A draft bill introduced by the recently elected center-right government calling for the abolition of a ban on law enforcement authorities from entering campus grounds signals the “rebirth” of Greece's universities, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a debate in Parliament on the new legislation on Thursday.
“It is time for us to shout out that Greek universities are not doomed and that Greece can provide its children with an education,” Mitsotakis said, defending the legislation introduced by Education Minister Niki Kerameus.
The legislation, Kerameus had told MPs earlier, ensures that the law for universities “is the same as it is in any public space, meaning that the authorities can intervene in response to any criminal act.” She specified that the term “authorities” does not refer only to the police, but also to the fire service, judicial and financial crimes officers, and even zoning inspectors, among others.
The legislation, Mitsotakis added later, “serves academic freedom and the unhindered exchange of ideas.”
“Universities are opening up, they no longer have to compromise with ugliness and mediocrity,” the prime minister said.
Responding to criticism from the head of the leftist opposition, Alexis Tsipras that the law is geared by the government's “obsession” with challenging the public character of Greece's universities, Mitsotakis said the aim of lifting the ban is to purge campuses of criminal elements that have been allowed to run rampant.