OYY: Allow student representatives to work in peace
At the turn of the year, the term of office for new Hallopeds, as in Student Representatives, began. The Student Union of the University of Oulu encourages every committee in the university to start a dialogue on respectful atmosphere, appropriate conversation and situations in which external influencing takes place.
Internal dialogue within the university community is important so that the whole community has their voices heard in decision-making. Hallopeds are the voices of the students in this decision-making, and we hope that the students will make use of this by expressing their wishes and concerns to them. Hallopeds’ influencing possibilities and know-how have been belittled on social media, and their motives have been questioned before they’ve even started working. Inappropriate comments take up space from democratic conversation that is important for the community. This does not contribute to a good conversation atmosphere in the university community, but may instead diminish the students’ motivation to take part in decision-making on issues that concern them.
In a committee, the students work with faculty members, some of whom might be in positions of authority over the Student Representatives. It is particularly important for them to use discretion when discussing committee-related issues with the Student Representatives. A student might find it difficult to express disagreement with e.g. their own thesis supervisor or other faculty member.
It is important to maintain democracy in the university community, and Student Representatives are an integral part of it. The threshold to apply to be a Student Representative must be made lower, not higher. Women in particular feel unmotivated to become involved in political activity due to attempted oppression and downright harassment (1). This phenomenon can’t happen again in the university community. Representing in a university committee might be the first concrete influencing role for a student. Their motivation shouldn’t be diminished with oppressive and inappropriate conduct. Their right to take part in decision-making should be respected. Active students are needed to make students’ voices heard on different levels of decision-making.
The Student Union supports Hallopeds on all matters related to Student Representative activities. However, each Halloped forms their opinion on the matters at hand independently. In challenging situations, Hallopeds can always turn to the Student Union for support and advice in resolving the situation.