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Students occupy Theatre and Film University

September 3rd, 2020

A pro-government commentator accuses students occupying the Theatre and Film University of political bias. A left-wing pundit calls for dialogue.

Students protesting against the restructuring of the University of Theatre and Film (see BudaPost August 17 and August 5) occupied the university building on Monday night, and say they intend to stay there. Several faculty members as well as the Senate resigned in protest against the new Board appointed by the government.

Magyar Nemzet’s Tamás Pataki accuses students, actors and directors protesting against the restructuring of the University of Theatre and Film of political prejudice. The pro-government commentator believes that  critics of the university reform reject any compromise because they are misled by left-leaning faculty members who falsely claim that the new leadership structure would undermine freedom of expression. Pataki believes that the new structure would actually further increase the independence of the university and give more power to its Senate which is a strong guarantee of artistic freedom. Pataki also dismisses accusations that the government has cut the funds allotted to culture. He suggests that both the number of theatres and theatre-goers have increased since 2010.

Népszava’s Gyula Balogh thinks that the ‘war’ over the University of Theatre and Film illustrates the deep divisions in Hungary. The left-wing columnist finds it highly problematic that students should occupy their university, but at the same time, the new leaders of the university appointed by the government have failed to listen to students’ requests or make concessions. Instead of escalating the dispute, Balogh calls for a truce and compromise.

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