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Thousands Rally for Central European University

April 3, 2017
 
 

Thousands of protesters gathered in Budapest Sunday to demand that the Hungarian government withdraw proposed legislation that could force Central European University out of the country, Reuters reported.

Hungary's Parliament is expected to discuss the bill this week. CEU's leadership characterizes the bill -- which, among other things, would require the university to open a campus in the U.S. -- as a targeted measure against the private, graduate-only university, which was founded in 1991 by the liberal financier George Soros and has American and Hungarian accreditation. Hungary's education minister, László Palkovics, has disputed that the university is being singled out and denied anti-CEU or anti-Soros motives.

Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has been highly critical of Soros. More than 32,000 people have signed a Change.org petition that calls on the Hungarian government to scrap the proposed legislation and that describes the bill as motivated by the​ Orbán government's concerns about "potential foreign influence."

Dozens of universities, departments and academic groups have issued statements of support for the university, and the U.S. Department of State has called on the Hungarian government to “avoid taking any legislative action that would compromise CEU’s operations or independence.”

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