The price one has to pay for freedom of speech in Germany. Ulrike Guérot’s case

In fact, no one fires Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister accused of plagiarism, even though she bears much more responsibility than Ulrike Guérot by virtue of her position.

On March 31, 2023, the University of Bonn fired Professor Ulrike Guérot, known for her position on COVID-19 and the Ukrainian conflict.

Rossa Primavera News Agency presents an excerpt from the article by Prof. Dr. Stephan Sander-Faes, a history professor at Bergen University in Norway, published April 7 in Free 21 magazine.

Zander-Faes writes that Professor Ulrike Guérot was fired after being accused of plagiarizing non-academic publications. The professor became known to the general public primarily because of her principled position on the coronavirus and her point of view on the Ukrainian conflict, which is “opposite” to the official one.

“The University of Bonn fired me as of March 31, 2023, claiming ‘plagiarism’ in a non-academic publication, even though I did not become a faculty member at Bonn until September 2021. I intend to sue and therefore cannot respond to any interview or other inquiries. I became the first person fired in the history of the German Federal Republic since 1949 because of plagiarism. We live in interesting times!” Guérot wrote on her LinkedIn social media profile.

Sander-Faes recalls that Guérot has been appointed professor of European politics at the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn in 2021. Before that appointment, she held several positions, including positions at the Danube University of Krems (2016-2021), the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C.

The article’s author notes that faculty appointments do not “just happen.” They are prepared well in advance, many people are consulted, and many of the debates over the selection of a candidate for an academic position are “informal.” The Appointments Committee, which ranked Guérot at the top of its list for appointments at the University of Bonn in 2020-2021, must have been well aware of the positions that their new colleague has publicly advocated.

The University of Bonn is now accusing Guérot, citing her book titled Why Europe Should Become a Republic! published six years before Guérot took her post at the university. Sander-Faes points out that the appointments committee at the University of Bonn knew of the book’s existence and either did not look closely at its future colleague, or deliberately adopted Guérot’s social profile.

What was the real reason for Guérot’s dismissal? In his article for Weltwoche, Dr. Stefan Millius, who works in the Department of Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, explained Guérot’s dismissal not by plagiarism but by other reasons.

“The charge of plagiarism is a far-fetched pretext. What was described as plagiarism were minor errors due to carelessness, such as missing quotation marks,” the professor writes.

Millius explains that Guérot’s “mistake” was different. She was first very popular in left-liberal circles and then abruptly ceased to be so because of her stance during the coronavirus pandemic. The professor began to criticize the measures to combat coronavirus, demanded that those responsible be held accountable, and spoke out against the World Health Organization (WHO).

Moreover, Guérot allowed herself to speak out for peace with Russia and against arms shipments to Ukraine. The professor openly declared the involvement of the West in the conflict. In other words, as it is commonly called in Germany, Guérot became first a COVID-19 denier [Corona-Leugnerin] and then a “Putin propagandist.”

“Since a respected, popular professor could not so easily be ‘removed’ from academic discourse, alleged instances of plagiarism suddenly arose. Anyone who takes a closer look at the matter will simply shake his head,” Millius explains.

It is noted that the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, clearly implicated in plagiarism, is not being fired, even though she has much more social responsibility than Ulrike Guérot by virtue of her position.

“German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (the Greens) used the thoughts and words of other authors extensively when writing her book Jetzt. Wie wir unser Land erneuern [English: Now. How We Renew our Country]. The media immediately came to her defense, saying that it was not a scientific work and therefore it did not need footnotes,” Millius writes.

Guérot’s book, in which plagiarism was allegedly found, was also a popular science essay, not a doctoral dissertation. However, Baerbock was acquitted, and the professor lost her job.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency