In the fall of 2019, Andrea Kozáry, a renowned expert on hate crimes and 25-year veteran of Hungary’s National University of Public Service, organized a conference on that topic, including anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-immigrant crimes. Although the university had reportedly agreed to host the conference, university officials cancelled the event three weeks before it was scheduled to take place. According to reports, when Professor Kozáry confronted university leadership about the cancellation, her contract was terminated, effective immediately.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the summary termination of a professor — evidently without due process, the right to appeal, or related administrative safeguards — in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to free expression and association. Freedom of expression and academic freedom — including the right to comment on one’s own institution — are guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ICCPR, to which Hungary is a party. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions harm university autonomy, erode expression on campus, and harm democratic society generally.