Uniarts Helsinki responds to the Student Union’s statement: “We want to support discussions that bring together a plurality of voices and perspectives”

On Thursday, 23 November, Uniarts Helsinki’s Student Union published a statement where the Student Union expressed its hope for continued open dialogue within our university (link to the statement). Rector of Uniarts Helsinki Kaarlo Hildén, too, highlights the need to develop forums for having discussions on social issues and for making different views come together. The university invites the Student Union and the entire university community to join us in reflecting on how we could create better circumstances and forums for discussing difficult social issues.

“Supporting the wellbeing of students and staff is very important for the university. In a university community of over 3,000 people, everyone has the right to express their various perspectives and to boldly take a stand. At the same time, we must be able to secure a sufficiently peaceful and safe learning and work atmosphere to each and every member of the community. We must foster a community where everyone can experience inclusion and respect regardless of their background and political views. Our internal discussions have highlighted the need to have a clearer mutual understanding on which forums we should use for having diverse internal discussions within the university community and which ground rules we should follow. We should establish a clearer framework for this,” Rector Hildén says.

In its statement, Uniarts Helsinki’s Student Union encouraged students to be active and, at the same time, reflect on the most effective ways to advocate.

“I agree with the Student Union’s view. The whole idea of the university institution is built around open, diverse and critical discussions that serve as the basis for advocating societal development. Creating change requires not only in-depth insight into the matter itself, but also resources to advocate and sufficient information on the correct advocacy methods. We encourage our students to pursue voluntary activities, civic participation as well as activities in the Student Union, for example – within the limits of their energy reserves and in accordance with their personal interests,” Hildén says.

Uniarts Helsinki condemns all violence, especially war crimes and terrorism against civilians. The ever more inhuman civilian suffering in the Middle East must come to a stop. Uniarts Helsinki also wants to remind people that even amid a crisis, we must treat all members of the community with appreciation and respect their right to their opinion. We do not condone any sort of racism, injustice or condemnation of entire groups of people.