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12.09.2017

Norwegian students condemn recent attacks on academic freedom

The central board of NSO, National Union of Students in Norway.
The central board of NSO, National Union of Students in Norway.

The board of the National Union of Students in Norway adopted the following resolution, showing solidarity with the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary, which is threatened by a bill proposed by Hungarian authorities. 

MODERN ATTACKS ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Academic freedom is under threat. The Hungarian government, with Viktor Orbán’s party Fidez’ in charge, is targeting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to disband through multiple law proposals that will prohibit such organisations or institutions with foreign funding. Sadly, these days, the same tendencies are visible in many other Western countries. We see this in Russia, where the European university of St. Petersburg lost their teaching licence, and in Turkey, where authorities attacked their own university deans.

The Central European University (CEU) [1] in Budapest, Hungary, are one of the threatened universities in Europe today. CEU is partially financed by American-Hungarian George Soros. The university is organised as an American-style institution and is accredited both in the US and Hungary. It was established in 1991 and hosts approximately 1380 students within disciplines of business, social sciences, law and mathematics. The social science community is ranked as one of the world’s best. However, the whole university is under threat of having to shut down following Hungarian authorities’ attack on academic freedom.

Academic freedom is under threat. It seems alarmingly more accepted to meddle with autonomous universities and their academic freedom. This development must be taken seriously. The National Union of Students in Norway (NSO) urge that the academic community continue to display their resistance against these hostile attacks on academic freedom.

NUS Norway fully supports the Norwegian government’s decision to withhold EEA and Norway grants until the Hungarian government decides to respect academic freedom. It is now up to other actors to act and support the autonomy of higher education institutions.

Furthermore, NSO support the resolution adopted by ESU [2].

Students in Norway demand:

  • That the academic community continues to display their resistance against
    current attacks on academic freedom.
  • That the Norwegian government continues to withhold grants until the Hungarian
    government decides to pull back their law proposal, which weakens the position of
    academic freedom.
  • That the Norwegian government and higher education institutions (HEIs) should
    allocate funds and resources for cooperation in appropriate forms where it can
    strengthen the position of institutions, people with academic status and those
    whose academic freedom is threatened.

[1]https://www.ceu.edu/

[2]https://www.esu-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/On-the-controversial-law-amendment-on-the-operation-of-foreign-higher-educational-institutions-in-Hungary.pdf

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