Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced three initiatives towards dealing with incidents of lawlessness at the country’s universities, in a video conference he held on Monday with rectors and key ministers.
The e-meeting was held following an October 29 incident when a group of some 15 hooded individuals stormed the private office of the Athens University of Economics & Business’ rector, caused extensive damages throughout the office, and also forcibly hung a sign from the man’s neck which read ‘Solidarity with sit-ins’, posting the pictures across the internet.
The Greek Premier called the act a “cruel insult to democracy, to human dignity and to our entire culture,” and said “the time has come for some bolder decisions and some immediate action.”
Speaking with the rectors, with Education Minister Niki Kerameus and with Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, among several more key officials, Mitsotakis observed that the steps needed to tackle any such phenomena is the better guarding of university premises and changes in methods of access to these, as well as the toughening of penalties against offenders who vandalize them.
The government will therefore immediately take steps along these paths of action, starting with the founding of a security force specifically trained for the university environment, which will be based at universities and will request the police’s assistance if needed.
The second step is the upgrading of security measures at universities, which may affect a broad range of issues: methods of entrance, lighting and fencing and the use of surveillance cameras.
The final step, underlined the Prime Minister, is the tightening of criminal law for offenses committed at universities.
Minister of Education Niki Kerameus said the proposals must be adapted to the peculiarities of each institution and stressed that “the repulsive images from the incident at the University of Economics & Business mobilizes society even more.”
Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis said that a comprehensive plan for the protection of universities will soon be submitted by his ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Education and the academic community.