We publish a call to academics to sign a petition condemning the recent wave of police repression in Greek public universities
I kindly ask you to support the struggle of Greek University associations, students and staff, by signing this open letter.
Your support is essential.
Please, send us your current position and affiliation by sending a message to email@example.com.
OPEN LETTER – RESPECT THE GREEK PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES! We the undersigned are academics, university Professors and researchers from across the world who have watched with great alarm and concern the recent developments in the field of higher education in Greece. We write this open letter, first of all, to express our support for the associations of Greek University Academic & Administrative Staff and students, who have stated their clear and determined opposition to the so-called university reforms of the present New Democracy government. We have learned that Greek public universities – very poorly funded yet with remarkable international achievements due to the hard work and dedication of their academic and administrative staff – have been relentlessly slandered as “places of lawlessness” in the government aligned and controlled mass media. (About the government control and corruption of the Greek mass media, we note that in 2022 Reporters without Borders has given Greece, the cradle and symbol of democracy, the low ranking of 108 in the World Index of Freedom of the Press, the lowest of all EU countries and falling a full 38 places lower since last year.) We have learned that the government has pushed ahead, despite continuing protests, with its plan to create a special state police force to be stationed within the public universities. This measure will further erode university autonomy and deeply disrupt academic life and studies. Despite the partisan cheerleading of the mass media, we have learned from our Greek colleagues of the notorious attack by state police forces on student protesters at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in May, in which one student was hit at close range by a flash grenade fired directly at him. By sheer luck alone, the student was not struck dead. We have learned that, in this tense and deleterious atmosphere, the Minister of Education has proposed a new Bill on Higher Education that for the first time abolishes the democratic principle of the election of University authorities by the academic community and assigns their appointment to government-controlled bodies of ambiguous legitimacy. This new Bill deeply disrupts academic life in every aspect, imposing new hierarchical structures and remaking University education to conform exclusively to market principles and the functions of a business firm. We have moreover learned that the Minister of Education has allowed only two weeks (!) for discussion of the new Bill on the Ministry’s electronic platform, and that the Prime Minister intends to introduce this new Bill in the Greek Parliament and make it Law in a fast-track fashion in the coming weeks – even though the Association of Greek University Academic Staff has unanimously rejected it. Finally, we have learned that the Prime Minister has announced that he regards voting and applying this Law against the will of the academic community as one of the major “ideological battles” of the New Democracy government. Believing firmly in the humanistic value and progressive role of education in society, and understanding the detrimental effects of the state infringement upon academic autonomy through the imposition of extreme neoliberal doctrines on Education, we call on the Prime Minister and Greek government:
a) to cancel the permanent deployment of special police on Greek Universities and take every appropriate measure to bring peace to the Universities and create an atmosphere of dialogue with the academics, staff and students; and
b) to withdraw the unilaterally prepared Bill on Higher education, respect the opinion of the Greek academics and initiate a genuine dialogue on the problems and the future of the Greek Higher Education.
You can also sign the petition here