Time for uni violence to end, says rector

Time for uni violence to end, says rector

The rector who was assaulted by a group of hooded youths earlier this month, says his experience has opened the way for tighter security at Greece’s universities, which have been plagued by violence for decades.

In an interview to Kathimerini, Athens University of Economics and Business Rector Dimitris Bourantonis talked about the recent attack, saying he was frightened but “enough is enough.”

“It is time for violence and lawlessness to be eradicated; society demands it,” he said. “For three decades, society has been accustomed to seeing academics being terrorized,” he added, saying now is the time for “bold decisions” to protect the safety of students and staff.

The photo of the rector posted on an anti-establishment website with him being held hostage, albeit temporarily, by a group of around 15 hooded self-style anarchists who hung a sign expressing support for sit-in protests around his neck, sparked nationwide indignation and a wave of reactions.

It also prompted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to announce a package of measures for guarding universities, including an on-campus police force, an entrance card and severe penalties for criminal activities.

Bourantonis said the messages of solidarity he received from the academic community and students demonstrated the huge desire for state-run universities to at long last “operate in a real environment of freedom for the dissemination of knowledge.”

“Society’s healthy reaction should guide the political system, the institutions and professors to take bold decisions to protect state universities,” he said.

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