In June, the Board of Tampere University decided to establish a three-pronged working committee to formulate a report about the need for changes in the University’s rules of procedure and management system. An article about this was published in the University’s Intra. The Board of the University held a meeting in August without the university community’s knowledge, and in that meeting, chose the members of this working committee based on a proposal from the President.
The Student Union of Tampere thinks that the working committee in itself is extremely useful and desired. However, the decision to appoint representatives for this committee without a hearing from the community is shocking from the point of view of transparency and democracy at the University. This decision is against the spirit of the Universities Act, and by making it, the University’s management has walked all over the whole university community.
According to the Universities Act, the special task for Student Unions is to name student representatives to committees. We students interpret the spirit of the Universities Act as a right to appoint our own representatives in this situation as well. We demand that every group that is represented in the committee is allowed to appoint their own representatives. Previously, the collaboration between the administration of Tampere University and the Student Union has gone smoothly through official requests to appoint. Now this was not the case.
Discussion on the openness of decision-making and building trust has been around since the merging of the Universities. The agenda and minutes of the University Board meetings have yet to be published and there was no paper trail of the meetings leading to the nomination of the working committee before last Friday, the 21 of August. Tampere University Foundation’s Board’s presentation and meeting procedures state that these documents should be published in the University’s Intra.
The way in which reforming the management has begun has been neither open nor communal. The President’s appointment decision on the composition of the working committee is an insult to democracy and good governance. The chosen representatives of Faculty Councils are trusted by the community in the positions they have initially been elected to. Formulating a report on the need for changes in the rules of procedure and management system is not a task that pertains to the Faculty Council members’ job descriptions.
According to the Universities Act, students have the right to appoint their own representatives. The President or the University Board cannot evaluate in our place who would represent us the best. The way that this process has been handled radiates a lack of valuation towards the university community.
We demand that the working committee does not begin to operate before the composition of the group is formed in a way that respects communally agreed rules and the spirit of the University Act. Our university community cannot handle any more decisions made behind closed doors. Now is the time to work openly and together!
Chair of the board Annika Nevanpää (firstname.lastname@example.org, 050 3612845)
Board member, educational affairs Ella Meriläinen (email@example.com, 044 7293775)