You may have seen the latest cheerful news from Hungary this week! In a breach of the freedom and autonomy of higher education institutions in Hungary and around the world, legislation has been proposed to the Hungarian Parliament that would make it impossible for Central European University to continue operations within the country.
Specifically, the legislation would prevent Hungarian universities from delivering programs or issuing degrees from non-European universities on behalf of CEU. This is critical as CEU functions under Hungarian law as both an American and a Hungarian institution, and existing legislation allows for university programs and degrees from OECD countries (including the U.S.) to function through joint entities.
This legislation is discriminatory and strikes at the heart of what CEU has been doing for over two decades, in full conformity with Hungarian law. A press release with further details on the proposed legislation and CEU’s official response is here.
These changes would endanger CEU’s continued operation in Budapest and would strike a blow against the academic freedom that enables all universities, including those in Hungary, to flourish.
Personally, I’ve been at the university since 2008 (MA, PhD, Postdoc) and the university has allowed me the time and space for engaged, critical research and reflection. Not only does it offer fully funded graduate education to nearly all its students, but it is the home of cutting edge truly original research across a range of disciplines.
There are currently a number of grassroot critically minded actions planned – from teach-ins to protests – but there are also things you can do from wherever you are:
- Send a letter to your members of Parliament or representatives to communicate your support of CEU and academic freedom worldwide. It has been suggested that if one of your MEPs is from the same group in the European parliament as Hungary’s ruling FIDESZ party (European People’s Party), it might be especially useful (sample letter available here)
- Sign the org petition now circulating on-line
- Write to Support_for_CEU@ceu.edu to add your name or organization to a group letter