Discussion on university democracy lead to a request to appoint!

On Tuesday 25 August we published the statement The nomination decisions that violate university democracy must be amended on our website. In the statement, we took a stand on bypassing the university community regarding the appointments for a working group that works on the University’s management system.

After our statement, President Mari Walls tweeted out that she would arrange a meeting with TREY’s Chair, Annika Nevanpää, and the Chair of the Board of Tampere University, Ilkka Herlin. The meeting was held on Thursday 27 August and the discussions continued Friday 28 August. Lawyers Emilia Katajajuuri and Elina Kautto who work with the University’s management were also present in the discussions. In addition to the Chair, TREY’s educational affairs organisers Ville Jäppinen and Ella Meriläinen and Specialist in Educational Affairs Tiia Virtanen represented TREY in the discussions.

These meetings focused on both the demands of our statement and broader discussion on the importance of transparency and democracy in our University. We emphasised that the procedures regarding the founding of the working group and the appointments to it are a part of a larger problem. These cases are the reason why our community is going through a crisis of confidence towards the management.

We feel that our discussions have clarified this deeper problem for the University. According to the University, the need to improve transparency has been recognised, and plans to enhance it have been made. After our discussion, the management seemed to become aware of how grave the need for fast corrections really is.“, says the Chair of the Student Union, Annika Nevanpää.

As a result of these meetings, TREY was promised a request to appoint since all student representatives appointed to the working group had declined the position. We are grateful to all these students who held the line and defended the Student Union’s right to appoint student representatives. We will open the search for representatives to the management system working group next week so that the working group can begin operating in the beginning of September.

Receiving a request to appoint was the result we were hoping for. It is great that we and the University can continue the tradition where the Student Union appoints student representatives as is natural.“, says the Executive Board’s educational affairs organiser, Ella Meriläinen.

Other groups of the tripartite system did not receive a request to appoint, and the regulations for their work do not include a similar specified process for appointing representatives as the one of the Student Union. The process will be provided in a separate instruction from the President according to the University Regulations. We demanded the launch of this process in the discussions.

The current result is a victory for students but only the beginning of solving a deeper problem. The regulations under the University’s self-government, like University Regulations, are in dire need of corrections, so that having to remind about the existence of university democracy and the transparency of decision-making would not be necessary.” the Executive Board’s educational affairs organiser, Ville Jäppinen, comments.

TREY will continue to advocate for a more open and more democratic Tampere University.

The University’s bulletin can be found on Intra. Banner picture: Jonne Renvall, Tampere University