Minister Yasmin Esquivel has once again closed ranks in the face of accusations of plagiarism and confirms that she does not contemplate getting out of the race to preside over the Supreme Court of Justice. Since Wednesday, the current magistrate of the Mexican highest court has been the subject of strong criticism when a journalistic investigation was published that revealed that her bachelor’s thesis is literally identical to that of another student published a year earlier. Esquivel has denied the accusations of plagiarism from the beginning and this Sunday she has insisted that, in fact, it is the other student who has copied her work. Through a statement published on her social networks, the minister has in turn denounced a “perverse campaign” against her to influence the election of the president of the Court.
“My thesis is an original and authentic work,” he insisted in the statement. Esquivel affirms that she began writing her thesis two years before publishing it, that is, in 1985. Therefore, one year before the work was published, Edgar Ulises Baez, the other student. EL PAIS was able to verify how the two theses, published under the same title, also have exactly the same index, the same paragraphs stating the problem, as well as the same graphs. The two texts are identical. Even the same repeated grammatical errors are identified. The minister announced this Sunday that she has filed a complaint with “the corresponding Prosecutor’s Office” for the alleged plagiarism of her “thesis project”.
Esquivel considers that the accusations are “lies and defamations”. He is part of a “perverse campaign, which aims to influence public opinion and include the minds of those who must make the decision,” referring to the election process for the future president of the highest Mexican court. Esquivel confirms in his statement that “on January 2 I will seek with my proposal that, for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, it be presided over by a woman.” Esquivel appears in all the pools as the bet of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to lead the high court.
The current magistrate argues in her defense that there has been no controversy during the 40 years of her academic and professional career. Esquivel, 59, has been an agrarian magistrate, president of the Contentious and Administrative Court of Mexico City until she became one of the Supreme Court magistrates. The jurist has also insisted on citing both her thesis director, Martha Rodriguez, and other UNAM academics who at the time validated her research work as an authoritative argument for her defense. This newspaper has found, however, another seven plagiarized works, in addition to four originals, directed by Martha Rodriguez herself.
One of the most prestigious educational institutions in Mexico and Latin America is in the eye of the hurricane. This week’s revelation has exposed a whole chain of plagiarism within UNAM. The UNAM has announced an investigation into the specific case of the minister and her Library service has already certified a “high level of coincidences” between her thesis and that of the previous year, by Edgar Ulises Baez. The Academic and Scientific Integrity Committee of the FES Aragon will be the body in charge of analyzing the work and deliberating what the university should do. The sanction can range from a public warning to the most extreme: the revocation of the minister’s title.
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