An open letter on equality

The question of how the organizations in the Aalto University Student Union’s sphere of influence treat people of different genders deeply concerns the Aalto community and its values.

Dear Aalto community,

an important topic arose into discussion during the” other emerging matters” item in the latest Aalto University Student Union meeting. The Council expressed concerns over whether or not the Aalto community is equal or not. After the Representative Council meeting, the issue was up for debate in the national media, when Helsingin Sanomat magazine wrote an article on the activities of the wappu magazine Julkku. (Read the Helsingin Sanomat articles in Finnish here and here).

The question of how the organizations in the Aalto University Student Union’s sphere of influence treat people of different genders deeply concerns the Aalto community and its values. The topic is extremely challenging and difficult, and the threshold to open one’s mouth about it is high.

We at the AYY central office have worked on the issue for several weeks, preparing a preliminary discussion for the upcoming Representative Council meeting. We’ve also discussed the topic with associations that gender their activities. The material for the preliminary discussion has been sent to each and every Representative Council group, which ensures that the next meeting, held on the 19th of April, should give us a clear direction which to follow to solve the issue.

This is a very heated topic. The best possible solution will be found through open and constructive discussion, where each of us has a voice and a chance to have it heard. Due to the importance of the topic, it is extremely crucial to undertake the discussion in the highest decision-making organ of AYY. At the Council, we should be able to find the best, sustainable solution for our community and upcoming Aalto generations.

The Council groups have received questions on how and when, in their opinion, should AYY act in the issue of associations that deal with applicants based on gender and on whether or not AYY should redefine its policies regarding equal activities in its association regulation.

The discussion on equality has been ongoing in the Aalto community for a long time. The topic has been on the agenda again and again during the new millennium. The latest large discussion took place in 2015 and resulted in a survey of equality in the AYY association sphere (you can download the survey, in Finnish and in PDF, from this link). The survey was completed at the end of 2016 and it showed the expressed wish that the Student Union should act to promote equality.

Nowadays, the gender of a person should not have any relevance to which community they can belong to. So, the time has come to discuss the issue. A solution will be found, rest assured, and the first step towards it is the Representative Council meeting held on Thursday, April 19th.

Everyone wishes for a safer and better community for all of us, so let us undertake this discussion fairly and with respect to one another. I trust us all being capable of that.

Noora Vänttinen
Chair of the Board, Aalto University Student Union

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