Management of Hungary’s top art school resign citing government interference

The government’s decision to appoint a board of trustees at a prestigious art institution in Hungary has led to the resignation of prominent staff from the school. They cited government interference in the day to running of the school as the motivation for quitting.

The election of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2018 marked the beginning of the tightening of government institutions by the conservative government. Many of the Prime Minister’s supporters and pro-government journalists have always been vocal with their intentions of moving the country’s governing and philosophy to a more conservative path.

Hungary’s descent to the current situation

The Prime Minister, who has been the leader of the country for over 10 years, indicated that the time was ripe to embed the political system in a cultural era, during his third term victory speech.

Since then, the Prime Minister has worked hard to control every facet of Hungarian citizen’s public lives, including universities, state media and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

However, it is his latest move that has made clear of the government’s intention of controlling institutions, when they appointed board for the prestigious University of Theatre and Film Arts. The move was met with resistance from the management of the university, who resigned as a sign of protest over the imposition of the board.

Resignations

The controversy started earlier this year when the parliament transferred the state-run theatre school to a private foundation. After the transfer of the university, the government ignored the board members that had been proposed by the university and went ahead and appointed five trustees for the universities. This lead to a standoff between the government and the university senate, which argued that they had been denied their right to decide on their budgetary, organizational and personnel issues.

The move has led to many theatre directors to resign from their teaching roles in the university. They argued that the move by the government had removed all autonomy that the school had indicating that the government was looking to control what was being taught in the university as part of its plan on challenging the domination of left-wing philosophy in art schools.

 

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