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UJ finds student’s claims of plagiarism to be baseless

18 April 2018 - 14:40 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
The University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. File photo.
The University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. File photo.
Image: Google

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has found that claims of academic theft levelled against a professor by a post graduate student are “baseless and untrue”.

The student‚ Henry Iheanacho‚ claimed that Professor Michelle van der Bank had stolen his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research data.

Van Der Bank is a professor in the faculty of science‚ botany and plant biotechnology.

“Unfortunately‚ the allegations made on social media platforms are characterised by poorly substantiated claims‚ published without confirming with the university’s authorities whether the information reflected in the postings are indeed correct‚” UJ spokesman Herman Esterhuizen said.

Iheanacho claimed the professor‚ who was acting as his supervisor‚ had inundated him with research topics and made him drop them afterwards‚ only to steal the data and publish it under different names.

“To clarify‚ the student made the allegations only after the university’s Student Disciplinary Committee found him guilty of academic fraud/plagiarism in 2017. The student had the right to appeal‚ he has exercised this right‚ and the appeal was granted‚ following several hearings. The faculty has also extended an opportunity for the student to continue with his postgraduate study‚” Esterhuizen added.

Esterhuizen said after an internal investigation was conducted the institution found that the student’s claims of plagiarism or data theft against a staff member had no merit.