the faculty council and departmental academic councils of the Gendarmes Faculty are in position where there are not able to carry out their work.
The plagiarism case that attracted the most amount of attention and ultimately caused Minister of the Interior, Carmen Dan, to send its investigative body to the Police Academy, was that of Adrian Iacob, who was the Rector the Academy until May of 2019.
In March 2019, in an exclusive article for PressOne, I wrote that 70% of Iacob’s doctoral thesis had been plagiarized.
11 days after this information was publicly revealed, the Ministry of the Interior’s investigative body opened a case against the Police Academy.
10 days later, I received a death threat. In the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) trial, it was established that former Rector Adrian Iacob and former Vice-Rector Mihai Marcoci were the ones who forced a young man who was an officer at the Academy to send me the message.
Iacob and Marcoci were fired after DNA began the criminal investigation and accused them of instigating blackmail.
Three weeks after Iacob’s dismissal, the Ethics Commission of The Police Academy came to the conclusion – unanimously – that his thesis was not plagiarized and decided to allow him to retain his PhD.
After an investigation that was carried out by the CNATDCU, Iacob’s doctoral degrees was definitively withdrawn. Iacob is the first university professor in Romania who has lost his PhD due to plagiarism. Consequently, the Police Academy’s former rector can no longer be a university professor.
Between 2016–2019, Iacob was a member of the CNATDCU and Vice-Chairman of the Commission on Military Sciences, Intelligence and Order Public – the commission that should have investigated the claims that his doctoral dissertation had been plagiarized.