Seeking to crack down on chronic lawlessness on and off campuses, the government is moving forward with its security plan for Greek universities, to protect students, staff and facilities from rampaging groups of hooded self-styled anarchists, looters and squatters.
The new rules stipulate the creation of a special protection team tasked with securing the academic institutions, tight checks on those entering universities – which also entails student entrance cards – and a set of strict disciplinary rules.
The measures, which had already been outlined by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a meeting with university deans in October, are formulated in an amendment drafted by the Education Ministry. The measures will be presented on Tuesday by Education Minister Niki Kerameus during a meeting with university rectors.
According to the ministry’s draft, the special protection team will have policing responsibilities and its members will receive special training and will be uniformed. However, a sticking point could be that members of the group will answer to the Hellenic Police (ELAS). Therefore, in cases of violence, they will appeal to ELAS for instructions on how to act.
For their part, rectors have requested that any such group comes under the authority of universities, with some critics contending that if its members are answerable to the police, the constitutionally guaranteed self-government of academic institutions could be compromised.
Interestingly, the disciplinary law has been drafted for a number of acts, and not exclusively for violence, and also includes stiff penalties for copying/plagiarism, such as banning participation in exams or expulsion.
Kathimerini understands that the rectors will submit their own proposals, and the issue is expected to be discussed in view of the regular meeting of the council of university rectors on December 16-18.
The government’s move comes in the wake of a recent attack on the rector of the Athens University of Economic and Business in his office by a group of hooded youths who later posted a photo of him with a sign hanging from his neck with a slogan in favor of university sit-ins.
The incident caused nationwide shock and a pledge from the government to expedite its plans to secure law and order at the country's academic institutions.