OPINION

Attacking hypocrisy at our universities

The bold comments made by veteran PASOK Deputy Theodoros Pangalos in an interview with Kathimerini published over the weekend – basically calling for the police to be granted access to university campuses – have provoked chaos amid the ranks of the education sector, quite predictably. «I don’t know why police should be absent from universities; they should not need to ask permission to enter them when necessary,» he said in blatant criticism of the law of university asylum that bars police from university grounds. Of course, the real catalyst of the frenzied reaction was Pangalos’s criticism of the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP), which, the deputy said, «does not represent all universities, only a very small minority.» In reaction to this statement, various PASOK loyalists and «progressives» have launched serious personal onslaughts against Pangalos, some even accusing him of aiming to bring a clandestine police corps into universities. Pangalos’s proposals are actually nothing groundbreaking. Special police officers have patrolled many major American universities for years now and their operations do not affect academic freedom in any way. Pangalos is hardly inexperienced or naive. He was well aware that his comments would fuel a huge wave of «progressive» hypocrisy against him. In fact, Pangalos had planned to provoke this reaction; he made a bold challenge and his move constitutes a significant contribution to public life where empty words and hypocrisy have become an institution – an ideological dictatorship which pretends to be progressive but is actually dragging society backward. So these self-proclaimed progressives may be protesting, but Pangalos has managed to voice the concerns of a large segment of society which has been suffering due to the current deadlock in the education sector and is powerless to improve matters. It is not only a large proportion of university lecturers and other staff who are held hostage by this trade union dictatorship and who live with the constant fear of being targeted if they object to their union’s decisions; one must also consider the thousands of families worrying about the many crucial lessons being missed by their children due to the ongoing strife. But most important of all are the children themselves who are theoretically studying but are not actually learning anything, who have realized that most Greek universities cannot properly equip them for working life and that – instead of being the most productive time of their lives – their university studies are the most miserable and disgraceful.