Student unions AYY, HYY, ISYY, JYY, SHS, TYY, TREY, VYY, ÅAS, OYY, LTKY and ArtSU are dismayed at the state of the ongoing racism debate in society and demand concrete measures to eradicate racism. Racist statements made by people in high places have shown what is wrong with racism debate: people targeted by racism are not listened to, racist comments are diminished or taken as a joke, and the debate gets sidetracked. We need anti-racist actions, understanding and solidarity.
We agree with the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) that Finland should be a safe place to live and study. Finland is one of the most racist countries in Europe and has taken a step backwards in eradicating racism. Racist atmosphere and the immigration policy of the government programme undermine the unequal status and difficult situation of many students.
Racism normalises society that lives off hate, fear and discrimination. The power elite’s statements belittling racism and the lack of genuine anti-racist measures further increase conversational inequality in society. Raising awareness of the thoughts and experiences of people facing racism is of paramount importance in actively eradicating racism. The responsibility for tackling racism must be shared.
Institutions have the power and opportunity to influence the direction of racism debate and act in an anti-racist way but have failed to do so. Many have been silent. The silence around the issue and the lack of concrete measures show how complex and challenging the topic is. In the debate on racism, silence is not about avoiding conflict but about accepting racism. It is a privilege not to talk about or address racism.
We no longer want to hear empty talk; we demand anti-racist action from decision-makers.
Aalto University Student Union (AYY)
Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY)
The Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY)
The Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä (JYY)
The Student Union of Hanken School of Economics (SHS)
The Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY)
Student Union of Tampere University (TREY)
The Student Union of the University of Vaasa (VYY)
The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University (ÅAS)
Student Union of University of Oulu (OYY)
The Student Union of LUT University (LTKY)
University of the Arts Student Union (ArtSU)