Three of the outgoing leaders of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) on Wednesday said they had held talks with the head and other members of the institution’s supervisory board, promising to continue to carry out their duties until the end of the month.
SZFE’s senate and leadership announced their resignation on Monday, saying the foundation that took over the university on Sept. 1 under a government decree had deprived them of “all essential powers”. Attila Vidnyánszky, the director of the National Theatre, has been appointed to head the university’s supervisory board, sparking protests from many teachers and students.
Addressing a press conference after their talks with Vidnyanszky and other board members, SZFE deputy rector László Upor, László Bagossy, the head of the Theatre Institute, and Gábor Németh, the rector’s advisor, said the positions of the outgoing leadership and the supervisory board were still far apart.
Bagossy said many of the disagreements between the two sides at the talks stemmed from their differences in how they see democracy.
“Our approach to running SZFE is also part of our approach to democracy,”
he said, adding that the two sides had also failed to make any progress on resolving their disagreements regarding the university’s recently re-written statutes.
Németh said Wednesday’s talks had made it clear to him that the supervisory board had a different understanding of change than they did. He said that while the supervisory board believed that SZFE had failed to evolve with the times over the past 30 years, the university’s leaders “tried to point out the many ways teaching at the university was modernised” during that time.