The case at hand is complex, multi-threaded and unfortunately can only be discussed within strict legal limits. Nevertheless, we are trying to provide clear and transparent information.
Zoltán Ádám, Associate Professor at the Institute of Economics, has initiated ethics reviews as he claims that a student was given preferential treatment during a progress check related to a subject. He argues that the student got special treatment because of his influential family. The ethics reviews examined the case in detail and found no ethics abuse at second instance. Zoltán Ádám, who had been the whistleblower, challenged the decision in court. The court rejected his claim at first instance.
The University supports freedom of expression, respects these rights of both lecturers and students. At the same time, it is unacceptable that Zoltán Ádám constantly seeks to resolve his internal conflicts by exerting pressure through the press. He did the same during the ethics review. As a result, several innocent students were falsely defamed by their fellow students on social media and in personal messages, causing serious psychological harm to the students concerned. The management of the University cannot tolerate this! Students should not be harmed because of individual conflicts.
Press reports have conflated the ethics reviews with the irregularity procedure and its consequences. The ethics review only looked at whether an ethical abuse had occurred. No ethical abuse was found, but there was a strong suspicion that irregularities may have occurred. In compliance with the University’s internal rules, an irregularity procedure had to be launched.
The irregularity procedure found irregularities in five areas. One of them is that in the case of the course in question, one student was allowed to make up a missed assignment without submitting any request. In contrast, several other students, including the student affected by the ethics review, were not allowed to do so. It was argued that this option is not included in the subject datasheet.
Colleagues who have acted irregularly have been notified and have been informed by the employer of the employer’s decisions, which were necessary and proportionate. One written and four verbal warnings were issued.
There was one case of termination of employment. Contrary to press reports, this was not due either to the ethics review or to irregularities, but because Zoltán Ádám did not provide the correspondence necessary to establish the facts, the whole truth and clarify his role, even after having been requested to do so five times during the irregularity procedure. So the reason for termination of employment is non-cooperation.
The management of the University considers it unacceptable that innocent students are being subjected to unfounded accusations in a highly publicised ethics case. It is determined not to give in to pressure through the press driven by vested interests. We firmly reject the manipulation of academic and wider public opinion and the tarnishing of the university’s reputation by individuals driven by vested interests. We strongly reject the use of rude and personally offensive language towards colleagues.
Corvinus University has no intention of changing its values based on the sense of community and tolerance, and as an employer it has no other choice but to be consistent in its actions.
Corvinus University of Budapest