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CEU Rector: Orbán cabinet appears to have decided on university’s fate in Hungary – UPDATE

CEU Rector: Orbán cabinet appears to have decided on university’s fate in Hungary – UPDATE

The Central European University’s (CEU) rector and president, Michael Ignatieff, has said that it appeared from recent statements by Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, that the government had already decided on the university’s fate in Hungary.

In a letter to Szijjártó, the CEU’s rector wrote: “In remarks to the press earlier this week, you gave the clearest indication yet that on January 1, 2019 your government will force CEU out of Hungary.”

“You assert that CEU has not established educational activity in the State of New York. This will obviously be the basis on which the government justifies its decision,” Ignatieff said in the letter seen by MTI.

“If this is the government’s decision, it will be ignoring the terms of your own legislation,” he added.

The Hungarian higher education law “clearly states that the authorities competent to decide whether a foreign institution is conducting educational activities in its home state are the educational authorities of that state. The New York State Department of Education has repeatedly informed the government of Hungary that CEU is conducting educational activities in New York. You cannot be unaware of this correspondence. It has been a matter of public record for months,” the letter said.

The open letter from Central European University rector Ignatieff to Foreign minister Szijjártó:

Dear Mr Foreign Minister

In remarks to the press earlier this week, you gave the clearest indication yet that on January 1, 2019 your government will force CEU out of Hungary.

You assert that CEU has not established educational activity in the State of New York. This will obviously be the basis on which the government justifies its decision.

If this is the government’s decision, it will be ignoring the terms of your own legislation. The Hungarian higher education law, passed by your Parliament, clearly states that the authorities competent to decide whether a foreign institution is conducting educational activities in its home state are the educational authorities of that state. The New York State Department of Education has repeatedly informed the government of Hungary that CEU is conducting educational activities in New York. You cannot be unaware of this correspondence. It has been a matter of public record for months.

The question of whether CEU has complied with the law should be determined by the terms of the law itself. If you choose to ignore the terms of your own legislation, the responsibility for that lies with you.

You also must be aware that your Ministerial colleague, Mr. Palkovics as well as Mr. Kristof Altusz, from your own Ministry, visited Bard College in April 2018. In the presence of Trustees and Chairman of the CEU Board, they gave clear indications that CEU had established educational activity on the Bard College campus.

You will also be aware that M. Altusz engaged in productive negotiations with the chief legal counsel of the Governor of New York through the summer of 2017. These discussions resulted in the text of a draft agreement which CEU accepted as the basis of its future operations in Hungary. This document remains the basis for a potential settlement.

For eighteen months, CEU has sought a solution that would allow us to remain in Hungary but your remarks indicate that your government has already made up its mind.

As minister you and your government will bear responsibility for the harm that your decisions will do to Hungary’s higher education system and to the country’s international reputation.

Yours,

Michael Ignatieff
Rector and President

UPDATE

Szijjártó: CEU seeking ‘political mess’

Budapest’s “Soros university” is seeking “political upheaval rather than a solution”, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said in reaction to a letter by Central European University (CEU) Rector Michael Ignatieff, on Friday.

Szijjártó insisted that he had not received the rector’s letter when it had been shared with the press, and said it also showed that the university was more interested in a “political mess” rather than in resolving the issue.

In his letter, Ignatieff said that the CEU had been seeking ways for the university to stay in Budapest for the past 18 months. The foreign minister’s recent remarks, however, indicate that the government has already made a decision on the fate of the university, he added.

Source: MTI/CEU

4 Comments

  1. máte pál

    You, Mr Rector and President, Michael Ignatieff, of the CEU in Budapest, are a big wide open arsehole. You are causing a political row over something that has already been sorted. It has already been stated that the CEU will not be leaving Budapest. Get your facts straight, you sneeze bag.

  2. David Yuhas

    American Colleges don’t own Universities.

    Bard College would be lucky to have its own Basketball Team.

    American Universities that own Colleges abroad do so to enable their Students, typically in their 3rd Year, to soak up the local Culture…not to push for Regime Change

  3. Marta Burka

    It is time for CEU to leave. It caused more headache than good for Hungary.

  4. VEDO

    Yes, Michael Ignorantdumbkoff was a failed politician here in Canada too. Can you all see why? He can’t even spell his last name correctly!!

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