news letter Our mobile application

Weekly newsletter

Sides were in disagreement at a European parliamentary debate on Tuesday about whether political parties are influencing the current standoff at the Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE).

Attila Vidnyánszky, head of the board of a foundation that took over the university on Sept. 1 under a government decree, told the CULT Committee on Culture and Education’s online debate that all current developments were orchestrated by left-wing political parties. The parties concerned launched their electoral campaign on October 23 instead of expressing solidarity, Vidnyánszky said commenting on a protest march organised by students. He said the board had clear intentions wanting to implement changes in demand for several decades but the SZFE “is increasingly demonstrating exclusion rather than moving towards openness and diversity”, he added.

“We are open to negotiations and cooperation in any form,” he said. The students should demonstrate that they are “indeed open and are ready to accept new ideas, methodologies and aesthetic approaches”, he added.

University of Theater and Film Arts Stage March for University Autonomy
University of Theater and Film Arts Stage March for University Autonomy

Students of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) organised a protest march for the autonomy of higher education on Friday, the anniversary of the 1956 revolution. Participants walked from the Technical University on the Buda side to SZFE’s campus in central Pest, where they commemorated the revolution and held speeches. The crowd filled […]Continue reading

State secretary at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology László György said that more than a dozen consultations had been held with SZFE leaders before the model change was implemented in line with the constitution and current legal regulations, as part of the modernisation of Hungarian higher education. The new model will ensure increased autonomy to the institution and budget support will grow four-fold, he added.

Appointment of Theater University’s New Board of Trustees Leads to Resignations and Protest
Appointment of Theater University’s New Board of Trustees Leads to Resignations and Protest

The Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM) overlooked the University of Theater and Film Arts’ (SZFE) proposal and appointed Attila Vidnyánszky and a new board of trustees to lead the overseeing foundation. The decision immediately met with harsh opposition and led to the departure of two important and famed university personalities so far. The government […]Continue reading

László Upor, former deputy rector of the university, said the SZFE had never acted in line with a political agenda and its demands always in protection of autonomy. The institution was “forced into restructuring” which caused a loss of autonomy, he said. Its senate has lost the right to appoint the university’s leaders, he added. Upor said they had rejected invitations to talks after none of the university’s requests and demands were accepted at preliminary negotiations. “Changes were implemented without the university’s involvement,” he said.

Hanna Milovits, head of the SZFE student government, said the university’s restructuring had been carried out in an undeserving manner because government representatives refused to negotiate with anyone among the SZFE’s former leaders and students. The students are “forced to maintain” a blockade of the university buildings because “under the current circumstances the university’s autonomy is not guaranteed”, she said.

Theater Uni Protesters Stick to 'Student Republic' Despite New Leadership Taking Hard Line
Theater Uni Protesters Stick to 'Student Republic' Despite New Leadership Taking Hard Line

Gábor Szarka, the new chancellor of the University of Theater and Film Arts, and the two new vice-rectors wrote in a statement on Tuesday that because the students rejected their crisis management package and all attempts at conciliation, they consider the student republic terminated. The students indicated in their response that it “cannot be banned” […]Continue reading

MEP of ruling Fidesz Andrea Bocskor said in a statement that “left-wingers have created a political case from the SZFE reform” and “it is unacceptable that the left wing is using students for its own political purposes”.

SZFE’s previous senate and leadership announced their resignation on Aug. 31, saying the foundation that took over the university had deprived them of “all essential powers”. The students cordoned off the university’s main building and employees went on strike.

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