Universities at an impasse

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis may have to intervene in the dispute between university teaching staff and the education minister after the lecturers said yesterday that they refuse to negotiate with Marietta Giannakou. The Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP) said it wants to deal directly with the premier over its opposition to planned tertiary education reforms. POSDEP called for Giannakou to resign on Thursday after clashes between riot police and students at the end of a rally in central Athens. POSDEP felt that police were too heavy-handed. «We asked for her removal after the latest incidents. We are still insisting on this,» said POSDEP General Secretary Yiannis Maistros. He said Giannakou was «not reliable.» POSDEP is unhappy that the Education Ministry has not made public details of its university reform bill. But the government has made clear its intention to allow private universities to operate in Greece, which has proved unpopular with some teaching staff and students. However, government sources said they felt the opposition was limited and that many of the public supported the reforms. Meanwhile, four people arrested during Thursday’s disturbances were yesterday charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, causing unprovoked injuries, damaging property and carrying weapons. Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros denied riot police had been heavy-handed and said their role had been «purely defensive» even though they came under heavy attack from some protesters.

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