Dear Friends and Colleagues,
You may have heard about the Hungarian government's latest attack on academic freedom, democratic values, and Central European University in particular. The international media is full of this news, e.g.: https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2017/mar/29/us-linked- top-university-fears-new- rules-will-force-it-out-of- hungary
Mind you, this is not an isolated event, Russian authorities have been trying to close down the European University in St. Petersburg, a similar university to CEU. Only somehow this didn't make the news so widely, I only heard about it today.
http://www.dw.com/en/european- university-in-st-petersburg- threatened-with-closure/a- 38093963
Many of us who know Hungarian politics all too well believe that scapegoating George Soros and attacking institutions supported by him (including human rights NGOs, against whom the government is also preparing damaging legislation) is done with the ultimate aim of completely eliminating critical thinking and democratic political thought and institutions opposing the populist, authoritarian system they are building, based on hatred, fear, exclusion and institutional violence.
Not quite accidentally, CEU is the only university in Central Eastern Europe, which has MA and PhD programs in gender studies - and these are well-reputed programs. Gender studies are under a particularly strong attack by the government and a broader anti-gender movement spreading fast in Europe. The Gender Studies Department was in the focus of earlier attacks against CEU a few months ago. It seems that those attacks faded only because Fidesz politicians were busy trying to find the loophole through which they can damage the entire CEU.
If you are concerned, please check out this website for updates and how you can support CEU:
One way to support CEU is to sign this petition, which the Hungarian government obviously won't care about, but it's important for us to see that a lot of people support us:
https://www.change.org/p/ hungarian-national-assembly- save-the-central-european- university
Please also spread the news to your networks. Thank you for your solidarity. We don't quite know yet how to resist and fight back, but I will keep you updated.
Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies, CEU
Board Member of Labrisz Lesbian Association (also under attack because of having received funding from the Open Society Foundation, funded by Soros)