Concerns About Restrictions in Academic Freedom in Hungary

The Swedish section of Scholars at Risk is concerned about changes to Hungarian legislation that will limit how the Central European University can continue to be a free institution of higher education in Hungary.

In a statement sent to CEU, Scholars at Risk-Sweden shows its support for the university.

In the statement SAR-Sweden writes that academic freedom is one of the core values for a higher education institution and an important cornerstone for education and research, and that these values always must be safeguarded.

The change in legislation means that CEU can’t continue its operations in present form without changing its name and setting up a campus in the U S, but it also means that guest lecturers with residence outside the European Union no longer can teach at CEU without a working permit.

All of the sixteen Swedish higher education institutions that constitute SAR-Sweden support the statement.

This is the full statement:

It is with concern that we have learnt about the Hungarian amendments to Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education that passed into law on April 4th 2017. The legislation will limit the Central European University’s possibility to continue its operations as an institution of higher education in Budapest, Hungary. This is a severe restriction of academic freedom.

Freedom of expression and academic freedom are fundamental rights and cornerstones for research and higher education. These values must always be safeguarded. 

As part of the higher education community the Scholars at Risk Network- Sweden Section (SAR-Sweden) is deeply concerned about this development and questions the new legislation. SAR-Sweden agrees with the statements issued by the Scholars at Risk Network on April 3rd 2017. Sixteen Swedish higher education institutions constitute SAR-Sweden.

Scholars at Risk is dedicated to promoting academic freedom around the world, for example by giving sanctuary to scholars who are unable to work in their home countries. The University of Gothenburg has been a member of Scholars at Risk since 2013.

SAR-Sweden: Dalarna University, Karlstad University, Karolinska institutet, Konstfack- University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Linnaeus University, Lund University, Malmö University, Mid Sweden University, National Defence University, Stockholm University, Södertörn University, Umeå University, University of Borås, University of Gothenburg, University West and Uppsala University.

Central European University (CEU) is an American/Hungarian university that is located in Hungary. It was constituted in 1991 in the aftermath of the fall of communism. The purpose was to build a foundation for a free society and to meet the higher education needs that existed in east and central Europe. 

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