In an average university, in any country of the Eurozone, the new academic year will start with scientific research. In Greece, however, the newly elected senate authorities are forced to face phenomena that can only be described as third world country situations, which were brought on by the Greek financial crisis.
Theodore Fortsakis, Rector of the University of Athens, stated that the institution has no funds due to equipment thefts exceeding 500,000 euros. “We are now in charge of a university that cannot perform even the minimum of its duties. There are no security guards, no administrative employees, no funds and a constant turmoil.”
Ioannis Golias, Rector of the National Technical University of Athens, complained that although he has been appointed Rector, hasn’t yet managed to enter his office, since the institution is under occupation. When the occupation ends, he will be faced with a dramatic decrease of the institution’s budget, which will not be enough to cover the university’s annual needs. Furthermore, the new Rector will also face the consequences of the institution’s administrative employees suspension, as a result of lost EU funds.
Athanasios Karambinis, Rector of Democritus University of Thrace, complained that the institution is in the worst state that it has ever been since its establishment. He spoke of the dramatic reduction of the institution’s budget but also the suspension of administrative employees. “We used to have 240 administrative employees but we are now missing 180 of those.” Karambinis stressed that he was also faced with the issue of central heating. “Last year, there were a few times when courses and exams were canceled because the auditoriums were freezing.”
Achilleas Zapranis, Rector of the University of Macedonia, said that most of the lectures are done standing up because there is no room for the students and professors to seat. There are no auditoriums that can fit the institution’s 5,800 students. “We usually have to break the class in two parts and repeat the lecture twice,” he said.
Georgios Kapsalis, Rector of the University of Ioannina, spoke of his issues with the building’s central heating, noting that last year students had to wear their coat and gloves during lectures, while professors used to bring radiators from their own homes. At the same time, he stressed the need to strengthen research programs and student welfare. “No student should be forced to discontinue their studies due to economic deprivation.”
Georgios Petrakos, Rector of University of Thessaly, complained that the first thing he learned when he was appointed to his post was that there was only one administrative employee in the Senate Secretariat because everyone else was retired. “There is the question of how the university will continue to operate smoothly. There have been times when I had to pull someone from another post and bring them to the Senate Secretariat.”