Statement: The right to participate in decision-making safely belongs to everyone - OYY demands actions against harassment

Every student has the right to a safe study environment.

The University of Oulu has become an unsafe place for students to participate in its decision-making. Student representatives have faced bullying and harassment from inside and outside the university community. The Universities Act defines the right and position of student representatives to participate in universities decision-making. The student representatives are representing students and bringing their point of view to the university’s various committees and working groups.

The university collegium of the University of Oulu had a discussion about pressuring and harassment within the university community in its meeting on 31st of May. Unfortunately, the problem is not new. OYY approached the university a year ago and expressed its concern about the pressuring and mean-spirited comments our student representatives had faced, especially during campus discussions.

Every student has the right to a safe study environment. This is obligated by the Universities Act and the University of Oulu’s own models. On its website, the University of Oulu ”requires appropriate good conduct of all members of the university community and does not accept inappropriate treatment, bullying or sexual or gender-related harassment of any kind.” According to the university itself, the University of Oulu has zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. These goals have not been met with the student representatives.

We demand everyone working and studying in the university community to commit on creating a constructive and safe environment, in which everyone can participate,” comments the Student Union’s Specialist of Social Affairs Essi Leinonen.

At the center of university democracy is a tripartite system, where professors, staff and students are equally represented in the decision-making. The position of students is not easy, because it might be difficult to disagree with someone who can influence your studies. The fear of being bullied or harassed raises the threshold for expressing one’s own opinion even higher.

In the most blatant examples, even the individual’s motives for participating have been put in a questionable light. We hoped that the statement we made a year ago would have been a wake-up call for the community. Now is the time to take action”, says the Student Union’s Specialist of Academic Affairs Jere Tapio.

The work for equal and safer space is not just speeches and declarations. The university community has a lot of emotional topics that raise discussion. When having discussion, participants should focus on the topic at hand, not on the person you are having the discussion with. Confrontation and choosing sides destroys all the good that could be built in our community. Everyone is responsible for making the university community the place we want it to be; a place to experiment, learn and make mistakes. A place where you can feel that you are a part of the University of Oulu.


More information


Essi Leinonen

Specialist of Social Affairs

tel. 040 526 5821


Jere Tapio

Specialist of Academic Affairs

tel. 040 525 7821

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