Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) yesterday confirmed that he had received an official notice from National Taiwan University’s (NTU) College of Social Science of its decision to revoke his master’s degree and said that he respected the decision.
During the campaign for the nine-in-one elections, New Party Taoyuan mayoral candidate You Chih-pin (游智彬) alleged that Cheng had plagiarized his master’s degree thesis for NTU’s Graduate Institute for National Development.
Cheng said that the institute did not require that students use plagiarism checker programs, adding that he had successfully defended his paper before a panel of three professors on how the democratization of the Chinese public would not lead to a governmental change to democracy.
At the time of the study, conducting empirical studies on the topic was impossible, Cheng said, adding that he had instead performed an analysis of existing literature.
Cheng said he stood by his statements to the university’s Research Ethics Committee that his thesis was original and that the lack of citation was an oversight, not plagiarism.
Cheng said that had the institute mandated students use plagiarism-checker programs, he would have found out about the missed citation and would have provided the proper footnotes.
He said that he did not have time to verify all his sources, adding that he did not have some of the documents on hand at the moment to note down his citations.
Cheng said he was sorry for the oversight, but he had no intention of plagiarizing.
The lack of citations does not take away from the originality of his research, he said.
NTU yesterday confirmed that it had concluded its investigation into the matter, but declined to reveal its results.
The university said that its investigation followed all relevant regulations, adding that they already notified Cheng of the results.
The university will not let standards slide on academic ethics, it said.
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