Academics want safer campus

More than 100 lecturers and professors at the Athens Law School declared their support yesterday for a recent initiative by the university’s dean to introduce security guards and identity cards on campus, following recent unrest at several institutions in the city. «We are not willing to accept any longer the degradation of universities, the fear and psychological violence, the destruction of property, the usurping of past student struggles and the use of institutions for niche interests,» said the 103 academics in a written statement, which called on the university community to «wake from its slumber.» In the aftermath of the violence that accompanied the commemoration of the first anniversary of the killing of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman, Dean Theodoros Fortsakis and the council of the Athens Law School, a department of the University of Athens, proposed that his school should adopt security measures that are in place at thousands of other universities around the world. He proposed that Greece’s universities come together to set up a separate body of security guards that would be responsible for patrolling campuses and for checking who enters school grounds. He also suggested that all students should acquire ID cards that would be needed to gain access to campuses. Both measures have the aim of preventing the current situation in which people who have no connection with the universities are able to use the grounds to escape the clutches of the police. For example, a pirate radio station has been based and broadcasting for some time from the Athens Law School and cleaners recently found 20 petrol bombs on the campus. Students are opposed to Fortsakis’s proposals as they fear it undermines the university asylum law, which prevents police entering campuses other than in extreme cases. But the academics believe the situation has to change. «We dream of seeing the university become a driving force in academic life, a pillar of society and free speech and to have an asylum arrangement that ensures the dissemination of ideas.»

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