The Central and Eastern European Studies Center of Leiden University would like to express its concern about the proposed Hungarian higher education draft law, which, if adopted, would make the functioning of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest nearly impossible. These changes would endanger the academic freedom vital for CEU’s continued operation in Budapest and would strike a blow against the academic freedom that enables all universities, including those in Hungary, to flourish.
A number of Leiden university scholars—and members of our center—are alumni of the CEU or cooperate closely with it. The CEU and Leiden University have close connections of institutional cooperation and have long engaged in exchange of students and staff. CEU graduates take part in Leiden post graduate and doctoral programmes with great success.
More importantly, the Central European University is a beacon of teaching and research excellence and a revered academic institution not only in Central Europe, but in the whole of Europe and the world. The CEU has been a center of intellectual debates and development since its inception and an example of an academically excellent and societally relevant institution.
We express our strongest support for the university’s continued functioning without administrative or regulatory obstacles, for the benefit of young people in Central Europe and scholarly research and debates all over the world. As scholars of Leiden University, an academic institution with a long tradition of defending academic freedom, whose motto is “Beacon of liberty” (Praesidium Libertatis), we respectfully urge on the Hungarian government and parliament to refrain from adopting the proposed law that would create administrative restrictions for academic freedom.