When people talk about university, the concepts of education and culture often come up (the Finnish word sivistys refers to both). These aspects are essential for the University of Jyväskylä as well – our mission is to be an influential university of education and culture. This effort extends beyond multidisciplinary research, broad-based knowledge of different issues, and scholarship. It also means interpersonal understanding and respect for others. We are a diverse community, where everybody should feel they are valued members.
Non-discrimination, equality and equal rights for everybody are fundamental values to the University of Jyväskylä. We want to promote these values in our own actions, in deeds and words. Sometimes words come before deeds, but they are nevertheless also important when we wish to communicate our values and thinking to the community.
Equality and non-discrimination are also essential elements of research and education. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Every person or group should be treated in a respectful and dignified manner. Listening, encouraging and giving room for the other person indicate appreciation and caring.
Promotion of non-discrimination is an issue that involves our whole community. We have the Equality Committee consisting of students and staff members, the Equality Plan as well as procedures for intervening in bullying and harassment. The university has designated persons whom you can contact in any cases of harassment. We also collaborate closely with the Student Union to resolve issues related to non-discrimination. Non-discrimination is also about seemingly minor actions: In September, we changed 150 WC facilities into unisex toilets.
We also have room for development: In a recent survey, students called for accessibility issues to be better taken into account, more prevention of bullying and harassment as well as training for equality and non-discrimination issues. To meet this call, courses for staff and students are now available.
In the development work on non-discrimination, there are no quick wins. It calls for long-term efforts. Fortunately, we have highly enlightened and active students who are an important supportive resource in advancing non-discrimination. Let’s keep working in accordance with the values we consider important.
I wish you all a safe and caring Pride week!
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