Nerudova wrote that she had proceeded in compliance with the law and had done what she could as a rector. Danuse Nerudova, via Facebook.

Prague, Jan 2 (CTK) – Presidential candidate Danuse Nerudova has denied allegations of misconduct regarding suspicious study procedures at Mendel University and plagiarism in students’ theses while she was the university’s rector, although she admitted she could have dealt with certain matters more quickly, in a statement on her website.

She stressed that she had complied with the law.

Nerudova also stated that the suspicious practices were a problem of one faculty and not a system failure of the whole university, and denied that the university had engaged in trading titles.

Nerudova headed the university from February 2018 to late January 2022. The National Accreditation Office (NAU) found that during that period, the law on universities, government decrees on university accreditation standards, and university rules had been breached. The NAU report has not been published yet, but its conclusions have been released by daily Denik N.

Nerudova wrote that she had proceeded in compliance with the law and had done what she could as a rector. While admitting that she could have solved certain matters earlier, she argued that she was dealing with such things for the first time.

She said she had first learnt of cases of easier and shorter study periods for certain international students of the Faculty of Business and Economics (PEF) in January 2021, and was informed about alleged plagiarism in March 2021.

She said she started investigating the cases right away, noting that the problem had only applied to some students on the Economics and Management doctoral study programme.

Mendel University is composed of five faculties, providing 179 study programmes in Czech and 52 in foreign languages.

Nerudova also said she was not a member of the programme committee, which means she could not examine the students herself.

She denied the university had ever engaged in the trade of titles, and neither did she find the increasing number of English study programme graduates suspicious. The number of successful graduates of the English-language programme was proportionally similar to the one in Czech, she wrote.

Nerudova’s statement thus implicitly places responsibility for the misconduct in the hands of former PEF dean Pavel Zufan, the head of the faculty at the time. Zufan has resigned from his post over the allegations, and will leave the post on 31 January 2023.

Jiri Smrcka of NAU previously told CTK that he has been dealing with the possibility of Mendel University being stripped of institutional accreditation for its economic study programmes.

The NAU will publish its report on 19 January at the meeting of the NAU committee.

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