REPRESENTATIVES of Greek students’ unions along with hundreds of university students carried out mobilisations last Thursday in Athens and Thessaloniki.
The three main demands of the students’ unions are the abolition of University Councils, an authoritarian body made up of professors and business’ representatives, the reintroduction of the Academic Asylum which prohibits police entering university grounds, and provision for free accommodation and food for all students. There are no university fees in Greece, except on post-graduate courses.
In Thessaloniki, students intervened at the meeting of the University Council to state their demands, but some professors and guards tried to prevent them doing so. Students then occupied the room where the meeting was to be held.
In the capital, Athens, Education Minister Aristides Baltas, a university professor, invited students into the main hall of the Ministry building to announce that he was preparing a government Bill which will abolish University Councils.
Baltas did not provide any specific pledges especially on the Academic Asylum, a right won by students with the Athens Polytechnic Uprising in 1973.
The majority of Greek families cannot meet household bills nor buy the food they require. Youth unemployment is officially 55 per cent and students cannot find any part-time jobs. When they do, they are being paid 400 euros a month (about £320) for an evening job.
While Education Minister Baltas was talking to university students, the Law and Order Minister Yannis Panousis proclaimed that under current law police have the right to enter university buildings even without the authorisation of a public prosecutor.