A faculty dean at Budapest’s Semmelweis University resigned on Wednesday following suspicions of document forgery. Miklós Tóth, dean of the physical education faculty at the university, which specialises in medicine and health and sports sciences, submitted his resignation to university rector Ágoston Szél after having been suspended on 6 August when suspicions emerged regarding the validity of two former students’ diplomas.
The students, one the son of Fidesz MP and Veszprém county council chairman Jenõ Lasztovicza, received their diplomas in July despite failing to garner the necessary minimum examination points. A third student received his diploma although he did not have the required language exam.
Riches of embarrassment
The case, which comes as a fresh embarrassment to Semmelweis University after its decision to strip former president of the republic Pál Schmitt of his doctorate this year, came to light after news magazine HVG reported on 23 July that a report indicating suspicions of influence-peddling and document forgery had been filed with police by unidentified people. Various documents were seized by police on suspicion of forgery during a search in faculty offices on Tuesday, one day before Tóth’s resignation.
It was also HVG that uncovered plagiarism in Schmitt’s doctoral dissertation in January. Schmitt, who resigned in April, five days after the university revoked his academic title, had received his degree in 1992 from the University of Physical Education, which then merged into Semmelweis University. A fact-finding committee established that over 90 per cent of the thesis had been copied from other sources, primarily from the French-language work of a Bulgarian sport expert, though Schmitt maintains that his thesis was written and submitted in good faith and is challenging the decision in court.