AFT Resolution

SUPPORTING CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN HUNGARY

WHEREAS, after 25 years of attracting faculty and students from around the world for research, open debate and the critical exchange of ideas, Central European University—which was founded by George Soros—now represents everything the current Hungarian government sees as a threat: critical thinking, liberal values and academic freedom; and

WHEREAS, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder have imposed a new law—widely referred to as Lex CEU—that effectively targets only CEU and threatens its existence by imposing new standards that have been intentionally written to be impossible to meet; and

WHEREAS, this clear attempt to shutter this university is completely antithetical to all common values of scholastic independence and academic freedom; political attacks on academic institutions are an indefensible blow against the values of intellectual inquiry shared among democratic nations; and

WHEREAS, waves of marchers have demonstrated in the streets of Hungary to protest the law, and worldwide condemnation has been swift from hundreds of organizations, including other governments, universities, teacher unions and scholarly associations, as well as from artists, writers and journalists, and human rights defenders; all have criticized the Hungarian government’s move as a clear attempt to silence independent civil society; and

WHEREAS, in many parts of Hungarian society, space for dissent and criticism is rapidly shrinking; opposition media are censored; political opponents are marginalized; migrants and asylum seekers are subject to publically sponsored hate campaigns, violence and detention; and the country is steering a course toward authoritarianism that has already cast a shadow on its place in the community of European democracies:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers expresses its solidarity with the faculty, students, education support staff and administration of Central European University in their battle for independence and academic freedom; that the AFT opposes attacks on the independence and academic freedom of any university under the Viktor Orbán government; and that the AFT will communicate its support for CEU to the White House, Congress, the European Union’s commissioner for justice, and education allies worldwide; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to work with Education International and its Hungary affiliates to advocate for a political and media campaign that demands the government repeal its irrational and dangerous legislation targeting CEU, and urges respect for human rights and the rule of law.

(2017)

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