Students and teachers of Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) have invited László Palkovics, the minister of innovation and technology whose purview includes universities, for talks to be held on Nov. 11 at the university’s Ódry Theatre.
Students and teachers have held SZFE buildings under blockade since early September and have prevented the university’s recently appointed leadership, whom they see as illegitimate, from entering the building. Representatives of the university community said teaching has been ongoing at the university since Sept. 14. However, the new leadership posted an open letter on SZFE’s website on Friday, announcing the suspension of teaching at the university after the autumn break, they said.
In the letter, the leadership said the current situation made it impossible to supervise education at SZFE, noting violations of hygiene, fire and safety regulations. They insisted that alcohol was consumed “regularly” on university grounds and smoking regulations were disregarded. “Under such circumstances, the appropriate conditions for education cannot be ensured,” the open letter said. After the letter, the Education Office ordered the university’s operator to resolve the current situation. The leadership invited representatives of teachers and students for talks on Monday, which they declined. The representatives of teachers and students called for the decision of the Education Office to be made public. Palkovics, as the minister exercising founder’s rights over the foundation operating SZFE, has the power to do so, they said.
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”.