University law faces new hurdle

Academics at Artistotle University in Thessaloniki on Thursday became the first to officially challenge the university reform law passed on Wednesday, as Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou acknowledged that the legislation could only be deemed a success if it is implemented properly.

?Laws can be created easily; the challenge is implementing them,? she said on Thursday during a news conference.

Diamantopoulou thanked her associates and predecessors for their efforts in paving the way for a law that received overwhelming support from Parliament.

The legislation introduces independent assessment of universities and academics, while limiting the years that students can spend completing their courses.

It also aims to make it easier for authorities to enter a university campus if offenses are being committed.

The government has further extended a loan scheme that until now was only available to postgraduate students to undergraduates as well.

The new law will also allow students to transfer between universities in Greece and foresees the creation of a students? ombudsman to deal with complaints.

However, a number of academics remain dissatisfied with the law?s provisions. The senate of the Aristotle University issued a statement saying that parts of the law are ?unconstitutional? and that the institution would not implement them. Diamantopoulou slammed the academics? reaction.

?There are entrenched forces who do not appreciate the changes happening around them,? she said. ?These kinds of decisions undermine the public nature of universities. Generalizations, falsehoods and historically inaccuracies will not continue to be reference points.?

Diamantopoulou is expected to present next week a schedule for the implementation of the law.