Students of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) have refused a call by the university’s new leadership to vacate buildings of the central campus in Vas and Szentkirályi streets. They also rejected the management’s proposal to bring the autumn break forward from its normal time between Oct. 22 and 28. They added that the students would challenge in the courts a decision to “modify the order of the school year”. The students also refused a call by Gábor Szarka, the new chancellor, to vacate the buildings, accusing Szarka of making a political manoeuvre to silence the students. They accused him of abusing his powers and of threatening to suspending staff salaries unlawfully and cutting off internet services. The students vowed to guard “every room” and continue the blockade unless autonomy was restored.
The students were told to vacate the buildings by 6pm and start their autumn break earlier than scheduled. Szarka said time was needed “for everybody to calm down”. “Students need to move out of this psychotic state, go home, talk to their parents, calm down and make decisions other than ones against their own university,” he said.
Meanwhile, the university’s teachers condemned the evacuation order in a statement, saying that the chancellor and the new vice-dean were using the coronavirus pandemic “as a lame excuse” to make students give up their blockade.