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Linguist Noam Chomsky asked Áder not to sign ‘lex CEU’

Analysis

World-renowned linguist Noam Chomsky sent a letter to Hungary’s President János Áder, dated April 10, asking him not to sign the higher education amendment that has become known es ‘lex CEU,’ according to Hungarian online news portal index.hu. Áder signed the amendment a few hours before deadline on Monday evening.

In the introduction of the letter, Chomsky expresses solidarity with CEU and those who have voiced their support for the university. 

“The Bill renders CEU’s continued operations in Budapest virtually impossible and strikes a severe blow against the academic freedom that enables all universities, including those in Hungary, to flourish. Further the Bill raises significant legal and constitutional concerns,” Chomsky writes in the letter, which index.hu has published and is available at this link.

In the letter, Chomsky asks Áder to refrain from signing the measure for several reasons. He said he believes the legislation “limits the freedom to academic research, studies and education as well as to the right to culture […] clearly discriminates against CEU [and] breaches law-making procedures.”

Chomsky also points to more universal issues arising as a result of the measure.

“Furthermore, this amendment curtails academic freedom in Hungary, which in turn will have negative consequences for investment and employment in Hungary. The cause of academic freedom has strong support from private citizens and institutions in Hungary and around the world,” Chomsky writes.

Chomsky closes his letter with a strong message sent to the Hungarian President.

“We urge you to act on your Presidential prerogative and send the Bill to the Constitutional Court of Hungary where the above concerns regarding its legality and constitutionality can be appropriately reviewed to protect the proud tradition of Hungarian academic life and preserve its autonomy and freedom,” the letter concludes.

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