Despite hundreds of protests, some violent, in piazzas across the country, Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano signed the much-contested university reform law in December, after its final approval in the Senate. Napolitano did so despite ‘strong reservations,' as he wrote in a letter to prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The president said he hoped there would be further parliamentary debate on its most ‘critical' aspects, including its impact on student scholarships and grants and the new tenure-track system for aspiring professors. Education minister Mariastella Gelmini said the government would ‘take into account' Napolitano's concerns.
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