St John’s College,
Oxford, OX1 3JP
7 April, 2017
His Excellency, Dr. Janos Ader, President of the Republic of Hungary
Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary
1536 Budapest, Pf. 227
Dear President Ader,
As a senior academic at Oxford, deeply committed to the future of academia and the maintenance of high academic standards throughout Europe, I am greatly concerned about Bill T/14686 amending Act CCIV of 2011 on national higher education accepted by the Hungarian Parliament on April 4, 2017.
I have often visited CEU, given papers, lectures and seminars there. It is an excellent university by world standards, with a world-class professoriate. It has, among its intake, outstanding graduate students many of whom will be among the leading figures in their various professions in the next generation. At CEU they will have been taught to think clearly, argue cogently, to give reasons for their conclusions, and to exercise good judgement. The Bill that has now come before you renders CEU’s continued operations in Budapest virtually impossible. It is also inimical to academic freedom, without which no university, in Hungary or anywhere else, can flourish. Furthermore, the Bill raises significant legal and constitutional concerns.
By requiring foreign higher education institutions to operate in Hungary based on a binding international agreement, the law limits freedom to engage in research, teaching and studies, as well as the liberty to pass on our rich cultural heritage to the next generation.
By requiring foreign higher education institutions with a Hungarian campus also to provide higher education programs in their country of origin, the bill patently discriminates against CEU, and would make it impossible for CEU to continue to exist in Hungary.
In requiring faculty members from OECD member states employed at higher education institutions whose maintainer is a Hungarian foundation to obtain a work permit in Hungary, the bill is obviously targeted primarily at CEU.
It is also relevant that the bill was adopted by means of an exceptional procedure without consulting the affected parties, as is required by law.
In view of this, I very much hope that you will exercise your Presidential prerogative and refer the bill to the Constitutional Court of Hungary
P. M. S. Hacker
Emeritus Fellow, St John’s College, Oxford
Honorary Fellow, The Queen’s college, Oxford