The Supreme Administrative Court of Greece, the Council of State, ruled on Wednesday that a university police force (university protection groups), which is (also) composed of special guards, does not violate the principles of academic freedom and full self-governance of higher education institutions.
According to the announcement, it was unanimously ruled that “no provision of Law 4777/2021 shows that individual freedoms are endangered”.
Moreover, the court referred to the public interest, noting that “the legislator considers that the public interest, which consists in guaranteeing public order and security but also in ensuring the unimpeded exercise of academic freedom, imposes policing on the premises of universities, following a series of milder measures of safety and protection of the staff and property of the universities, which were deemed inexpedient by the legislator to serve these purposes.”
The news follows resistance from many student and political circles to the idea of security on educational campuses, but the ongoing violence, criminal activity, including assault on university staff had forced the government to act.
Earlier in January this year, a day after an assault took place at the campus of Athens University, Greek police arrested six persons, who were attempting to bring down a wall to gain access to a space that was previously an in-campus squat.
The case concerning the assault against the academic was under investigation with authorities on the hunt for a group of ten suspects who stormed into the class wearing masks and physically attacked the academic.
In December 2018, Greek police announced they discovered a drug “ supermarket” that was operating inside the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, following the dismantling of a major drug circuit the previous day.
The drug organisation was using the University campus as an anchor point from where it was trafficking large quantities of substances, mostly cannabis, both within and around the campus.
It is estimated that the arrest of small-time dealers during previous police operations in the area enabled the authorities to trace leading members of the organization that was raiding the campus.