Harassment, abuse and discrimination have no place in student culture

There has recently been a public discussion of student culture, particularly harassment and abuse, as well as discriminatory gendered structures. SYL and SAMOK take this discussion seriously, welcome it, and are extremely sorry with respect to all those who have experienced abuse, harassment and discrimination in student communities. Abuse, harassment and discrimination are not part of student culture and must be allowed no place in student communities.

It is imperative that we engage in an honest discussion of the structures of student culture, calling out and challenging discriminatory traditions and practices. Having a safe, inclusive community is in the interests of every student. It is also good that the wide-ranging discussion has included a call for an active approach to changing the practices and traditions related to student culture. Clear and determined action is needed in order to genuinely improve safety for all students. Measures to eradicate abuse, harassment and discriminatory practices must be embedded at local level and the entire student movement, including SYL and SAMOK, must be involved in this cultural change.

SYL and SAMOK support harassment liaison activities in student unions and cooperate with organizations such as Allianssi, an umbrella organization for the youth sector, to enable wide-ranging equality work. For example, Allianssi is working on an Equality Guide, which provides concrete tools for combating abuse and harassment. In addition, EHYT ry, among other organizations, has done genuinely valuable work on the KUPLA project, based on which a community-based, accessible and safe student culture has been developed.

The measures already taken are clearly not enough. Identifying, recognizing, and changing discriminatory structures requires commitment to norm-critical examination of student communities’ traditions from the perspective of equality and non-discrimination. It is paramount that all student communities commit themselves to eradicating abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Further information:

SYL

President

Tapio Hautamäki

044 906 5007

tapio.hautamaki@syl.fi

 

Social Policy Adviser

Touko Niinimäki

040 667 4191

touko.niinimaki@syl.fi

 

SAMOK

President

Anna Laurila

050 389 1000

anna.laurila@samok.fi

 

Hyvinvointipolitiikan asiantuntija

Hannele Kirveskoski

050 389 1015

hannele.kirveskoski@samok.fi

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