The measures that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and university rectors agreed to after the shocking and humiliating attack on the rector of Athens’ Economic University are necessary and should have been adopted earlier.
Universities must be guarded in some fashion. Not everyone should be allowed access to university buildings and the status of university student is not a license to vandalise property or to violently attack professors.
Yet there is a danger that after the shock of the most recent incident blows over one might witness a laxity in enforcing the new measures and a return to an exceptionally dangerous tacit toleration of the lawless acts that have been the bane of universities for years – until the next provocation, outcry, and “strict measures”.
In order to avert that danger and to definitively shut the door on fascistic behaviour it is not enough for the state to be decisive.
It has been demonstrated that the government’s abolition of university asylum has not solved the existing problems. That requires the active cooperation of the university community.
Freedom of expression should not include the declamation of manifestos by enraged members of student political factions at the assemblies of university faculties.
The freedom to be creative does not entail the operation of “self-managed hangouts” where black economy goods are hidden.
The freedom to disseminate applies to ideas and not the distribution of drugs and universities are not a refuge for anti-authority groups.
At the same time there must be reforms that will bolster meritocracy and combat the predominance of patronage while isolating those who want stagnant universities that are out of touch with the real world.