Together with the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK), the student unions Tamy, TTYY and Tamko were heard by the Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee on Tampere3 legislation and education cooperation.
Together, the university students voiced their concerns over the fulfilment of university democracy in the process as well as the fact that the university community was ignored in the election of the new Board of Tampere University Foundation. The role of the University of Applied Sciences in the merger was also mentioned. While the new possibilities created by the education cooperation were discussed in the Committee, the differences between the university and university of applied sciences degrees were also taken into consideration along with the maintaining of these differences after the legislation on higher education cooperation.
”It was quite thrilling, it is seldom that you get to take a student issue all the way to the Parliament!” says Veera Kaleva, Tamy’s Specialist in Academic Affairs. “The student cooperation has been excellent this year, and that manifested itself in the Committee hearing as well. Hopefully our message was heard and we will get to reap the rewards of the supervision of interests before the consideration in the Parliament ends!”
The statements by all the actors heard by the Parliament committees will be published after the committee consideration. A translated summary of Tamy’s statement is included in this article. The statement can be read in its entirety in Finnish on Tamy’s website.
Summary of Tamy’s statement
- The Student Union Tamy supports the Tampere3 cooperation, and sees that at its best, it enables flexibility in studying across different disciplines and sectors and increases research cooperation between the disciplines as well.
- According to Tamy’s views and the statement by the constitution expert Kaarlo Tuori, the process of appointing the new University Board does not meet the demand of university autonomy specified in the Constitution and the Universities Act, but ignores both students and personnel in the election of the Board.
- According to Tamy’s views, the board of the new foundation university should be appointed in a manner that observes the Universities Act and the autonomy stipulated in the Constitution even in a transitional phase. The newly appointed Board of the Tampere University Foundation will also be the first Board of the new University, and in the following years, it will make important decisions regarding the University’s activities (e.g. structure and strategy).
- Tamy responds positively to increasing education cooperation, but if the cooperation is enabled in such extensive manner, the Student Union recognizes the issues related to the retaining of the different roles of universities and universities of applied sciences. Additionally, the proposition includes challenges regarding the students’ legal protection.