20/02/2013

Budapest University student body lists students according to their ethnic, religious, sexual and political background

Budapest University student body lists students according to their ethnic, religious, sexual and political background

Budapest University student body lists students according to their ethnic, religious, sexual and political background

Members of the student council of the University of Budapest reportedly have compiled illegal lists of students’ presumed religion, ethnic background including Jewish origins, and political affiliation.

The files were compiled annually on freshmen by the HÖK student council, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Hungarian television channel ATV, which received a copy of a full list from 2009. A column contained the letters I/N -– Hungarian for Y/N, or “Yes/No” -- and is believed by some to be used to indicate whether the student is Jewish, ATV reported. An adjacent column lists in code the political party with which the student is presumed to be affiliated.

Kalman Szalai, managing director of the Action and Protection Foundation - a newly-founded Jewish watchdog on anti-Semitism in Hungary, told JTA his organization has requested that police investigate the case, since the registration of such personal information is forbidden under Hungarian law. In a statement, the foundation said the governing board of the student body was “closely linked with the extreme rightist Jobbik party.”

“If the information is correct, then this is a grave breach of the constitution and those who contributed in compiling it committed several crimes,” the foundation said in a statement issued Feb. 19. .

A representative of the student council is quoted as saying his organization is nonpartisan and that the file was a forgery based on an original list which did not contain personal details.

Gyorgy Fabri, a spokesperson for the University of Budapest, said the institution has launched an investigation into the case.

“EUJS is highly concerned that an official student body lists students in the University and we urge the authorities to investigate on the issue and take all necessary measures to ensure that no student can be descriminated because of ethnic, sexual, religious or political orientation.” – said Andi Gergely, EUJS Chairperson.

For the full JTA article click here. http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/02/20/3119996/report-budapest-university-student-body-lists-jews

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