Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is facing a strong backlash from universities this week after banning gender studies programs.
“The Government’s standpoint is that people are born either male or female,” a spokesman for the prime minister told CNN, “and we do not consider it acceptable for us to talk about socially-constructed genders, rather than biological sexes.”
The Hungarian government issued a decree last Friday to revoke accreditation and funding for gender studies programs at the two universities that offer them in Hungary.
According to Budapest’s prestigious Central European University, the government offered no public explanation for removing accreditation for their gender studies Master’s and PhD programs.
“In solidarity with Hungarian colleagues, we oppose this latest infringement on academic autonomy in the country,” said the university’s Department of Gender Studies in a statement.
“In the face of political moves such as this recent decision that mischaracterize and question the academic legitimacy of Gender Studies, we stress that the concept of gender, as a fundamental component of the human experience, has proven its importance in and across many areas of academic research.”