The Council of the Student Union of Tampere University decided on the new policy paper in its meeting on 28 April. The previous policy paper was made during 2018 when TREY as an organisation had yet to be born. The policy paper is the highest guiding document concerning the Student Union’s advocacy. The members of the Student Union guide its activities via the elected Council of representatives, and the policy paper is the Council’s way of guiding the advocacy work and activities of the Student Union.
The update process of the policy paper started on 2020. The previous Council and the newly elected one were asked their opinions on the need to update the policy paper. After this, Council groups and individual Council members could comment the policy paper, and these comments were discussed in workshops at the beginning of the spring. The Board and Specialists of the Student Union then prepared the policy paper draft based on the Council’s comments and inputs. The Council discussed this policy paper draft in its preparatory meeting, which was the last chance to leave informal comments. After this, the Board made a new version of the policy paper, which it presented to the Council to be approved. The policy paper was discussed and approved in the April meeting of the Council, where the Council member had a chance to leave official proposed amendments to the paper.
48 proposed amendments were made to the policy paper in the Council’s meeting. During the whole spring, themes of equality were emphasized in the conversation surrounding the policy paper. The new policy paper states that TREY is a Student Union that pledges to intersectional feminism and antiracism. This part of the policy paper sparked the most discussion among the Council and different views were brought up by the Council groups. Even though the discussion was occasionally even heated, the Council later got a clear voting result on both topics. 34 Council members voted in favour of the Board’s motion, which included the term intersectional feminism, in turn 11 opposed. Likewise, 36 Council members voted in favour of the Board’s motion, which included the term antiracism, when in turn 4 opposed.
The longest chapter of the policy paper concerns higher education politics and naturally this chapter got the most proposed amendments. The most proposed amendments were made concerning the Board of the University and tripartite representation. After voting, the policy paper states that TREY supports balanced tripartite representation in University’s multi-member administrative bodies, excluding the Board of the University, to which the most qualified candidates should be elected without categorical exclusions. Other policies made concerning higher education politics were the treatment of students with families, matching the workload of courses to the given academic credits and the equal practices regarding the allowances for internships.
Even though the equality chapter sparked the most discussion, it was not the topic that divided the Council when it comes to the voting results. The tightest voting result was in the chapter concerning health and sports when the Council discussed the long-term future of the Finnish Student Health Service. That part of the policy paper got many proposed amendments. After voting, the policy paper reads that TREY pursues a gratuitous student health service organised by the FSHS. The change was approved with 30 votes, so one could conclude that the Council was not divided on any topic.
The most unanimous decisions were the usage of the term doctoral researcher when discussing doctoral students, proposed by Noora Tapio from Viva, and the usage of the term personnel in place of teaching personnel, proposed by Eemeli Lahtinen from Halli.
Even though the Council discussed many topics that had been discussed throughout the spring, the Council made pretty unanimous decisions, in the end. To me, this is a sign that our student community has grown into a more unified and conversational one along the years. Our student community wants to speak out and influence the inadequacies of our society.
– The Chair of the Council Nelly Kivinen (Vapaaboomarit)
The new policy paper has been sent to our translator and will be added to our website later this month.