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Society

Greek University Police Force Delayed, Trained for Deployment

September 8, 2021

ATHENS – Putting police on Greek university campuses as the New Democracy government vowed will be held off until the end of the year so that a force of 400 can be trained.

The University Protection Units fiercely opposed by many students, faculty and staff at the schools – demanded by others after ongoing spates of violence on school grounds – will be deployed when ready, said government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou.

It will go ahead despite the denunciation of the major opposition SYRIZA which had also reintroduced asylum on university grounds that criminals used as hideouts before that was ended by the Conservatives.

The university cops will be part of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) which brought condemnation from critics who don't want them associated with universities seen as being free from law enforcement except in egregious cases.

Academics have petitioned the Council of State to rule the establishment of the new force unconstitutional, the paper said, adding that the unarmed members of the university police will undergo three months of training first.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’  administration passed measures that required higher standards for universities and also to crack down on violence there and punishment for students occupying buildings.

Access to campuses would be limited to keep out those who aren’t students or staff but the plan drew a mixed response, some academics wanting an end to violence and others not wanting government or police involvement.

The bill described the discipline as being applied to “the deliberate obstruction of the proper functioning of the institution, including its educational, research or administrative operation as well as the operation of its single-member and collective bodies and services, as well as the uninterrupted use of facilities and equipment.”

Another provision also bans the use of indoor or outdoor areas, facilities, infrastructure and equipment of the university without the permission of university officials, who had regularly let students do what they want and occupy areas.

The penalties begin a written warning and scale up to being barred from courses, temporary or permanent prohibition of use of equipment or facilities of the institution, and temporary or permanent suspension and expulsion.

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