The open letter co-signed by two former education ministers, two top-flight academics, and the former European Ombudsman calling for the abolition of Greece’s “improperly understood [university] asylum” brings to the limelight a problem that constitutes an affront an affront to academic freedom and democracy.
The letter states that the free movement of knowledge and ideas is inconceivable in an environment in which the free expression of thought is threatened.
In other words, the current improperly understood asylum negates the very concept of asylum.
Freedom of thought is no longer persecuted by state or religious authorities but rather by fascistic groups that wield power.
The time has come for all democratic parties to align behind the call of these five distinguished public figures and back a change of the university asylum law, which leaves open a free playing field for these fascistic forces to terrorise professors and teaching staff and even to commit violent acts, including physical assault.
It is no longer the academic community that must defend itself against state coercion as was the case in the past, but rather it is democracy that must defend itself against those who dispute it, who believe they can muzzle those with whose views they disagree.
Freedom must be restored immediately on university campuses.
It is impermissible for any member of the academic community – whether or students – to feel insecure.
Our universities must at long last breathe freely.