Efforts to save leading university hit hurdle

The threatened Central European University in Budapest has been dealt a blow in its efforts to avert possible closure in Hungary. The country’s parliament voted on 17 October to postpone for a year a decision that would allow the university to keep operating there, writes Alison Abbott for Nature.

At a press conference held by the university shortly after the vote, Central European University Rector Michael Ignatieff called the delay “unacceptable” and “unnecessary”. In April, the Hungarian government unexpectedly amended its higher education law to require that all foreign-accredited universities there had to operate as higher education institutes in their countries of origin by 1 January 2018. The change drew protests and was widely believed to be politically motivated. Critics saw it as an attack on billionaire philanthropist George Soros who founded the university in 1991 and has openly criticised Hungary’s strict refugee policies.

The Central European University took steps to comply with the new requirements and on 3 October sealed an agreement with Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, to provide educational activities there. But on 16 October the government proposed delaying the implementation of the amendment until 1 January 2019, and the parliament approved the delay the next day.
Full report on the Nature site