Greece Repeals Academic Asylum Law

Article excerpt

IN AUGUST 2011 the Greek government repealed a law that prevented police from entering college campuses. Commonly referred to as "academic asylum law," the ban required university officials to grant officers permission to step foot on school grounds. The law was enacted in 1982 as a means to protect freedom of expression in academia. At the time. Greece had just emerged from a military dictatorship and the new law provided students a safe haven to share ideas and views. More recently, critics (academics and politicians) had argued that the law was unnecessary in Greece's modern democracy and that it encouraged disruptive behavior on campus because students don't fear any repercussions, The law was repealed as Greece struggled to adopt austerity measures intended to combat d financial crisis.

In a diplomatic cable from 2009 addressing the possible repeal of the law, the U.S, ambassador to Greece, Daniel V. Speckhard, wrote that students had attacked several professors in recent years, assaulting faculty on school grounds and even in the middle of a lecture. Speckhard also claimed that classes and even semesters had been cancelled because of disruptive behavior, resulting in the average university student spending six years to finish a four-year degree. …