The University of Oulu pilots social media safety service for student representatives in administration

The University of Oulu has acquired the Someturva service for all student representatives in administration. Through this service, they can receive assistance and support, particularly in digital environments, for unwanted situations such as bullying, harassment, or other inappropriate behaviour they may encounter.

When a user of the service requests help, Someturva’s experts handle the case and provide recommendations for action and psychosocial first aid to address the situation.

“The right to safely express and influence opinions belongs to everyone. We want the University of Oulu to be an environment where people from different backgrounds and with different views meet and work together constructively and respectfully,” says Communications Director Marja Jokinen.

The University of Oulu has over a hundred student representatives in administration, influencing various levels from the university board to faculty degree programme committees. The Someturva service will be piloted for a year, after which the need for the service will be assessed.

The implementation of the Someturva service is about providing low-threshold and quick assistance. There is also an official procedure for dealing with bullying, harassment, and inappropriate treatment, intended for handling cases within the university community. Someturva offers advice and psychosocial support for challenging situations that arise from outside the university community as well.

At the University of Oulu, there have been experiences of pressure related to decision-making, which the Student Union has demanded be investigated. Cases have been handled, the reporting and investigation process has been reviewed, and practices are being developed. Addressing harassment is the university’s duty and requires new appropriate practices in the digital age.

“Difficult situations in online environments, such as various forms of harassment, can be burdensome. Simply knowing that help is close by alleviates the challenges related to advocacy work,” says Someturva’s Chief Legal Officer Kaisa Rissanen.

Student and Staff Wellbeing has Improved Positively, New Ethical Guidelines Clarify Expectations

Overall, student and staff wellbeing at the University of Oulu is at a good level and has improved positively. In the Kandi feedback survey, the question “I feel well at my university” received the highest rating from the University of Oulu respondents and is above the national average. In the joint staff satisfaction survey of universities, the results of the University of Oulu have climbed to be among the best in Finnish universities.

The University of Oulu is also finalising ethical principles, or the Code of Conduct, for the entire community. Both staff and student representatives have been involved in working on these common rules.

The ethical principles clarify the internal policies and expectations for behaviour in everyday situations for both staff and students. The shared principles aim to create clarity, promote an encouraging work environment and wellbeing, prevent conflicts, and promote equality and non-discrimination.

Last updated: 28.5.2024