Student unions are increasingly expressing opposition to university sit-ins and the disruption such occupations cause, while independent groups often gain more support at student union meetings than those aligned with the major political parties, Kathimerini understands.
A recent case in point concerns the philosophy faculty at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, with a union called “Initiative of Independent Students – Yes to Open Universities” calling for an end to widespread billposting and the full enforcement of a ban on smoking in public places.
Although the motion was approved by a majority at the latest student union meeting, the head of the faculty, Dimitris Mavroskoufis, deemed that the proposals were excessive.
The union has described its aim as “giving a voice to all those fellow students who the past few years have been observers, and often the passive victims, of developments taking place in our faculty under the ideological hegemony of a small group of students who disrupt its smooth operation.”
Its proposals included that students attending meetings should bring their academic ID cards with them in order to vote. It also called for a meeting between students and professors in order to improve ties and asked professors to help students make up for classes lost due to disruptions.
Other issues raised included the full enforcement of the smoking ban and sanitation in the faculty toilets. The union also took issue with billposting, saying that it would make all its announcements on social media.
Reacting in a letter to the students, Mavroskoufis defended the efforts being made for the faculty’s cleanliness and criticized the union for suggesting that the university should be a “sterile” environment.