Ole Petter Ottersen, Rektor UIO. Foto: Wanda Nathalie Nordstrøm
Ole Petter Ottersen, Rektor UIO. Foto: Wanda Nathalie Nordstrøm

Open letter to the Hungarian minister

On behalf of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, the chair, Ole-Petter Ottersen has written this open letter to the minister of human capacities in Hungary, expressing great concern about academic freedom.

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Dear Minister Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Capacities:

On behalf of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, which combines eighteen of the most distinguished universities across Europe, we would like to express our concern about proposed legislative changes in Hungary which would make it impossible for the Central European University to exist in its current form.

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We are alarmed because Central European University has, within its short history, gained a reputation as one of Europe’s outstanding universities in the Arts and Social Sciences. Indeed, its record of success in obtaining funding from the European Research Council since 2007 makes it stand out from all other Universities in Eastern Europe: why would Hungary do anything but strengthen and encourage staff and students there? Can Hungary really afford to be without this outstanding university?

Outstanding research can only happen through academic freedom, and the freedom of the researcher. The defense of these freedoms is core to the Guild’s raison d’être, as they are core to academic excellence everywhere. It is in the interest of Hungary’s ability to attract and retain outstanding students, and Hungary’s ability to attract the excellent researchers, that the proposed legislation be withdrawn. We urge you to do everything you can to support Central European University in this manner.

The letter is sign by Prof. Ole Petter Ottersen, Chair of the Guild (and Rector of the University of Oslo) and Prof. Jan Palmowski (Secretary General of the Guild)

The 18 universities in the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities are:

Aarhus University, University of Bologna, Ghent University, University of Glasgow, University of Göttingen, University of Groningen, Jagiellonian University (Krakow), King’s College London, University of Ljubljana, University of Louvain, University of Oslo, University Paris Diderot, Radboud University, University of Tartu, University of Tübingen, Uppsala University, University of Vienna and University of Warwick.