Central European University responds to a government plan to close it down

Central European University (CEU) expresses its opposition to proposed amendments to Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education, tabled in Hungarian Parliament today. After careful legal study, CEU has concluded that these amendments would make it impossible for the University to continue its operations as an institution of higher education in Budapest, CEU’s home for 25 years. CEU is in full conformity with Hungarian law. The proposed legislation targets CEU directly and is therefore discriminatory and unacceptable. CEU calls on the government to scrap the legislation and enter into dialogue to find a solution that allows CEU to continue in Budapest as a free and independent international graduate university.

“Any legislative change that would force CEU to cease operation in Budapest would damage Hungarian academic life and negatively impact the government of Hungary’s relations with its neighbors, its EU partners and with the United States,” said CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. “I call on the government to enter into negotiations with us to find a satisfactory way forward that allows CEU to continue in Budapest and to maintain the academic freedoms essential to its operation.”

The 2004 joint declaration between the Hungarian government and the State of New York confirmed the parties’ joint agreement to support CEU’s goal of achieving Hungarian accreditation, while at the same time maintaining its status as an accredited American university. Following the 2004 joint declaration, a special law namely Act LXI of 2004 on State Recognition of Közép-európai Egyetem, established Közép-európai Egyetem (KEE); literally translated, this means “Central European University.” KEE was established as the Hungarian entity which then allowed for Hungarian accreditation of 10 graduate and doctoral level programs at the University. CEU/KEE is one higher education institution with one campus in Budapest. The dual identity of CEU/KEE enables the University to comply with both Hungarian and U.S. laws and award both Hungarian and U.S.-accredited degrees. This is a common model. CEU is one of many American-accredited international universities that do not operate any academic programs within the U.S.

In addition, the amendments would require CEU to open an additional campus in the state of New York. Forcing CEU to do so would have no educational benefit and would incur needless financial and human resource costs.

The section of the amendment that most clearly illustrates discrimination against CEU is the provision that prevents Hungarian universities (in this case, KEE) from delivering programs or issuing degrees from non-European universities on behalf of CEU. Existing legislation allows for university programs and degrees from OECD countries (including the U.S.) to function through joint Hungarian entities, as CEU/KEE currently does. Hungary itself has been a member of OECD since 1996, and as such, should not discriminate against other OECD countries.

Another clear example of discrimination in the proposed amendment is the elimination of a good-faith waiver that currently allows academic staff from non-EU countries to work at the KEE entity without requiring a work permit. The change would create additional and unnecessary barriers to hiring and recruitment. Given that CEU relies particularly much on professors from outside of the EU, the new regulation would place the university in a disadvantageous position.

The proposed amendment also forbids the American entity CEU to continue its program under the current name of “Central European University” unless “Közép-európai Egyetem” (KEE), the Hungarian entity, changes its name. This would require both entities to change the names that were established a quarter of a century ago.

CEU celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It has no other desire than to remain in Budapest. It is deeply embedded in Hungarian academic life, collaborating with other institutions of academic excellence in Hungary from ELTE to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, sharing research projects, teaching, knowledge, and enabling student exchanges. Of the nearly 1,800 students CEU educates each year, Hungarians make up the largest group. The majority of CEU staff and nearly half the faculty are Hungarian. CEU contributes to the Hungarian economy through tax, social security, and health insurance contributions as well as payments to local suppliers.

CEU is a private and independent institution. Many of our degree programs in the social sciences and humanities rank in the world’s top 200, and many in the top 100, some in the top 50. CEU faculty are remarkably successful in earning research grant funding from the European Union and other grant-making organizations in competitive tenders held across Europe or across the globe. From 2011-2016, CEU received €6,955,221 in ERC grants. For 2017-2022, the University will receive €14,988,163 in ERC grants. CEU has a reputation which should make Hungarians proud. We employ Hungarian professors; we have recruited many notable Hungarian scholars back home from posts overseas; our largest component in our student body consists of Hungarian students.

We are proud of our reputation, proud of our contribution to Hungarian academic life for the past 25 years and we will defend our achievements vigorously against anyone who seeks to defame our work in the eyes of the Hungarian people. The combined entities of CEU/KEE, which deliver 8 master’s and 2 doctoral degree programs accredited in Hungary, is deeply embedded in Hungarian academic life and society. It employs over 600 Hungarians and enrolls, on average, 400 Hungarian students per year – the largest national group among our students. These are just a few of CEU’s rich contributions to Hungary and to the world. Any legislation that would make it difficult for CEU to operate in Hungary would destroy this fabric of cooperation with Hungarian institutions and the Hungarian public and would damage Hungary’s long-held reputation as a center of innovation, academic excellence and scientific inquiry.

CEU will hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. to address these issues.

Press Contact: International Media Relations Manager Colleen Sharkey +36 30 916 2273 or sharkeyc@ceu.edu

March 29, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
marklh
Guest

what a disgrace

Istvan
Guest

Yes but a disgrace fully anticipated in the Hungarian media and among posters on this blog. The Orban juggernaut over life in Hungary continues to creap forward.

wrfree
Guest

Sadly another step on the dismal road to make Magyarorszag kings of on an intellectual dust heap.

And there academic freedom today apparently can only exist within a severe politically correct environment. And the ‘laws’ are then used to enforce that.

Perhaps in the offing looks a gathering of groups who under restrictive circumstance will have to memorize their discussions, the books read , letters and papers sent and the ideas expounded upon with their colleagues since it is conduct unbecoming in academia. Illiberalism and its antithesis , free intellectual inquiry, now appear as the focus of the Central European zeitgeist. Ominous to say the least.

pappp
Guest
Let’s hope CEU stays in Hungary. Btw this is also another example of Orban f***ing investors in the a**. Let them build the new campus or whatever and then just when it’s ready force them to leave by introducing some extra tax or whatever it is. No surprise that Hungarian investments (by locals as well!) are so low compared to Romania and Slovakia. Never trust Orban, that must be rule no. 1. Unfortunately Westerners simply cannot go against their nature to instinctively trust others because the West is all about cooperetion and compromises. No matter how many times Orban lied to his voters and others, people like Ignatieff couldn’t help but believe Orban or Lazar or whoever it was they talked to, just because, you know, a top minister wouldn’t lie in their face (which is a delusion stemming from their own, ie. Ignatieff’s, perceived importance). Never, ever trust what Orban and his people say – they will only have a hearty lough about you being such a loser that you believed what they said. Any “agreement” with Orban must be based on the strongest of deterrents because otherwise Orban will have an incentive to break his promise. This is… Read more »
Guest
I don’t think that EU businessmen are as naive as pappp describes them! Take the Opel/Audi/Mercedes managers e g – they surely know that they have the upper hand against the Hun government. Of course they would los some money if their factories had to be closed but Hungary would lose much more … I stillremember how many companies built (or rented former Socialist) factories after 1989 and when business was no longer good enough for them they relocated either to Romania or direct into East Asia – no problem for them. And the position of the EU diplomats is similar imho: Everybody in Brussels and Berlin etc knows that Fidesz is a lying bunch – not for real in a way. So they are treated nicely but everybody knows they don’t count in the end … And what’s a few billion €s anyway – Hungary and Poland are unimportant small fry, o k they have qualified people to export, that’s the best about these countries! Not too much OT: My wife’s sister is a retired teacher who meets her former colleagues for playing cards regularly and they just exchanged info about their children: One is a prof in the… Read more »
webber
Guest

Trump’s State Department has delivered a statement in defense of CEU via the Embassy in Budapest. What have European leaders said so far? Nada. Does anyone know of a better example of the uselessness of European diplomacy?

Bowen
Guest

Hmm. Let’s see who is EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

Oh, it’s Tibor Navracsics. Another puppet helpfully installed in the right place.

Ferenc
Guest

Right Bowen!
So let’s ‘bomb’ Mr.Nvracsics with mails about serious concerns for CEU
official Email address: cab-navracsics-contact[at]ec.europa.eu

Guest

It has been not State, just the chargé d’affaires, I am not entirely sure that at the end Trump will not support this move against his old nemesis, Soros. Wait a couple of days.

webber
Guest

glukacs, you are mistaken. The Charge d’affaires cannot and does not issue a statement of this nature without consulting the State Department first. That is the protocol. If he were to issue such a strong statement without backing, the State Dept. would immediately issue a retraction and recall him to Washington.

The Hungarian government tried to convince the public that another Charge, Mr. Goodfriend, was acting like a loose cannon. Of course he was not. He was following instructions from Washington.

So, I stick by my statement – this was straight from the State Department, expressed by the highest-ranking person currently in the US Embassy in Budapest.

Robert
Guest

I hope he will as he knows that his old nemesis as you called is a major player in destroying true democracy and implementing left-lib soft dictatorship. Just look at his activities on the streets of US cities.

Observer
Guest

Cretin.

pappp
Guest

I know this may sound paradoxical but this is exactly why part of the Hungarian right-wing hates the West and likes Russia.

Ultimately Russia cares – even if because of its ulterior motives. But such motives are still interpreted as a sign of caring.

But the West (the EU, Germany other European countries) does not care. The West when Hungary’s future seems to be in a danger (whether foreign in origin or self-inflicted) like now or recently in the case or Paks2 is usually mute and just doesn’t give a shit.

Banning CEU is also aimed at liberals at a deeper level. Orban wants to show to liberals than one can never rely on fellow liberals. The liberal role models, the liberal democracies always fail: it turns out they just don’t give a shit whether you’re a liberal or an autocrat. They might give some money (into the very pockets of the autocrat), but that’s all. Otherwise, they don’t give a shit. The liberals are not just losing but are also all alone.

Observer
Guest

Yes, as many foresaw here, here is the next “enemy” of the regime.
Ceterum censeo, the Orban’s Fascistoid caleptocracy has to be destroyed.

Robert
Guest

Finally they get rid of the infiltration of American liberal garbage into the minds of young people in Hungary. Of course the left-lib media crying foul because the Hungarian Government recognized that the NGOs (also CEU) are open doors to undermine the democratically elected governments in Eastern Europe. I know that you all find it unacceptable that they want to close all doors that George Soros penetrates the Country but you also have to realise that he and his cronies are not welcome there. You just have to come to terms with the fact that whomever leads the Country has the right to regulate many thinks amongst them education too. This is how it is in Canada, USA, UK, and all EU countries, so it is in Hungary. Don’t cry your eyes out there are many more of GS’s cronies there to dig …

Bowen
Guest

“Finally they get rid of the infiltration of American liberal garbage into the minds of young people in Hungary.”

No-one has gotten rid of CEU yet.

Remember that CEU is by far the best university in Hungary. Otherwise, Hungary has no university inside the top-500 rankings. Hungary is destined to be a country of ignorant morons. It’s already nearly there.

Robert
Guest

If that is true than Hungary is f..d. I still hope there are better universities there. This one is perhaps the most exposed as it is the brainchild of GS., but for the value it gives to the people is laughable …. gender studies, perhaps the studies are done naked.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Why do you talk like an asshole?

Observer
Guest

If it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck…

Thomas
Guest

even if what you say about CEU were true – which of course is not – it clearly shows your warped view about democracy which normally is based on free exchange of opposing views. In your democratic world the only ideology that should be permitted is the one which supports the “democratically” elected Orban government. Never mind the totally bogus election law that gave 2/3 to FIDESZ without not even having 50% of the votes.

Robert
Guest

I guess they learnt from their American friends. How got the majority votes in the USA 2016.11.08? And who was sworn in as the democratically elected president of the USA 2017.01.20?

And about my “warped view” at least I have one and do not need left-libs to tell me what it should be. 🙂 But I still love you all my Friends.

webber
Guest

Robert, have you seen the President of the United States – any President ever – shut down a university? Have you seen the President of the United States attack a business and shut it down? Have you ever seen the President or his party destroy independent newspapers? Of course you haven’t, and you never will. It is not a dictatorship. The President and his party can’t and wouldn’t even try to just shut down things that are independent.

Hungary is a dictatorship now.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Hillary received more votes than Trump.

petofi
Guest

@ Robert

Or, should I say, Dimitry?
The US got Trump, thanks to Pyutin’s basement brigade…and I’m sure you’re well acquainted with the same.

Unfortunately, LIES of various shapes, sizes and hues have been established by you basement types as the order of the day.

With the damage to civilization, it can be said that Russkies have done greater damage than the nazi book burnings..

Ferenc
Guest

Hey Robert, you’re still around here and commenting.
I very disappointed that you didn’t react to my questions to you in the previous post.

Robert
Guest

I actually did. Perhaps the you missed it or it was de-moderated?

Ferenc
Guest

Yeah, sure Robert.
And this is the one and only action by Hungarian authorities responsible for education to try to achieve better PISA results……………….

Robert
Guest

As far as the level of education is concern I would not get into it. Look at the “free world” and start crying. The public education system is built to keep children stupid. Only the privileged kids get something that can advance their future.

webber
Guest

Robert – by all measures, Hungarian public education is abysmal and has been getting steadily worse over the past five years. Look at the comparative studies and see for yourself.

Roderick Beck
Guest

The elite schools would not consider you, Boris.

webber
Guest

Oh, great.. they “got rid of” the only Hungarian university to make it into the international rankings. Great job.
They got rid of the only serious English academic library in the country. Great job.
They got rid of the best English-language academic press in mainland Europe – one which has published a lot on the crimes of communism, btw. Great job.

Hungarian conservatives have started writing articles in defense of CEU, and calling it a national treasure. Did you know that? Even the President of the Hungarian Academy has come out with a statement defending CEU.

Actually, they haven’t gotten rid of CEU yet. But it looks like they will.

Roderick Beck
Guest

In a democracy everyone is welcome to debate and participate.

TKT
Guest

Shut it down Mr. Orban! I looked at their curriculum: Gender Studies, Phd in Human Rights… Are you kidding? Marxist propaganda?

Ferenc
Guest

they even publish videos like ‘How Can Populism Be Defeated?’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1PP2ulKRCs
pure intelligent talk against populists like Orban

Robert
Guest

I must admit I am a bit lagging behind. Would someone explain to me what populism means? And someone also give me a crash course on homophobia, xenophobia, micro-aggression pls. Once I am educated I will list more buzz words that the left-lib keeps throwing in like a monkey wrench to knock down everybody who has a different idea than they promote. Thank you in advance.

Observer
Guest

Lagging behind with all those years after your 10th birthday.

Member

You know Robert there are places where you can learn about these. They are called schools. You should try it.

Guest

Human Rights is Marxist propaganda for you – really nice to show that you’re a fascist!
If O continues like this there is a probability that the EU will stop the flow of money – and maybe even the flow of Hungarians into the “West”. I wonder what would happen if we send all the economic immigrants from Humgary back …
PS and not too much OT:
Every day we get reminded that Hungary is still a class society. There is a small upper class of Fideszniks who make a lot of money, the middle class is getting smaller (many are leaving …) and the large lower class including many who live below the poverty line.

A really exclusive Mercedes (couldn’t see the driver – these creatures all have their windows darkened) was driving though the small streets of Keszthely today like a maniac – passing me and a whole row of cars with a speed of at least 80 km/h, ignoring traffic lights and the oncoming traffic …
Reminded me again of that politician who some years ago destroyed a Trabant – and killed the young couple which was sitting in it, they had no chance at all …

Robert
Guest

@wolfi7777
Would you please explain the meaning of your use of fascist in your comment because I do not see the connections. It might be my blindsided understanding. Thank you in advance. 🙂

Guest

Read my first sentence again – and try to understand it, little fascist. Doppelt genäht hält besser1

aida
Guest

It is the teaching and propaganda that the honest hard working ordinary people are exploited by a corrupt ruling elite who thrive on their vulnerability

Do you understand the bollocks now?

petofi
Guest

Robert,
you need a refresher course on english vocabulary…You can coin words and phrases but they must make sense–“blindsided understanding” does not.

Bowen
Guest

Orban will never shut CEU down. At most, he might succeed in helping CEU move to a different country, taking jobs and intellect away from Hungary.

Member

Taking intellect away from Hungary is surely part of Orban’s master plan. A dumber Hungarian public means he has a better chance of handing power over to Madame Mao and Istvan whenever he decides to retire.

webber
Guest

Aha. You think the government should be able to shut down an independent institution that has not violated a single law. Nice. You love dictatorships apparently.

bimbi
Guest

…A Government Plan to Close Central European University Down!

What new madness is this? The closure of this institution can – and will – only damage Hungarian society – young people, ambitious and capable, in other words, Hungary’s future.

And this, along with the harassment of NGOs, so that the government can assure itself that it has CONTROL? What are these paranoid politicians devoid of legitimate principle afraid of? Have they lost all sense?

Is stealing from the people not enough?

They must be stopped.

petofi
Guest

People just won’t see what’s right in front of their eyes: Orban is out to ruin the country (after stuffing his pockets full). I’ve said this a long time ago. It’s plain to see.

Robert
Guest

Nobody is out purposely to destroy his/her own country. Not even Hillary was. It can be the consequence of their activity. Lol.

Member

Getting rich first then pushing the country into a dictatorship? Does this sound new to you? Buddy, you really need to read a few books… It will happen in Hungary and it will happen because of you.

petofi
Guest

Hillary was out to strengthen and keep alive her brand (Clinton Foundation). Note what happened to its work force right after she lost the election…

Guest

Portfolio.hu has just published a condensed report on this – it’s free (you don’t have to register to read it):
http://www.portfolio.hu/en/economy/hungary_plans_to_outlaw_soros-founded_university.32693.html

Re our new troll Robert:
We should ignore the little fascist creature – treat it as an example of what can go wrong in human development!

Robert
Guest

Mr. Soros said that “He wanted the CEU to be a bastion of liberal thought and promote the values of an open society and democracy.” In order to achieve such Mr. Soros appointed the fallen liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff to be the Rector of CEU.

According to http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39429309 which is not considered Orbán friendly media, “Twenty-seven other foreign universities will be affected by the legislation, …. only the CEU has no campus in its home country, the US.

That means the CEU has been established for the purpose of manipulating Hungarian democracy while registered in the USA. Practically speaking it is an unregulated foreign agency operating in Hungary.

Why is anybody surprised that the conservative government of any country does not want a foreign liberal university to monkey around unregulated in their country?

Could somebody explain it to me please?

webber
Guest
It is registered in Hungary too, and always has been. It operated under two Orban governments, with no problems whatsoever. What is this nonsense about “this means the CEU has been established for the purpose of manipulating Hungarian democracy” What idiocy is that? It is an institution of higher education! It does not participate in elections. It is not the home of a political party. Do you know what higher education institutions do? Have you ever been even near one?? (I suspect not). Did you know that two Fidesz government members went to CEU? Were they brainwashed? Apparently not. NO private university in a free country can be shut down by government if it does not violate laws. CEU has violated no laws. Not a single one. Can you tell me how it is legitimate, how it is democratic, for a government to shut down a private university? This law was designed precisely to do that. It was designed against CEU. Even the government has admitted that. CEU is the only university that will not be able to meet the criteria set – criteria that are nonsense, that exist in no other free nation in the world. Not a single… Read more »
aida
Guest

I will try.
The University was established for its declared aim. To put it simply, to educate along those lines.
In my view if someone wants to fund studies accordingly there is no problem.
In the civilised world no government is interested in what a university teaches in the context of politics.
Your question represents a surrender to the dictates of a crypto fascist country.

pappp
Guest

Which country would ban a university based on ideological grounds?

Is it sane to ban a university (Hungary’s best) which provides much needed middle-class jobs (directly and indirectly) and pumps 8-10 billion HUF into the local economy year after year?

Orban during his long tenure abjectly failed to produce – promised – real jobs and now he directly eliminates hundreds of them and moves to transfer those jobs to Germany or Austria (like they needed it very much).

Orban is insane.

We know that Orban is a long-standing psychiatric patient who is by now basically intent on only two things: (A) creating uneducated subjects over whom he can continue to rule and (B) looting Hungary. Molodec.

petofi
Guest

The death of CEU will create a horde of FOR RENT signs in the heart of Budapest. Now, the humiliation of Budapesters, and the desecration of one of the most beautiful cities in the world…is the anticipated joy of Viktor, His Magnificence.

Member

“According to http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39429309 which is not considered Orbán friendly media”

Au contraire, my friend….the BBC`s man in Budapest, Nick Thorpe is a well-known Orbanist apologist to the extent that he is known (somewhat affectionately) amongst the other press guys here as “Fidesz Nick”.

I guarantee that this very evening he will be being wined and dined by the fascists who are frightened at how the international media is reacting to this outrage.

CEU is a privately funded establishment which takes not one forint from the great Hungarian taxpayer. They can teach whatever the hell they want in their own private property.

petofi
Guest

You boys seem to forget that the easiest thing to buy is a journalist. In Hungary, they’re a dime a dozen.
Orbie reaches into one pocket to extract some thousands of euros and presto, Nickie-baby is his, now, in the past, and forever more.

Ferenc
Guest

“only the CEU has no campus in its home country”
This means that the referred legislation is tailor-made to trouble CEU. And why the Hungarian goverment wants to trouble CEU, only one man (OV) can give the real reason for that, all the others involved are just sheep bleating around.

Robert all your writings are similar like the words I heard from the mouths of people from “Alapjogokért Központ”, they speak convincingly and try to explain like bananas are straight (well that’s possible if you put on eye-blinders and limit your point of view in line with the banana’s curve).
So when you write about “monkey around”, better throw off your eye-blinders and start thinking independently.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Explain to why universities should be regulated? And little monkey, CEU is one of Hungary’s best universities.

pappp
Guest
I would ask people here to consistently use the term *banning* for what is happening with CEU instead of using terms such as shutting down or attacking or similar, more benign terms. Naming an event is extremely important as it determines the discourse about the event. What is happening here is the prohibition or forbidding of the operation of CEU in Hungary which means banning. It is not the ceasing of the operation (in Hungary) which is important as much as the act by the autocrat of the blocking of the operation which results in ceasing. This is a classic act of an autocrat. These days (though not even during communism) banning doesn’t happen via a clear decree. Autocracies and dictatorships are more sophisticated and evolved than than. They – like Orban and Fidesz do in this case – create a basically retroactively applied legal framework that makes it all but impossible to comply with it (and in the unlikely event of compliance, simply new, even more onerous laws would be introduced). Why is this happening? Because Orban decided that CEU is a “liberal institution” and banning it would hurt “liberals” (whatever these terms mean). As such they are in… Read more »
Member

Robert” is a transparent, flagrant troll: 1-2 lines is enough to detect it. Why do our regulars keep falling for it? Prof. Balogh: please delete its droppings. They add nothing to the discussion; they just drag it down to the Liliputansque level prevailing today in Orbanistan.
comment image

wpDiscuz