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SZFE Students, Strike Comittee Reject New Leadership’s ‘Ultimatum’

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.10.08.

The new deputy rector and the chancellor of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) said on Wednesday that the students and the strike committee of the university have rejected the leadership’s recent “conciliatory gestures” in connection with the current standoff.

The deadline for accepting the new management’s offer was set for midnight on Wednesday, Emil Novák and Gábor Szarka said in a statement.

They said that none of their offers, including a phased 10-15 percent pay rise for full-time employees and an agreement to maintain their current working schedule, could be implemented as long as the strike and standoff continued.

Novák and Szarka appealed to students and the strike committee to “reconsider” and accept their offer. They said that

It’s still not too late to start cooperating”

The deputy rector and the chancellor noted that in a written statement sent to the chancellor one-third of SZFE’s employees said they rejected cooperation with organisers of the university’s blockade, and indicated their willingness to work with Szarka.

Theater Uni Chancellor Replaced with Army Colonel by New Board of Trustees Leader Vidnyánszky
Theater Uni Chancellor Replaced with Army Colonel by New Board of Trustees Leader Vidnyánszky

Although his contract would have lasted until the end of the year, new board of trustees leader Attila Vidnyánszky decided to replace University of Theater and Film Arts’ (SZFE) chancellor Lajos Vonderviszt. He named a former defense minister’s chief of staff, Colonel Gábor Szarka for the post. Protesting students, however, faithful to their promise, didn’t […]Continue reading

The students on Monday vowed to maintain their blockade of university premises, insisting the new leadership was “illegitimate” and its overtures were “an ultimatum” rather than conciliatory. They said they would continue to exercise their democratic right to protest and maintain their blockade.

SZFE’s previous senate and leadership announced their resignation on Aug. 31, saying the foundation that took over the university on Sept. 1 under a government decree had deprived them of “all essential powers”. The students cordoned off the university’s main building and employees went on strike.

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