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Stanford goes after von der Leyen

October 11, 2015

The elite California university has said Ursula von der Leyen is misrepresenting her affiliation with the school. The German defense minister's academic career is already under scrutiny after accusations of plagiarism.

Ursula von der Leyen
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nietfeld

A representative of Stanford University said in an interview with a German newspaper that von der Leyen wrongly included the university's name on her CV.

According to the German Defense Minister's website, von der Leyen spent time at Stanford from 1992 to 1996. A timeline on the website says she was an auditing guest in the Graduate School of Business in 1993, and had a residence with the Stanford Health Services Hospital Administration in 1995.

However, a representative for the Palo Alto-based university told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag that von der Leyen had not completed any courses in which she had received an official diploma or certificate. Without such documentation, a person may not list the university as an academic qualification on a resume or CV, the representative said.

A spokesperson for von der Leyen told the newspaper the defense minister had the proper documentation to back up her claims. However, these activities did not earn her any academic credit, making their inclusion on her CV dubious, the university spokesperson told the newspaper.

Not the first time

The interview comes as Von der Leyen is fending off accusations that she plagiarized parts of her dissertation thesis. The defense minister, who has denied the claims, requested that an independent panel review the thesis in an effort to have her name cleared.

Stanford University has been consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States for years.

blc/rc (dpa, AFP)