Tertiary reforms prompt rancor

PASOK said yesterday that it will vote against the government’s bill on university reforms as teachers and students are due to take to the streets of Athens again today to protest the proposed changes to the tertiary education system. The Socialist party’s political council met yesterday to discuss its response to the draft law and, despite some disagreement, it was decided that PASOK will challenge the government head-on over the reforms. In the next few days, PASOK will also publish details of its own positions on the changes proposed by the government on controversial issues such as university asylum and caps on the length of degrees. The Hellenic Federation of University Teachers Associations (POSDEP) also rejected yesterday the proposals made by the ruling conservatives. Lazaros Apekis, POSDEP’s president, claimed the planned change to the asylum rule was «dangerous» and could lead to clashes between groups on university campuses. Apekis accused the government of trying to turn universities into businesses by forcing them to sign four-year agreements to secure funding. POSDEP and student organizations have planned a demonstration in central Athens today to voice their opposition to the reforms. Yesterday morning a group of some 250 protesters held up traffic in Thessaloniki and clashed with riot police for more than three hours. A 31-year-old German man was arrested outside university grounds.