Why this story matters:
Cristina Cifuentes, regional president of the Community of Madrid, is currently facing a probe over claims that she falsified her master’s degree. Two weeks ago, the news came out that she had never obtained the degree she alleged to have received from King Juan Carlos University. Shortly after, university officials declared that the fact that they had no record of her thesis was an administrative mistake.
However, it was later proven that the documents she submitted to support her claim were also falsified, and she is now under court investigation for forgery.
In other European countries, similar situations have led to resignations, like the German Defence Minister in 2011. But Cifuentes is determined to stay. She accused the university of losing the documentation that would prove her claim.
When Cifuentes was elected President of the Community of Madrid, she described herself as a hard-worker, and she is known for often evoking the value of effort and excellence. But, with these revelations, we see that this effort and hard work was conspicuously absent from her academic life.
Details from the story:
- Madrid regional leader Cristina Cifuentes has been accused of forging her master’s degree.·
- Two opposition groups want her to resign.
- Cifuentes has not considered resigning so far
- After having initially supported her claim, Javier Ramos -- President of the King Juan Carlos University -- has backtracked and said that he cannot certify that she defended her thesis in 2012.
- In 2011, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, then Germany's Defence Minister, resigned after being stripped of his doctorate by the University of Bayreuth on the grounds of plagiarism.