February 25, 2013
Today started out with our typical Monday routine. We all rushed around the house getting ready for our nine o'clock Greek class. We walked into class still half asleep and out of breath due to the fact that we can never seem to get out of the house on time on Mondays. Greek class felt like it dragged on for hours. We started learning words relating to family and discussed the topic of our final oral presentation. It is mind blowing that we are already discussing our final. It feels like we just landed in Athens and were cruising down the highway anxiously waiting to arrive at our home for the next three months. When class ended we all filed out of the room exhausted and lethargic looking and headed for The City of Athens Museum. We walked out of Hellenic American University and headed for the museum. We took the same road we walk at least once every day heading in the direction of the parliament building. Everyone became alert and wide awake as we entered the park on the college campus. We came across multiple people shooting heroin. There was no way to classify the people we saw sitting on benches scattered around the park. There were men and women of all ages. Some had ratty, ripped clothing while others were clean cut and looked like they could be on their way to class. One man was sitting on a bench hunched over with one hand holding a needle that was sticking out of his arm. None of us have ever seen anything like this before. We couldn't figure out why these people had decided to congregate in the park located on the college campus. It is a very busy park where students gather between classes. The park is also located across the street from a bus station where hundreds of people come and go during the day.
Completely in shock, we all scurried through the park as quickly as possible trying not to draw attention to ourselves. No one said a word until we rounded the corner onto the next street. The second we were on the main road it was like the flood gates opened. Everyone was rambling trying to over speak one another questioning did we really see what we thought we just saw. As we approached the museum we decided to drop the topic and discuss it at a later time. Throughout the museum I couldn’t help but keep thinking about why someone wasn’t stopping these people or at least removing them from the college campus.
Back in Rindge on the Franklin Pierce University campus you can hear students moaning and groaning about campus safety at any given moment. Today’s walk through the park gave me a whole new outlook and allowed me to gain a new level of appreciation for our campus safety. After doing some research I discovered that in 1973 students at the Athens Polytechnic protested and when the police stormed the campus they violently ended up killing about 23 students. This led to the The Freedom of Speech Laws which banned police from entering Greek Universities making them homes for criminal activity. “The ‘academic asylum’ rules were introduced to protect freedom of thought and expression on campus in 1982” (Grove 2011). Police could not enter onto University grounds without seeking permission from a prosecutor first. “Campuses have become havens for criminals, most of (whom) are involved in crimes such as drug trafficking, assault, theft, counterfeiting of DVDs and CDs, looting and vandalism” ( Stevens 2011). These laws still exist today which is why it is ok for people to sit around abusing drugs on college campuses. I know I have done my fair share of complaining about our campus security at Franklin Pierce but after seeing the beautiful park outside of our University here in Greece destroyed by heroin, I couldn’t be more appreciative for what campus safety does. I realize now that their job is not to get us in trouble but to keep our campus community safe from things like heroin. They are there to help us as students. Without our campus safety we would either have to face the police for every misconduct we make or our campus would be home to criminal activity like what I have experienced here in Athens.
I still do not understand why the Universities here do not have a program similar to our campus safety. This would allow students their freedom and give someone the authority to welcome the police when necessary.