ATHENS – Students protesting a government decision to get rid of so-called “eternal” students who haven’t gone to class in years – decades in some cases – interrupted the traditional blessing ceremony marking the inauguration of the new academic year at the University of Athens.
The eternal students, making up about 90 percent of all college students in Greece, are making no attempt to go to class, study, take exams or graduate but want to stay enrolled as students.
As a result of reforms passed a few years ago, the names of any students taking longer than 11 years to complete courses that should run to a maximum of five years will be scrubbed from university registers, said Education Minister Andreas Loverdos, the first to make good on promises to get rid of them.
On Sept. 1, a group of protesters stormed the hall where the ceremony was taking place carrying banners and shouting slogans against the decision.
Last week a group of about 50 protesters interrupted an address by incoming rector Theodoros Fortsakis as he officially took over from Theodosios Pelegrinis, shouting slogans against the measure as well as the new rector.