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SZFE STUDENTS REJECT NEW LEADERSHIP'S 'ULTIMATUM'

 

The students of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) vowed to maintain their blockade of university premises, insisting the new leadership was “illegitimate” and its overtures were “an ultimatum” rather than conciliatory. The students held a press conference in response to an open letter by university leaders promising full-time employees a wage hike in two stages, talks on the university’s planned developments as well as a promise not to punish the student organisers of the blockade. The students said the country’s law on higher education set down the conditions regarding the autonomy of universities, and this was not up for discussion. They said they were prepared to discuss the university’s transformation in the presence of a guarantee of autonomy. The students insisted that only a leadership “appointed lawfully” would have the authority to certify the validity of the school year. 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.