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Theater Uni Leadership Demands ‘Student Republic’ to be Terminated with ‘Immediate Effect’

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.10.13.

The new leadership of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that they henceforth considered the “student republic”, an alternative educational model established by striking teachers and students within the university walls, to be “terminated with immediate effect”.

Chancellor Gábor Szarka and acting deputy rectors, Emil Novák and János Zalán, said they would “withdraw all financial and material support” from the students and teachers who had barricaded themselves into two university buildings.

The statement noted that the teachers and students who occupied the university in protest against the appointment of new leadership which they saw as an infringement on the university’s independence, rejected a crisis management package offered by the new leadership last week.

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“The student republic educational model announced by the former deputy rector, László Upor … has by now dismantled the internal workings of the university and made all dialogue impossible,” the statement said. “Unless the student republic ceases operation immediately, the leadership will consider it a private enterprise operating outside the university …” it said.

The leadership will send individual letters to all employees, teachers and students of the university, asking them to state their standpoint on the situation and indicate their intentions regarding cooperation with the new leadership. University institutions will gradually revert to “pre-republic operations”, ensured by the chancellor and the university’s operator, the statement said.

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The statement noted that the previous leadership resigned of its own accord after the government set up a foundation to assume oversight of the university. By resigning, the former leadership itself put the institution’s autonomy at risk, it said.

“Considering the principle of university autonomy as enshrined in the Constitution, we will remedy those violations of autonomy in the shortest possible time, and hold Senate elections by January 30, 2021, at the latest,” the statement said.

Featured photo illustration via Theatre and Film University Students Union’s Facebook page