The Central European University (CEU) will officially move from Budapest to Vienna as of December 1, a direct result of the Hungarian government’s so-called Lex CEU, which targets independent academia in the country.
“We have taken all necessary actions in order to comply with Lex CEU. We have repeatedly indicated our openness to find a solution that guarantees our institutional integrity and academic freedom. We have waited as long as we possibly can,” said CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. “But it would be irresponsible for us not to pursue arrangements to secure CEU’s future. Unfortunately, we have been forced into this decision by the unwillingness of the Hungarian government to offer an acceptable solution.”
CEU had originally hoped that it would have been able to open a satellite campus in Vienna, complementing its home campus in Budapest and its American site at Bard College in New York State. However, after a deterioration of the situation, including a Hungarian government ban on gender studies programmes, the forced suspension of research related to migration, and punitive tax measures, the CEU’s board has had to announce that incoming students for its US-accredited masters and doctoral programmes will have to study at a new campus in Vienna because the Hungarian government has not concluded an agreement that would allow CEU to operate freely in Hungary as a US institution chartered in New York State.
“For 18 months, we have defended our right to remain as a US degree-granting institution in Budapest, but we are unable to secure the guarantees we need from the Hungarian government to preserve our academic freedom,” said Mr Ignatieff.
“CEU remains committed to Budapest and will continue to enhance the intellectual and cultural life of the city. We will maintain as much research and educational activity in Budapest as possible,” he continued.