Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog has initiated the establishment of a work group to prepare reccommendations which will serve as the basis of higher education institutions’ rules to prevent misconduct in freshman camps. The announcement comes as the commissioner for educational rights proposes the amendment of the law on higher education to include a provision on unconditional respect for human dignity.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Minister emphasised that a transparent system to guarantee human dignity must be established by August 2015, when this year’s freshman camps will be held.
Commissioner for educational rights Lajos Aáry-Tamás, who is to head the work group, said that no actors in the higher education system can claim to have nothing to do with what happened and pointed out the vulnerable situation of women at such events. The commissioner also proposed the establishment of a forum at which university leaderships can engage in dialogue on freshman camps and cooperate in preventiong misconduct and sharing good practices.
The government’s action against misconduct in freshman camps comes after a series of scandals involving the unregulated and often obscure events, including a girl being raped in a camp held for freshmen at a faculty of Hungary’s largest university, ELTE. The event’s 38-year-old photographer, who had already been sentenced for a different criminal offense, admitted the crime some months ago and was placed under precautionary detention.
In a separate case, a first-year student at ELTE’s Faculty of Law fell victim to rape in the faculty’s camp for freshmen in 2013, information obtained by the news website Index suggests.