The Central European University in Budapest Under Threat of Closure

by Giovanni Picker

The Central European University (CEU) is an English-speaking, postgraduate private university in Budapest, Hungary, specialising in the humanities and social sciences. It was established in 1991 by, among others, George Soros, its most important donor. The university is accredited in both Hungary and the USA.

On March 28th, on the pro-Hungarian government website Origo an article appeared, alleging that the CEU was in violation of Hungarian laws regulating higher education. The article referred to a Law Proposal submitted by the Minister of Human Resources, Zoltan Balogh. The Proposal would amend Hungary higher education law in a way which would make it impossible for CEU to operate within the country independently.

March in support of the CEU in Budapest, 2 April 2017

The day after Michael Ignatieff, the University rector, issued a statement declaring the Proposal an attack to free and independent higher education not only in Hungary but around the world. Over the last days, around 40,000 people signed an international petition calling upon the Hungarian Parliament to reject the Proposal. In addition, tens of Universities around the world, from Princeton to Oxford and the European University Institute, as well as international academic associations including the American Sociological Association, have expressed their solidarity with CEU and condemnation of the Hungarian Law Proposal.

It is today, 4 April 2017, in these hours, that the Proposal, dubbed as “lex CEU” by the media, is being voted upon in the Parliament. Disregarding a massive international uprising in only 7 days, MPs will likely vote in favour of the proposal.

More details here:

Facebook support page here: #istandwithceu

Giovanni Picker is a Marie-SkÅ‚odowska Curie Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham School of Social Policy, UK. He recently published the book “Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe”.

Categories: Accelerated Academy, Committing Sociology, Higher Education

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1 reply »

  1. I attended a course at the CEU in Budapest a fotos of years ago. It’s a great institution, I don’t understand why the Hungarian parliament would do this, other than the critical thinking of the CEU possibly coming into conflict with current discourses in Hungary around welfare etc. and right wing policies that the government has enacted in recent years. Such a shame, hopefully the parliament sees sense.

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