University crisis averted as staff get reassurances
A potential crisis for hundreds of students appeared to have been averted on Wednesday after administrative staff at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) halted nearly three weeks of strike action.
The protest, by staff who have been inducted into a troika-imposed mobility scheme for the civil service, had threatened to jeopardize the summer semester. It came just six months after similar action had threatened to scupper the winter semester.
The workers backed off following talks with the NTUA’s academic authorities, appeals from students and from Education Minister Andreas Loverdos, as well as after receiving reassurances that all staff who have joined the mobility scheme would be rehired.
Meanwhile an Athens prosecutor ordered an emergency probe into reports of vandalism, theft and violence on the institution’s premises as well as claims by some students that they were denied access to the grounds.
In a separate development, parties across the political spectrum yesterday condemned an attack late on Tuesday on University of Macedonia professor Nikos Marantzidis. The academic was set upon in a Thessaloniki cafe by three young men who questioned him about an article he had written criticizing the left before punching and kicking him. Conservative New Democracy noted that “acts of violence have no place in democracy,” with PASOK stating that any type of violence “contributes the creation of a fascist society.” Leftist SYRIZA expressed its “disgust and condemnation” at the attack.