Resolution of university split sought

The government looks set to speed up its proposals on how to change the law which prevents police from entering university grounds as the rectors of Greece’s main universities appealed for more calm and dialogue over tertiary education reforms. «We will soon be ready to announce exactly how the government proposes to implement the issue of immunity in the future,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. Sources told Kathimerini that the ruling conservatives have stepped up their efforts to produce a rounded proposal on the matter, which has gained additional publicity following clashes between anarchists and riot police at university grounds in central Athens last week. The government tried to stay out of an argument between the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and the Left Coalition Synaspismos. LAOS leader Giorgos Karadzaferis accused the leftist party of failing to condemn the actions of self-styled anarchists. «I am in no doubt that all the parliamentary parties condemn – should condemn – such acts of violence which are not in agreement with the functioning of our democracy,» said Antonaros. Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos brushed off criticism. «Let’s be serious. The disagreement is between Synaspismos and the government,» he said. «The real issue is whether we are going to have public universities or private profit-making ones.» The rectors of Greece’s four major universities – Athens University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Patras University and the National Technical University of Athens – appealed for all sides to take part in a constructive debate to improve the state of tertiary education. «This situation cannot continue at universities. We all have to show some goodwill and discuss the matter,» said Christos Kittas, the rector of Athens University. The rectors’ appeal was particularly aimed at students who yesterday decided to extend their protests. Some 300 university departments have been locked down so far.

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