Hungary’s Theatre & Movie college protests a Reduction of autonomy

BUDAPEST, Hungary — tens of thousands of students, faculty, and fans of Hungary’s University of Theater and Film Arts formed a human chain Sunday between their association and parliament to protest authorities measures seen diminishing its liberty.

Those in the demonstration passed from hand to hand a document announcing the institution’s principles and aims, which was presented to lawmakers. Organizers requested participants to wear gloves and masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the last couple of decades, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist, the conservative government has moved several important universities into private foundations dominated by boards of supervisors faithful to the authorities.

Though the government claims that the new arrangement increases educational quality and also make the associations financially separate, critics view the reforms as attempts to restrict the schools’ independence and deliver them ideologically closer to the civic government.

A college official said Sunday the beginning of courses could be postponed by a week.

A number of the university’s top professors have resigned, as has the college’s leadership, in aftermath of the designation of this foundation’s board of trustees, directed by film and theater director Attila Vidnyanszky. Since 2013, Vidnyanszky has also become the manager of Hungary’s National Theater.

The SZFE, the university Hungarian acronym, is 155 years old and summarizes many Oscar winners one of its graduates, such as Michael Curtiz, the manager of”Casablanca,” and Vilmos Zsigmond, the cinematographer for”Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Quite a few celebrities, artists, musicians as well as other universities have voiced their support for the university both in Hungary and abroad.