Uniarts Helsinki’s response to the Student Union’s statement on eradicating harassment

Uniarts Helsinki agrees with the Student Union of Uniarts Helsinki (ArtSU) on the importance of preventing and averting harassment, discrimination and unequal behaviour. Uniarts Helsinki takes harassment cases seriously and is committed to creating a safe environment for all its students and staff members. Uniarts Helsinki finds the Student Union’s suggestions for measures good and feasible for the most part.

The Student Union of Uniarts Helsinki (TaiYo) published 7.6. a statement in which the student union demands concrete actions from the University of the Arts to eradicate harassment.

The university is committed to the following measures to eradicate and prevent harassment: 

1. Clear reporting platforms: Students are given clear information on whom or where they can confidentially contact if they experience or observe harassment. 

2. Training and increasing awareness: Staff and students are offered training on how to address harassment and what constitutes unacceptable behaviour. The goal is to give everyone a shared understanding of the fact that no form of harassment is acceptable. 

3. Proactive measures: Reacting to inappropriate behaviour must not happen only when students point it out. Uniarts Helsinki commits to proactive, everyday activities to prevent and avert harassment. Each member of the Uniarts Helsinki community has the responsibility to maintain a positive work and learning environment and also the right to be treated appropriately. 

In the statement, the Student Union pointed out the importance of anonymous reporting. Uniarts Helsinki is aware that it may be difficult to report misconduct using one’s own name. However, it is not necessarily possible to process anonymous reports, for example due to the fact that the university cannot take labour disciplinary measures or disciplinary measures involving a student based on anonymous feedback or contact. Anonymous reports also do not make it possible to carefully look into the problems, which is why they do not lead to the desired changes in the individual person’s behaviour.  

Due to these reasons, the university does not find it possible to advance the establishing of an anonymous feedback platform for reporting inappropriate treatment. Uniarts Helsinki highlights that information on a case is always provided only to the persons whose duty it is to handle the matter or who may be able to provide further information on the matter. When dealing with these cases, the privacy of a student or students is protected by not disclosing their identity without a legitimate reason. 

Uniarts Helsinki wants to thank the Student Union of Uniarts Helsinki for their quick reaction to the matter. The topic was discussed in the students’ wellbeing group on 14 June. The discussion will continue in the joint workshop of the University Board, Collegium and Student Union in October. 

Uniarts Helsinki will engage in a closer dialogue with the Student Union so that we can, for example, think of ways to promote equality and non-discrimination. It is extremely important to work together in building an equal and safe learning environment, where every student can focus fully on their studies without any fear of harassment or discrimination.