On 6–7 April 2017, an annual European University Association was held in Bergen, Norway. This year’s edition of the conference was entitled ‘Autonomy and freedom: The future sustainability of universities’. The Jagiellonian University was represented by Prof. Stanisław Kistryn, JU Vice-Rector for Research and Structural Funds. The participants debated over issues related to autonomy of higher education institutions.
The conference was an opportunity for an in-depth discussion on the current political and economic situation of higher education institutions worldwide.
On the first day of the event, the participants took a stand on the proposed closing of the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, one of the oldest EUA members. They appealed to the Hungarian government, asking them to rethink their decision and stressing the importance of autonomy and freedom of higher education institutions in democratic societies as well as the crucial role that universities play in shaping social attitudes.
The participants also discussed various perceptions of academic freedom in different communities. They agreed that if universities are to continue their mission in education and research, they need a to be able to make key decisions freely and without outside influence. In the light of the current events, it is ever more important for universities to retain their autonomy.
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