Antiracism at the University requires that we listen to the members of our community, learn to recognise discriminatory attitudes and ways of acting while also changing these. We would now like to hear the university community’s experiences and thoughts about racism in the university community.
“In recent years, we have developed various channels at the university via which persons can report any offending behaviour or racist actions toward themselves or others,” says Vice Rector Marja-Leena Laakso, who is in charge of education at the University of Jyväskylä. “Such reports have been rare, but they do not necessarily tell the whole truth.”
Through this survey, we want to provide a channel for the whole university community, where people can share their own experiences with a low threshold. The survey responses will be forwarded to the Board of the Student Union as well as to the University’s Rectors and to the Non-discrimination and Equality Committee, who are committed to plan any necessary further actions. A summary of the survey results will be published and made available to the whole university community.
You can answer the survey anonymously. The survey is open until April 7.
“The university community must be an inclusive and safe place for everyone, and it is important that we commit ourselves not only to collecting information about our community’s experiences of racism, but also to developing our community’s practices based on the information we collect,” says Konsta Tarnanen, Chair of the The Student Union Board.
Racism may manifest as intentional and conscious acts between individuals and groups, or as unintentional racialising behaviour based on prejudices, or as structures and practises that give parts of the population advantages over others in a systematic manner. Racism may also manifest in structures, such as discriminatory institutional operating methods and processes, in which organisations, companies, and other institutions discriminate against certain groups of people either directly or indirectly. (See website of Non-Discrimination Ombudsman.)
“In a community of this size, there are certainly also undesirable things going on of which we are unaware,” Laakso explains. “Moreover, racist behaviour may also go unnoticed by a member of the majority. Personal experiences should always be taken seriously and any problems should be intervened in regardless of the specific form of racism. To be really able to solve problems, the University needs to recognise how and in what kind of situations racism occurs.”
In spring 2022, the University of Jyväskylä participated in the national “I am Antiracist” campaign, under the theme of working for an antiracist future. We also want the university community to build towards an antiracist future – please answer the survey and help us develop!
Finnish Institute for Educational Research