JYY denounces racist behaviour at sits fests

The way sits fest conventions impart equality – or inequality – to people has sparked discussion at JYY last week. JYY has been approached on the subject matter and we felt it important to issue a comment. The board of JYY took part in the discussion on racism that arose on Facebook last week:
“The Jyväskylä University student association has zero tolerance for racist or discriminatory behaviour during its activities. JYY strives to secure a truly equal and safe opportunity for every student to participate without coming across any sort of discrimination. A comfortable atmosphere entails the right for everyone to speak of discrimination they have experienced without fear of being branded. Racism and bullying do not have a place in an equal academic community.”

The student association chairperson Bella Forsgrén wrote about the subject on her blog on Friday. Several subject associations have also spoken out on the matter in social media. JYY takes responsibility of failing to support the subject associations regarding communication, because of which a unified front was left sorely missing and the subject associations received considerable negative attention in social media.

JYY should have immediately assembled the subject association representatives together to discuss the events and agree on the follow-up. This way we might have avoided a situation, where both individuals and subject associations have endured unreasonably widespread negative attention. JYY apologises for the situation and strives to improve in the future. Everyone standing up against racism is always acting correctly, and deserve no harassment or hatespeech.

JYY’s own sits fest has also seen its own share of racist language and for this we apologise. JYY’s sits fest conventions have sparked discussion and thus JYY is compiling guidelines for an equal sits fest. Organizations working with JYY will be advised to abide by these guidelines.

The student association does not tolerate discriminatory behaviour or hate speech of any kind. Approved by the body of representatives and fully in effect, there is an equality plan guiding JYY’s actions. JYY’s actions are also steered by constitutional law and the non-discrimination act. Finnish constitutional law defines everyone’s right to equal treatment. Finland is also committed to furthering equality both as a member of the EU as well as in accordance with several international pacts.

Racist language or hate speech shall find no asylum in freedom of speech. One cannot violate human rights, such as the right to safety and peace, in the name of freedom of speech.

Board of the  Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä