In the equality survey conducted by the Student Union of University of Tampere (Tamy) and the Student Union of Tampere University of Technology (TTYY) in 2018, just over 80% of the respondents felt that the atmosphere in the University was supportive of equality and non-discrimination. At the same time, however, more than 40% of respondents either did not know or were unsure how to act in a situation where teaching is not equal or non-discriminating. About 70% of respondents felt that student activities were equal, but about 30% felt that alcohol use affects the treatment a student receives.
This year, TREY is conducting its first own equality survey. Has the situation changed since 2018? What is the situation in our current University?
Promoting equality is a cross-cutting theme in all Student Union and University activities. The impact on equality must be assessed in all decisions. Paying attention to equality can ensure that our University is a comfortable and safe place for everyone to study, develop, and spend time. To carry out development, it is necessary to gather information about the current situation and the challenges that students face both in their studies and student activities. To support this work, TREY has the Equality Plan, which the equality survey also aims to update.
To address the problems, you need to be aware of them. Towards the end of 2020, harassment faced by female students arose in the media. When problems were discussed, they were reacted to and solutions were sought. Other equality challenges brought to TREY’s attention include e.g. the accessibility of University facilities, insufficient gender-neutral toilets and the fact that the change of name in the University systems is still not possible with one’s own announcement.
Current themes in the equality sector this year include updating TREY’s Policy Paper and considering what we record on it about equality. What kind of anti-racist work do we do and is the Student Union feminist? Our Council of Representatives will outline these issues, among other things. Our University’s new Equality and Non-discrimination Policy is also being prepared and we want to ensure that students appear in the policy as just as important a group as the University staff.
The best way for an individual to influence is to talk about the problematics and point out inappropriate behaviour. Everyone can create a more equal and safer space around them through their own actions. There is now an easy way to report problem areas – answer TREY’s equality survey! Each answer helps us to build up a picture of the current state of our community and plan measures to improve it. Equality does not always require big deeds, but it’s good to start small. You can start by answering!