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Society

Greek University Campus Police Plan Stalled by School Officials

ATHENS – The New Democracy government’s vaunted plan to put unarmed campus police around universities troubled by violence, after training 400 of them, is stuck waiting aproval from campus officials who don’t want them.

The delay was discussed by the chief of the Hellenic Police (ELAS), Lieutenant General Konstantinos Skoumas, and the rectors of four institutions in Athens and Thessaloniki, said Kathimerini.

The talk was said to center on the universities stepping up their part in agreeing to the implementation although many academics and students are vehemently opposed to the presence of security forces.

The launch of the so-called University Protection Teams will only be able to proceed after each university has submitted a plan detailing the measures it deems necessary for itself but that hasn’t happened, the report said.

It wasn’t indictated whether the plan would be scrapped if the universities stall further although the government, in a concession, said the campus cops would be only outside four major universities, not inside.

The elaborate plan was promised by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an attempt to keep out criminals, including drug dealers from campuses where his government ended a policy of asylum that saw police barred from entering.

The security would also include requirements for students and staff and others approved for entry needing ID passes and subway-like turnstiles to prevent unchecked access.

In July the plan was set back  over personal data worries about whether the ID passes would violate the privacy of users under the country’s generally strict laws often bypassed when it involves celebrities or politicians.

The turnstiles can’t be put in place until the agency rules, said Kathimerini, with no word on what the timetable will be for that as the government wanted the guards working by September when the new school year starts.

Students will use their university ID cards, which are already available in digital form from the Ministry of Digital Governance and gives them access to public transportation and would be used to get into the schools grounds, as would staff, professors and others authorized to enter.

While the information on the cards is already known to school officials, the data agenc said it needs to examine the operation of the turnstiles, who will collect the information and to whom it would be available.

Students, some staff, and outside agitators and anarchists have staged sometimes violent protests against campus cops being put in place after the government ended asylum on school grounds that were being used by criminals and drug dealers as hideouts and weapons caches.

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