Police used tear gas to disperse a group of a few dozen students trying to enter the grounds of the main administrative headquarters of Athens University, a neoclassical building on Panepistimiou Street, on Thursday.
The move by the new rector of the university, Theodoros Fortsakis, to request the presence of police at the institution during a week of planned protests prompted criticism from students groups and leftist opposition SYRIZA, who maintain that law enforcement should continue to be banned from university grounds.
Fortsakis has taken several initiatives to improve security at Athens University in the wake of numerous incidents suggesting that campuses around Greece have systematically been used to harbor criminal groups.
These measures include placing security guards to ensure that people entering any of the university’s buildings are registered students or teaching staff.
The protests at the university are in opposition to the new security measures as well as to an Education Ministry plan to expel students who have been enrolled at the university without completing their degrees for more than 11 years.