Expert report focuses on university ills, makes recommendations for safer campuses

Expert report focuses on university ills, makes recommendations for safer campuses

Education Minister Costas Gavroglou on Wednesday made public the findings of an expert committee set up at his behest earlier this year to curb a spike in lawlessness at Greek universities.

The report was compiled by a 12-member committee led by former justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, as well as several academics and representatives of the judiciary and police force. Universities, technical colleges and student unions, which have been sent the report, have until October 30 to offer any comments.

The recommendations focus on an increase in on-campus thefts and drug dealing and use on university grounds as well as the occupation of faculty buildings.

The experts proposed improving the lighting in outdoor areas to discourage would-be thieves. Ensuring that lighting fixtures are out of reach of potential vandals would be a great help, they said. They also recommended an awareness campaign, stressing that destroyed lighting cannot be easily replaced and that attacks on academics and students are not a blow to the “ruling class.”

To stop attacks on ATMs on university campuses, the panel proposed the removal of cash machines from those areas or their relocation to indoor areas which can be more easily monitored.

As for the scourge of drugs, the experts proposed that authorities do “street work” in a bid to help drug addicts and ensure fewer end up on campuses. Support groups for addicts should be set up at universities to encourage awareness and help addicts, the report said. Less is said regarding the actual dealing of drugs, which universities have struggled to curb on their premises to which police have restricted access.

The frequent occupation of university faculties by students, and occasionally non-students, could be curbed by setting up “supervised leisure areas” for students, the report said. It also called for inspections on organizers of events at these venues to determine that they are issuing receipts and not evading taxes.

As for vandalism and the intimidation of academics and students, the experts proposed the establishment of committees to negotiate with members of sit-ins during which vandalism usually occurs and to hold debates about the problem.

New Democracy’s youth chapter rejected the report as “unacceptable, ridiculous and offensive.”

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