As concerns rise about instances of violence and lawlessness at Greek universities, a new study has pointed to hundreds of cases in recent years, more than a quarter of which involve attacks on academics.
According to the study, which was carried out by Thessaloniki’s University of Macedonia and has been seen by Kathimerini, a total of 358 instances of lawlessness and violence were reported in the period from 2011 through 2017.
The incidents included violence of all kinds, ranging from physical attacks to raids on university campuses, vandalism, drug dealing, robbery and rape, and occurred at 19 universities.
The largest number of attacks – 113 – occurred on the grounds of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, the country’s largest, followed by 70 on Athens University campuses and 36 at the National Technical University of Athens.
Of the 358 cases, university professors or lecturers were targeted in 95 and students in 34. The study’s authors noted that the real number of incidents is probably significantly higher than those recorded.
Education Minister Costas Gavroglou set up a committee of experts early this year to investigate ways of curbing a spike in crime and lawlessness at Greek universities within the framework of the asylum law, which basically bans police from entering university grounds.
Led by former justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, the 12-member committee includes several academics as well as representatives of the Greek judiciary and police force.
The panel has yet to issue its own report.
Conservative New Democracy on Thursdayy called for an immediate change to legislation on university asylum, which the leftist-led government reinstated last year after a previous ND administration revoked it.
The asylum law must be changed “so that there are no gray areas regarding the autonomous intervention of police in instances of crimes being committed in faculties,” ND’s shadow education minister Niki Kerameus told Kathimerini.
For its part, the union representing university professors called on the government “to finally grasp the scale of the problem, to assume its responsibilities for the situation on university premises and to protect, as it should do, the lives of students and staff as well as university public property.”