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Protesting Tsipras’ College Merger Plan, University President Quits

January 3, 2019

The President of the International Hellenic University (IHU) in Thessaloniki, Costas Grammenos, resigned in reported protest over Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ plan to create a new international university there that will see three technical colleges merged with IHU.

Grammenos, who is the founder of the Costas Grammenos International Center for Shipping, Trade and Finance at City University, London, and head of the IHU since its founding 10 years ago, was said to have opposed the plan critics said would lower standards – a hallmark of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – and compromise the school’s reputation by bringing in schools of lesser caliber.

Sources told Kathimerini that Education Minister Costas Gavroglou accepted Grammenos’ resignation.

Tsipras’ plan comes as he’s keeping out private universities – violating European Union laws. He said the new school would have branches in six northern Greek cities as he continues to make a flurry of announcements and handouts with elections this year.

He is unpopular around Thessaloniki which is in the province of Macedonia, after he made a deal to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to North Macedonia and let residents there be called Macedonians and have a Macedonian language and culture.

Tsipras said during a meeting with representatives of educational institutions that the new university will be created through a partnership of three technical colleges (those of Central Macedonia, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace) and IHU.

“It will be a predominantly outward looking university with courses conducted in foreign languages, and based on the important work already being done by the people at the four institutions it will comprise,” he said.

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