ATHENS – Former University of Athens Rector Theodoros Fortsakis, joining criticism that the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA is ignoring growing lawlessness, said Greek universities are being taken over by “violent minorities and extra-university groups” and said “cheating is rampant in exams,” at the college.
Fortsakis is now a Member of Parliament for the major opposition New Democracy and told the state Athens-Macedonian News Agency that the problem in the schools is even worse than being portrayed, despite a growing number of violent incidents in which professors and students have been attacked, drug dealers are operating in the open and criminals are using the SYRIZA-backed university sanctuary law to hide out.
“The universities have unfortunately descended into a mess beyond description. They are infested by violent minorities, some departments of theirs are occupied by extra-university groups, heavy violations of law take place in their spaces, occupations systematically hamper classes, the organization of tuition and mainly of the students’ assessment system has serious problems, a large number of students remains stagnant and cheating is rampant in examinations,” he said.
Fortsakis voiced his strong support to the proposal by New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the foundation of private universities, adding that a new category of legal entity, that of the university entity should be provided for by the constitution.
“The law should dictate the conditions for the creation and operation of those universities. Whoever – the state or a private party – fulfills these conditions should be able to found and operate a university, always under state supervision. This way we would not neither have any phony universities without tutors and students, or any fake private universities in blocks of flats,” Fortsakis said.
The Greek Constitution doesn’t recognize private colleges and degrees from even prestigious schools won’t open the door for jobs in the state sector at the same time SYRIZA is trying to dumb down requirements to get into universities.
Stepping up attacks and changing targets, anarchists in Greece who are operating with impunity amid charges that SYRIZA is looking the other way, tore into two universities within two days, wreaking havoc on buildings and people.
The first came at the University of Macedonia Dec. 14 when a group of 10-15 youths wearing hoods entered the grounds and started smashing whatever they could and assaulting students.
Greek universities are sanctuaries from police who can’t enter without permission, a practice supported by SYRIZA, which is riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers and whose ranks were created from former student protesters who suddenly found themselves in power in 2015.
The gang, using iron bars and wooden sticks pulled from sacks, went after whatever they could after also donning hoods and masks after entering without disguise, the newspaper Kathimerini said, the targets including tables, chairs and the school’s Christmas tree.
Major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Tsipras of implicitly condoning the violence to re-establish Leftist credentials after surrendering to international creditors and Capitalist bankers, another target of Greece’s anarchists.
Academic chiefs meeting in Athens for the 86th Rectors’ Summit condemned vandalism at Macedonia University, a day before the attack at Athens University. The Macedonia incident involved a group of hooded men who smashed doors, windows and equipment with tire irons, scaring students and teachers.
“Persistent ailments of the system in combination with loose ideas about democracy and tolerance of crime have allowed (such) phenomena,” said the meeting’s President, Athens University of Economics and Business Rector Emmanouil Giakoumakis whose school is dealing with similar problems and as drug dealers are getting onto Greek college grounds.
There’s been a sharp spike in violent incidents and criminal activities at Greek universities which fail to register among the best in the world lists as critics said they are getting worse under SYRIZA which doesn’t want excellence in education.
“The violence appears to be escalating,” the UOM’s rector, Achilleas Zapranis, told Kathimerini. “We have to realize that this kind of violence only happens in our country. That has to be our point of departure if we are going to wipe out this problem,” he said, adding that violence at universities must not come to be regarded as commonplace.
Academics say the situation is beyond their control. “Universities are not in a position to deal with such incidents,” the Council of Rectors said in a statement.
“The government is the competent authority to protect universities which lack the staff for that,” said president of the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (POSDEP,) Stathis Efstathopoulos. “It is phenomena like these that undermine the asylum [protection from police intervention] of universities,” he said, adding that only those with ID’s should be allowed on school grounds.
Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) Rector Emmanouil Giakoumakis said school grounds are being used to peddle counterfeit goods such as cigarettes, clothes and bags which would be unlawful on the streets outside, and that drug deals are flourishing.