ATHENS – Moving ahead in the face of fierce criticism, a plan to put security guards on Greek universities will begin with the training of 400 hired by the Hellenic Police (ELAS) for four months before they’re deployed.
It’s due to begin Jan. 17, said Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos, who met with the rector of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to discuss how it will function, said Kathimerini.
ELAS and the ministry are working with universities where there is staunch resistance not only from students, but also from some staff and academics despite the schools having often seen violence perpertrated.
The New Democracy government, which had earlier abolished asylum on university grounds, said it was acting to prevent more trouble at the universities where there’s also a plan to install turnstiles and ID passes.
Critics and opponents, primarily from Leftist parties, said having a police-like force on school grounds, even unarmed, threatens academic freedom put in place after the fall of the ruling military junta in the 1970’s.
“The safety of students and teachers is an absolute priority in 2022, so that universities are functional places of education and freedom,” Theodorikakos said as the plan forges ahead.
University grounds had been used as hideouts for anarchists and criminals and drug dealers operating in the open and some students and even professors attacked openly.