AYY tackles racism in its community – technical students’ songbook withdrawn from the market
Aalto University Student Union has withdrawn the songbook from the market due to racist expression. The lyrics of the Teekkari Hymn have been changed in the past and the new lyrics are in common use. However, a mention of the old lyrics has been preserved in the book to this day. The offensive lyrics are not in line with the values of the Student Union. A revised edition of the songbook will be published, in which the old lyrics of the hymn are no longer mentioned. In the future, AYY will not print or order any publications that contain racist or otherwise offensive expressions.
”We are extremely sorry that this issue has not been addressed previously. We have made a mistake. We do not want to repeat discriminatory, racist or offensive actions in our publications, events or other activities. It is our duty to build a more equal student community that does not include such activities. We are aware of the problems and develop ways to intervene more effectively in the future,” says AYY’s Executive Director Elina Nieminen.
In connection with the recent racism debate, Aalto University Student Union expressed its view on social media: AYY does not accept racism or other forms of discrimination and actively aims at working for a more equal student community. AYY’s social media publication sparked an important discussion about the racism experienced by students in the Aalto community, and the presentation of Teekkari Hymn in the songbook was brought up as a specific example.
”Discriminatory, offensive or racist expressions are not part of the student culture or the culture of technical students. The Teekkari Section also takes this issue very seriously. Despite the printed text, we have not taught new students the old lyrics of Teekkari Hymn for years, and the original lyrics are no longer in active use. We are aware that equality work is not yet complete, and we work with volunteers on a daily basis for a more equal student community,” says Member of AYY Board Christian Segercrantz who is in charge of community affairs.
AYY has worked for equality in recent years and aimed at eradicating racism from the Aalto community with the help of harassment contact person services and equality training for associations and tutor students.
In addition to addressing the songbook issue, Aalto University Student Union is currently preparing additional measures to promote equality and develop anti-racism in the Aalto community. AYY will create security principles for its events, which are communicated in connection with each event. All events have zero tolerance for all forms of harassment, racism, bullying and discrimination. However, more work needs to be done to promote anti-racism in the student community.
Elina Nieminen, Executive Director / +358 50 520 9415
Olli Kesseli, Chair of the Board / +358 40 688 7711