Universities

Letter from Athens: We don’t need education: fight song from Greek universities

Bravo, bravo for the old Notre-Dame? On Wisconsin? Do you fight, Southern California? Bow down to Washington? Boomer earlier, Oklahoma? Michigan winners? Boolah-Boolah? Fight fiercely, Harvard?

These American college fight songs have nothing to do with those of the University of Athens, or the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and just about every other Greek university.

These schools have one less brick in the wall because they were ripped out by anarchists who invaded campuses for weapons to throw at riot police, or they were taken over by agitators who want to build squats and hiding places or by students who have nothing to do.

We don’t need education

We don’t need thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave children alone

Hey, teachers, leave those kids alone

And so did teachers – and governments too – and the police, until New Democracy ended asylum on campuses that had become sanctuaries for criminals, traffickers of drugs and students who don’t need to graduate or even go to class.

With so much time to fill, a minority of them – shunned by the majority and fearful professors and cowering civil servants – vandalized property, wrote (probably misspelled) graffiti on walls or broke to create their own little space.

If you check the list of the best universities in the world, you will have to go very far down in agate police to find one in Greece considered worthy of attending, although the great part is that you can unleash without punishment, and take possession of buildings and classrooms. Hey, I’m late for Occupation 101!

It’s not just that governments, rectors and university officials are turning a blind eye to let students run the asylum, but it’s also allowing the wanton destruction of property that makes alleged colleges look like abandoned buildings.

Worse still is the damage done to the many accomplished scholars and professors who struggle to teach critical thinking to students – half of whom never graduated – and under Blackboard Jungle-like conditions.

Athens Law School professor Lena Divani has given up teaching law in an anarchic atmosphere and resigned, taking a vicious shot at school officials and including all governments and wailing prime ministers until ‘now.

She quit Facebook, so aptly in the age of social media, citing Yeats’ Second Coming as reminding her of what the so-called university had become, that “the best lack conviction, while the worst are full of ‘passionate intensity’.
Yes, except to study and therefore, as the poet said, “The center cannot hold”, and she did not want to be part of the widening gyre, of the chaos that descended on the Greek universities which have become mindless centers of nothingness.

His post featured a photo of a college hallway, with hateful slogans spray-painted on the walls, broken tables, trash and a locked dilapidated wooden double door that might as well open to hell – or maybe there are eternal students on the other side.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, a New Democracy veteran who was a student at Aristotle University in the 1980s, lamented what Greek universities had become as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that would go after offenders and students allowed to stay at school after damaging property. .

“I would like Greek universities to draw attention to the quality of their educators, their students and their contribution in the fields of research,” Schinas was quoted as saying by the official Greek news agency Athens-Macedonia.

Schinas, whose duties include European Union education policy, pointed to another Aristotle University graduate, pharmaceutical company Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, whose willpower produced the first life-saving COVID vaccines. .

Bourla, whose parents were Sephardic Jews, was born in Thessaloniki and became a veterinarian. He led the animal health division of Pfizer before moving to the United States in 2001 and rising to the top of his profession.

“I would like Greek universities to continue producing people like Albert Bourla, the president of Pfizer, for example, rather than people who destroy university equipment,” Schinas said.

Bourla earned his doctorate in biotechnology from Aristotle, where the occupiers built a squat in 1984 and were allowed to live there until Mitsotakis sent the cops to drive them off – despite protest from some students.

Bourla won the prestigious $1 million Genesis Prize for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, an honor bestowed annually for his professional achievements, contributions to humanity, and commitment to people. Jewish values.

Mitsotakis – who attended elite schools including the private College of Athens, Harvard and Stanford – never had to be at a Greek public university where chaos is a major subject seemingly required of nearly everyone.

But, as the saying goes, you don’t have to be a chicken to recognize a rotten egg when you see one, and after his government ended the asylum on university grounds, some 400 unarmed campus cops are currently trained.

They will be deployed to do what university officials did not want, to enforce law, order and decorum, but you can count on violent protests against them, as we have already seen against even the idea of control universities.

Mitsotakis said school rectors “have an obligation to the institutions they serve, to cooperate with the state so that these phenomena cease, once and for all.”

Don’t fight it fiercely.