Greek College Asylum Ends, Now Comes Enforcing

Greece’s new Education Minister Niki Kerameus. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – The end of asylum on Greek college campuses, pushed through Parliament by the new ruling New Democracy government over ferocious opposition, will allow police to go onto the grounds to get lawbreakers with officials discussing how it can be enforced.

Education Minister Niki Kerameus said she discussed its implementation with Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, telling Praktoreio 104.9 radio, Kerameus said the new law is aimed at ending lawlessness on campuses that the Conservatives said had been turned into havens for criminals and anarchists to get away from the police.

She said the aim is that ending sanctuary at the colleges will “work as a deterrent,” in itself so that crime will stop with potential wrongdoers now understanding police can be called and go after them there.

“We are restoring the real meaning of asylum. We want the university to be primarily a place where people will be able to speak freely, without fear that someone attack them for their views,” she told Praktoreio, adding, “Police will intervene only when needed.”

Kerameus said that apart from the new law, other measures have to be taken to prevent crime on campuses, such as improving lighting. She said these measures will be discussed with university rectors.

The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA had been accused of allowing the law to be used as a way to reestablish Leftist credentials after surrendering to the country’s European creditors in 2015 to get a third bailout, for 86 billion euros ($97.28 billion) that came with more austerity former Premier Alexis Tsipras vowed he wouldn’t seek but then did.