Rector takeover marred by protest

The ceremony for the handover to the new rector at Athens university was Thursday marred by a rowdy protest organized by so-called “eternal students” against a government decision to scrub them from registers.

The term refers to the thousands of students enrolled at universities across the country who are taking far too long to complete their courses.

A group of about 50 protesters interrupted an address by incoming rector Theodoros Fortsakis as he officially took over from Theodosios Pelegrinis, shouting slogans against the measure as well as the new rector.

In a written statement after the event, Fortsakis criticized the protesters as well as the legacy of the outgoing rector. “Public universities have unfortunately collapsed,” Fortsakis said, vowing to elevate them to “the status they deserve.”

Recent estimates say about 152,000 “eternal students” will be taken off the registers.

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