Neuchâtel reinstates plagiarizing expat prof

Neuchâtel reinstates plagiarizing expat prof
Professor Sam Blili. Photo: University of Neuchâtel
The Neuchâtel government after lengthy deliberations said on Wednesday it has lifted the suspension of an expat Canadian university professor accused of plagiarism while issuing a reprimand against him.

Sam Blili, of the University of Neuchatel’s economics department, was found last spring to have plagiarized entire passages of a book he co-authored with another academic Francis Sermet.

The book, entitled “La Suisse qui gagne” was required reading for students of Blili, who has been a professor at the university since 2002 after moving there from Quebec.

An internal investigation concluded last September that Blili was guilty of “plagiarism by lack of riguor”.

The lifted passages appeared without attribution in 10 to 15 pages of the 400-page book.

But the investigation noted that editing by a third party had removed 100 footnotes to make the book easier to read.

On September 30th, Neuchâtel Education Minister Moika Maire-Hefti decided to suspend the professor for another reason — he had failed to disclose that he was the administrator of a real estate company, Le Temps newspaper reported.

Blili had been on sick leave for several months.

He earlier faced accusations from Le Matin that he had falsified his CV and had rocky relations with other members of faculty.

But on Monday, Neuchâtel government agreed to reinstate the professor with a reprimand.

Given the limited nature of the plagiarism, this did not justify removing Blili from the university, the government said in a statement.

“The government has also taken into account the opinion of the university’s administrators who believe that the confidence (in Blili) is not irreparably and that his reinstatement in the university is not impossible.”

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