All posts tagged: Budapest campus

The Right’s War Against Universities

The Right’s War Against Universities

W hen in the spring of 2017 Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, made it illegal for the Central European University to offer U.S.-accredited degrees at its Budapest campus, everyone there knew that this was more than an attack on George Soros, the Hungarian American businessman and philanthropist who’d founded the CEU. I was then the university’s president and rector, posts I held from 2016 to 2021, so I witnessed the more than 50,000 citizens of Budapest who marched past our windows one Sunday a few weeks later in defense of our academic freedom. Chanting “Szabad orszag, szabad egyetem” (“Free country, free university”), they knew that their freedom was at stake too. Since coming to power in 2010, Orbán had neutered the country’s supreme court, rewritten Hungary’s constitution, radically curtailed the free press, and stigmatized foreign donations to its civil-society organizations. The chanting crowds knew that the attack on the university was another step in the consolidation of single-party authoritarian rule. Orbán’s campaign against universities didn’t end with the CEU. First, he decapitated Hungary’s preeminent scientific …