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Five DU teachers accused of plagiarism

  • Published at 10:38 pm September 28th, 2017
  • Last updated at 03:32 pm September 29th, 2017
Five DU teachers accused of plagiarism
Dhaka University (DU) authorities have formed two separate committees to look into allegations of plagiarism levelled against five teachers of three departments. Both committees will submit their findings within four weeks, acting Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune. The decision to launch the investigations was taken at a Syndicate meeting chaired by the VC on Wednesday evening. Sources from the meeting said a spokesperson of the University of Chicago Press recently in a letter to DU authorities levelled the plagiarism allegations against Samia Rahman, associate professor of mass communication and journalism department, and criminology department’s Lecturer Syed Mahfujul Haque Marjan. The spokesperson claimed that both teachers in a recent article they co-authored had copied without proper citations from French philosopher Michel Foucault’s article titled “The Subject and Power,” according to the letter, which was read out at Wednesday’s meeting. The 19-page article by Foucault was published in University of Chicago Press’s journal Critical Inquiry’s Volume 8, Number 4, in 1982. The five-strong team that will look into the plagiarism allegations against Samia and Marjan is headed by Pro-VC (Education/Academic) Prof Nasreen Ahmad. Marjan, however, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Samia Rahman was the first author of our article and I was the second.” “If there are any problems, they are in Samia madam’s portion. 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 the Cultural Imperialism,” was published in Social Science Review, the journal of the DU Social Science Faculty, in December last year. Samia, who is also the head of current affairs of a private TV channel, told the Dhaka Tribune: “First of all, I don’t want to comment on an issue that is now under investigation.” “But 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 after seeing the article published in the journal in my name without my knowledge. I have the documents.” She continued: “I should have submitted the article as I had written it. The dean office also should have sent me the reviews. But that did not happen.” Meanwhile, the second five-member team, also led by Prof Nasreen, will probe similar allegations brought against tourism and hospitality management department’s assistant professors Md Bodruzzaman Bhuiyan, Nusrat Jahan and her husband Ruhul Amin. A Syndicate member, requesting anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that academic plagiarism detecting software Turnitin found that 49% of the research paper Bodruzzaman wrote was lifted from other sources without proper citations. Nusrat, also a Senate member, was the one who formally complained to people concerned, including the VC, of the university accusing Bodruzzaman of plagiarising in his thesis titled “Socio-economic Impact of Tourism in Cox’s Bazar: A Study of Local Residence Attitude.” Bodruzzaman, however, denied the allegations when reached for comment. He was supposed to be promoted to associate professor in the last Syndicate meeting based on that thesis, said a Syndicate member. Nusrat also fell into hot water along with her husband Ruhul after Prof Md Afzal Hossain of the same department raised an allegation of “self plagiarism” against them. The term “self plagiarism” is used when one reuses significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of his or her own previous work without acknowledging that or citing the original work in the new one. According to sources, Nusrat and Ruhul also used portions from each other’s previous works in their recent academic articles. Ruhul Amin said the allegations leveled against him and his wife were baseless. “All our published articles are properly cited and referenced to the primary and secondary sources. The allegations are baseless.”
This article has been updated with further comments from the academics facing the allegations
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