New law school sparks accusations

September 1, 1995

The creation of a law school at Pandio University in Athens has become a point of contention for politicians and academics who accuse each other openly of serving vested interests.

Pandio University's ten-year-old efforts to establish a law school have met staunch opposition from the University of Athens and provincial universities which claim that another law school in the overcentralised area of the capital will reduce their ability to attract lecturers and professors to the provinces.

Recently, the education secretary George Papandreou hastily withdrew an amendment for the establishment of the law school at Pandio University only hours after it had been added to the education bill under discussion in the Greek parliament. The U-turn followed a sharp reaction by a group of MPs who threatened to vote against it.

Education under secretary Eleni Stephanou, a distinguished academic, sponsored the amendment claiming there had been wide consensus between politicians and academics. But Mr Papandreou appeared surprised by the reaction and claimed he had been "misled", fuelling rumours of conflict among top officials in the ministry.

Mrs Stephanou also claimed that the agreement of the Democretean University had been obtained by the MPs elected in the Macedonian and Thrace districts, who are accusing the under secretary of serving "personal" interests and hoping to accommodate her law lecturer son in the new school.

Mr Papandreou said the issue will be determined by the national education council proposed in the education bill; but the Pandio senate committee and the rector are threatening to keep the university closed for the new academic year unless they are allowed to set up the school.

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