On April 25th, the city of Jyväskylä published a list of potential areas for adaptation as part of the city’s required economic adjustment of over 40 million euros. The list compiled by a consulting company includes cuts to sports, cultural, recreational, and educational services on a broad scale. In addition to cuts, the consulting firm proposes to increase service fees by raising, for example, public transportation ticket prices.
The Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä rejects the proposed cuts to services used by students. The proposed cuts to public transportation, as well as cultural and recreational activities, would have a significant negative impact on student well-being and the city’s attractiveness and retention of students.
“Increasing public transportation ticket prices would be a wet blanket on the face of students and not in line with the spirit of a student city. The service fees for recreational and cultural activities must also remain moderate, and students must be considered as a special group in pricing. The consulting firm’s calculations for increasing cultural service fees significantly reduce students’ opportunities for relaxation,” says Nuutti Ruotsalainen, the municipal policy representative of the JYY board.
The proposed cuts, such as those to sports services, would significantly impair students’ everyday lives and diminish Jyväskylä’s reputation as the sports capital of Finland. Increases in service fees for sports services would create inequality when the starting point should be that everyone has access to exercise and the opportunity to promote their well-being through physical activity. In addition to service fee increases, the list also proposes direct reductions and even closures of the city’s sports services.
“Many students live on the poverty line. Cuts to sports and recreational services would significantly harm students’ well-being. In particular, the cuts would have a significant impact on the poorest students. Jyväskylä has declared itself a student city in its urban strategy. Now is the time to show that Jyväskylä cares about its students,” says Ruotsalainen.
When involving residents in economic discussions, they must have the opportunity to contribute to balancing the economy through diverse means. JYY calls for a diverse discussion of ways to balance the economy and also a comprehensive and broad-based participation of students in the discussion.
Nearly a third of the city’s residents are students. This cannot be overlooked when evaluating the impact of different measures in adaptation discussions. The Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä hopes that Jyväskylä will continue to remain activ and develop services utilized by students.