In only a few weeks, we will be voting in the parliamentary elections. HYY is actively involved in election advocacy work, looking after students’ interests. HYY’s three main election themes for the 2019 elections are funding for education, students’ subsistence and taking concrete action in environmental issues.

‘Resources for universities must be secured for the future, so that future generations would also be able to carry out high-quality research and receive competent teaching. Education must be free for all students and genuinely accessible. Skills of the future are funded now. For this reason, we are also supporting the #ResearchMatters (#SiksiTiede) campaign of the University of Helsinki’, states Member of HYY’s Board Anna Lemström, in charge of election advocacy work.

The social security reform has been promoted in the parliament for a while, and there is a great desire to reform social security comprehensively across party boundaries. An essential part of the reform is how it takes students into account – whether students are seen as the experts of the future or a necessary evil for our nation. Currently, students are outside the reform.

Students have been the biggest losers of economic policy this decade. Students’ subsistence must be secured, and they must be able to focus on their studies full time. In practice, the study grant needs a substantial increase to secure students’ subsistence and reduce the emphasis on loan in student aid. Student loan and work should be options for students, not necessities. At the same time, general housing allowance must be made a personal benefit, with the income of the people you live with not affecting the amount of allowance.

‘Students are a diverse group whose needs do not fit into a single mould. For this reason, basic income would, in the long term, be the model that allows us to respond to different situations in life as broadly as possible. At the same time, sudden changes in students’ situations in life, for instance, would no longer cause dramatic reductions in their subsistence’, Lemström continues.

This year’s parliamentary elections can, for good reason, be considered climate elections. Climate change is one of the greatest global problems of our time, and to solve it, we need to find concrete measures to ensure that the planet is kept habitable for future student generations. HYY demands the cities of the Capital Region to strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and for both their energy use and urban planning to support this objective.

‘We are drawing up new guidelines for our society in these elections. I hope that these guidelines will steer students towards 2010s in which their years of studying are not expected to be miserable but inspiring and empowering. Towards 2010s in which preparing for the future does not need to mean knowing the location of the nearest breadline but being prepared to find solutions for the climate crisis, for instance’, Lemström concludes.

Kela has posted the preliminary decisions on the repayment of student aid. If you have exceeded your income limit, you may have received a preliminary decision on the repayment of student aid from Kela. The current income check concerns 2017, and it does not cover general housing allowance.

Review the preliminary decision you received

As the name suggests, this is only a preliminary decision – Kela does not know what part of the year’s income you have earned during a period of active study. We especially advise you to review the preliminary decision if you have started your studies, graduated or used up your entire eligibility period for student aid in 2017. If you exceeded your annual income limit at some other time than during a period of active study, the amount that needs to be repaid may be reduced or you will not have to repay anything at all. We thus recommend that you check the preliminary decision you received and request a review of the decision from Kela by 21 March 2019 if necessary. The request for review can be free-form.

The repayment schedule is negotiable

If the preliminary decision is correct and you have exceeded your income limit during a period of active study, you can and should negotiate on the repayment with Kela. You can, for instance, suggest a change of due date or payment in instalments. Further information is available on Kela’s website.
 

Any further questions, do you need help?

HYY’s specialist is on call at the Guidance Corner at 1–3 pm on 1 March. You can also contact the specialist by phone or email.

Hannele Kirveskoski

Specialist (subsistence, international affairs)

050 543 9608

hannele.kirveskoski@hyy.fi

WhatsApp/Telegram: 050 543 9608

The implementation plan of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Vision 2030 road map was published at the end of January. It is good to see that the intention to develop the wellbeing of the staff of higher education institutions is included in it: one of the road map’s development programmes aims at making higher education institutions the best workplaces in Finland.

In addition to personnel, attention should be paid to students’ wellbeing. We live among the conflicting pressures of several factors: besides completing studies, we should be securing our subsistence, creating networks to help with our future employment and saving the world. No wonder that research indicates that one third of us have problems with mental wellbeing.*

Unfortunately, the results of the Vision 2030 work are also likely to cause our wellbeing to suffer. The new funding model for universities was prepared under the vision, and the model takes effect in 2021. The funding model rewards universities based on the number of students graduating from them as well as how the students graduate. Universities will receive the most funding from the state for students who graduate in target time, whereas they receive the least funding for students completing their second degree.*

This means that universities will soon have new financial incentives to get students out of them as soon as possible. This will surely influence everyday studying a lot, too. In the Student Union, we hope that student-friendly methods would be used to encourage the completion of degrees – we are in need of investments in our wellbeing, not sticks. Appropriate investments would include sufficient study psychologist services, flexible methods of completing courses and a study environment free of bullying. High-quality study counselling also helps us graduate. Thankfully, development work for this has already been begun at the University of Helsinki – a good example of this is the students’ own Guidance Corner, which opened this February!***

Besides the promotion of study counselling and student wellbeing, another issue that is becoming topical for higher education institutions is making the changing of fields of study smoother. As the state is making it more difficult to complete a second degree through the funding model for higher education institutions as well as the quotas for first-time applicants, it is important for students to be able to change direction during their studies. Few of us know what we really want to study or what kind of job we want when we are older at the time of applying for our first student place.

Let us work together as a university community to ensure that we at the University of Helsinki adapt to the funding model in as student-friendly a way as possible!

Aleksi Rytkönen
The writer is one of three persons in charge of educational policy on HYYs’ Board.


* The FSHS’s Finnish Student Health Survey 2016: http://www.yths.fi/en/healthsurvey2016.

** Press release by the Ministry of Education and Culture on the new funding model for higher education institutions, 17 January 2019 (in Finnish), https://minedu.fi/artikkeli/-/asset_publisher/korkeakouluille-uusi-rahoi..., and a statement on the matter published by student unions in autumn 2018: https://hyy.helsinki.fi/en/content/high-quality-competences-and-multidis....

*** The students’ own Guidance Corner opened in the Kaisa House in February 2019. In the corner, students are provided with low-threshold guidance and advice related to issues such as wellbeing, job-seeking and digital skills.
https://guide.student.helsinki.fi/en/article/guidance-corner

 

 

 

 



Call for applications for the financial positions of the Student Union and HYY Group

The Board of the Student Union is looking for active students interested in and familiar with the Student Union’s finances for the boards of HYY Group and Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd. Members of the boards act as the representatives of HYY’s members in the companies’ administration.

The central criteria in the selections are the individual’s commitment to the position and experience of HYY Group’s operations. We require you to have readiness to focus on the task and the courage to be active in the board. The administrative language of HYY Group is Finnish, and the applicants are expected to be able to work in Finnish. Training will be organised for those applying for the financial positions on the 26th of February, and participation in this training is considered an advantage, particularly if you have not previously acted in the financial positions of HYY or HYY Group. The term of the boards is from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

 

Open positions:

HYY Group’s Board

HYY Group is a responsible, student-owned corporate group with solid financial standing, operating in real estate, restaurant, accommodation and investment business. Our next few years are defined by significant construction projects in the central areas of Helsinki, and we aim to be a pioneer in corporate social responsibility and ethicality in the entire Finland.

HYY Group’s Board acts as the board of the Group’s parent community, HYY’s operating finances, and as the Board of HYY Group Ltd and its corporate group. The Board’s duties include preparing the target budgets for properties owned by the Student Union as well as financial statements and property affairs that are decided by the Representative Council. The Board also oversees the implementation of real estate finances and approves property investments under its jurisdiction. The Group’s Board further directs and supervises the Student Union’s investment activities. In 2017, the Group’s turnover was €31.1M and, at the end of the year, it had 173 employees.

 

Applying to become a member of HYY Group’s Board (5 student members):

Pre-assignments:

1.       Make a SWOT analysis of HYY Group’s Lyyra project and discuss how the Board of HYY Group should take the conclusions of your analysis into account in its operations. (1 page)

2.       The Student Union’s objective is to have no membership fees by 2025. What does this mean for the Group’s operations? (1 page)

3.       What do you consider a suitable equity ratio for HYY Group? Justify your answer. (0.5 pages)

 

Instructions for applying to the Group’s Board:

Pre-assignments, free-form applications and CVs addressed to HYY’s Board should be submitted electronically to hallinto@hyy.fi. The applications of candidates recommended by Representative Council groups are collected and sent by the chair of the Representative Council group. The maximum length of the application and CV is 2 pages. The applications should arrive by 11.59 pm on Tuesday the 5th of March. Late applications will not be considered. The selection working group will process all application documents anonymously.

 

The Board and chair of the Board of Ylioppilaslehden kustannus Ltd

Ylioppilaslehti is one of the oldest student magazines in the world, with one of the widest circulations, too. Ylioppilaslehti is a unique institution in the Finnish media field and deals with societal and cultural phenomena before others have realised they exist.

The Board of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd handles financial matters related to the publishing and marketing of the magazine and proposes the annual target budget and financial statement for the Board of the Student Union to approve. The turnover of the company is around €0.7M. The administrative language is Finnish, and applicants are expected to be able to work in Finnish.

Applying to become the chair of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd:

·         Pre-assignments for the chair:

1.       How do you see the role of the chair of the Board of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd in relation to the Board, the editorial staff and the owner? (1 page)

2.       Why and how should Ylioppilaslehti expand to cover the whole of Finland? (1 page)

 

Applying to become a member of the Board of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd (3–7 student members):

·         Pre-assignment for members of the Board:

1.       Why and how should Ylioppilaslehti expand to cover the whole of Finland? (1 page)

 

Pre-assignments and free-form applications addressed to HYY’s Board should be submitted electronically to hallinto@hyy.fi. The applications of candidates recommended by Representative Council groups are collected and sent by the chair of the Representative Council group. The maximum length of the application is 1 page. Applicants for the chair’s position are expected to also submit a CV with a maximum length of 1 page. The applications should arrive by 11.59 pm on Tuesday the 5th of March. Late applications will not be considered. The selection working group will process all application documents anonymously.

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HYY emphasises diversity and equality in its activities. We hope to receive as many applications as possible from people with different backgrounds. Members of HYY Group’s Supervisory Board cannot act as a member of HYY Group’s Board at the same time. Training will be provided for the selected individuals at the beginning of their term.

 

Further information:

Claes Bergh, member of the Board of HYY with responsibility for the HYY Group
claes.bergh@hyy.fi
050 595 0327

HYY is looking for chair for the HYY Group’s Board

HYY Group is a responsible, student-owned corporate group with solid financial standing, operating in real estate, restaurant, accommodation and investment business. Our next few years are defined by significant construction projects in the central areas of Helsinki, and we aim to be a pioneer in corporate social responsibility and ethicality in the whole of Finland. In 2018, the Group’s turnover was €33.5M and, at the end of the year, we had 159 employees.

HYY is looking for a chair for HYY Group’s Board. Applicants for the position should have strong experience of HYY Group’s owner administration and vision for developing business operations. Serving in the position successfully requires interactive leadership skills and the ability to challenge things constructively and maintain a forward-reaching dialogue with operative management. To achieve HYY Group’s objectives, the applicant must have vision for corporate social responsibility and the Group’s role in the city.

HYY Group is owned by students, which is why the chair of the Board is required to have the ability to cooperate with the owner and understanding of the Student Union’s operating finances. We consider experience of corporate activities outside the Student Union an advantage.

The work is very independent at times and requires a moderate amount of time set aside for it. Remuneration is paid for the position. In addition to leading the Board, the chair’s tasks include chairing the committees of the Group’s Board and presenting issues for the general meeting to process.

HYY Group’s Board acts as the Board of the Student Union’s property finances and as the Board of HYY Group Ltd. The Board prepares the target budgets for properties owned by the Student Union as well as financial statements and property affairs that are decided by the Representative Council. The Board also oversees the implementation of real estate finances and approves property investments under its jurisdiction. The Group’s Board further directs and supervises the Student Union’s investment activities. The administrative language of HYY Group is Finnish, and the applicants are expected to be able to work in Finnish. More information on HYY Group is available at yhtyma.hyy.fi.

The term of the chair of HYY Group’s Board lasts from April 2019 to March 2020. The Student Union Board elects the chair of HYY Group, who should be a current or former member of the Student Union. Free-form applications along with CVs should be addressed to HYY’s Board and sent to the following address: Student Union of the University of Helsinki, Mannerheimintie 5 A, 2nd floor, 00100 Helsinki. Alternatively, the applications can be sent electronically to hallinto@hyy.fi. The application must have arrived by 11.59 pm on Monday the 25th of February. Some of the applicants will be invited to interviews held on Friday the 8th of March 2019 on the Student Union’s premises (Mannerheimintie 5 A, 2nd floor). Those invited to the interviews will be notified about it on Monday the 4th of March 2019.

HYY emphasises diversity and equality in its activities. We hope to receive as many applications as possible from people with different backgrounds. The applications are processed anonymously.

Further information:

Claes Bergh, member of the Board of HYY with responsibility for the HYY Group
claes.bergh@hyy.fi
050 595 0327

HYY POP UP

HYY POP UP 11–14 March 2019

Viikki / Meilahti / City Centre / Kumpula

Event on Facebook!

Are you in need of guidance related to housing or subsistence? Would you like to have a positive impact on study affairs and the study environment at the University? Do you have questions related to your wellbeing or study ability? Would you like to receive guidance related to the FSHS’s wellbeing services, for instance? Do you know how HYY influences matters in elections, the city and society? Are you interested in finding out what kind of organisations and committees operate under HYY and how you could join them? Does your organisation need help with operating grants, for instance? Would you like to give HYY feedback and be involved in influencing the Student Union’s activities and objectives?

Come to the HYY POP UP events in Viikki, Meilahti, the City Centre and Kumpula on 11–14 March 2019!

Members of HYY’s Board and HYY’s specialists will be on call providing guidance every day from Monday to Thursday on each of the University of Helsinki’s campuses in turn. HYY POP UPs will have themed tables related to subsistence, wellbeing, study affairs, elections, committees and organisations. In addition to this, you will be able to get yourself brand-new HYY overall badges, HYY products and prizes!

HYY POP UP EVENTS ON 11–14 MARCH 2019

VIIKKI (Lobby of the EE building, Agnes Sjöberginkatu 2)

at 10 am–3 pm on 11 March 2019

MEILAHTI (Terkko Event Space, Haartmaninkatu 4)

at 10 am–3 pm on 12 March 2019

CITY CENTRE (Guidance Corner, Kaisa House, Fabianinkatu 30)

at 10 am–3 pm on 13 March 2019

KUMPULA (Lobby of Physicum, Gustaf Hällströminkatu 2)

at 10 am–3 pm on 14 March 2019

Theme stands

Wellbeing

Wellbeing consists of many different parts, starting from the fulfilment of basic needs such as having a home and a reasonable subsistence. How are you feeling? Are the building blocks of wellbeing in your life set up the way they should be? Whether you are a fresher still searching for balance between studies and having fun or a student with a family already further along your studies but struggling to find time for everything, come and chat with us about the kind of services and help that is available! At the HYY POP UP wellbeing stand, you can also respond to HYY’s new wellbeing survey. We will utilise the results of the survey in the health promotion work done by the FSHS’s health expert groups, for instance. Wellbeing-themed product gifts will be raffled off among everyone who responds to the survey.

 

Subsistence

Do you have questions about anything related to subsistence or student benefits? At the HYY POP UP subsistence stand, you can ask about and discuss issues related to student benefits as well as hear where to get further information on them. You can also check out the brand-new on subsistence in the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University or play the student simulator! The subsistence stand also has useful material related to Kela’s benefits and managing your personal finances that you can grab for yourself.

 

Elections

Make an early start to the election super spring! Come to our election stand to find your parliamentary election candidate, have your photo taken at HYY’s new brand wall with your own political message and form the future government in an amusing party game. You will not need any background knowledge of politics here. At the election stand, you can learn about HYY’s objectives in the parliamentary and European Parliament elections as well as share your views about a better future for students with us. See you at the stand!

 

Study affairs

Would you like to be involved in making the University a better place for students and the entire University community? Do you know what rights students have in their studies? What about the ways in which students can influence matters at the University? What are student representatives and how do you become one? At the HYY POP UP study affairs stand, we will give you tips for difficult problems you might encounter during your studies and provide you with information on how you can change the University. In addition to this, you can grab yourself HYY’s new Guide on Legal Protection, which includes the most common problems students encounter in their studies as well as their solutions. HYY’s Studies Committee will also be at our stand – the committee is one possible route for you to get involved in study advocacy work!

 

Organisations

There are around 250 different organisations operating under HYY. HYY’s organisations include everything from subject and faculty organisations to student nations and various hobby organisations. HYY’s organisational sector provides organisations with facilities, financial support, and help and guidance in issues related to their activities. If you are not yet familiar with HYY’s organisations, The POP UP stand of HYY’s organisational affairs allows you to get to know HYY’s organisational field and maybe even find a suitable community for yourself. For those already involved in organisational activities, the stand offers information on HYY’s organisational services and guidance on organisational affairs. In addition to this, HYY’s Student Organisations Committee will be at the stand, and you will have the opportunity to get carried away with them into the challenging situations of organisations’ everyday life in the form of a marvellous SOS Game.

 

Committees

Would you like to be involved in organising events for 27,000 members of HYY? Are you interested in development cooperation work in Mozambique? Do you have a burning desire to influence environmental affairs in the parliamentary elections? Does training new organisational actors sound like an exciting prospect? HYY’s different committees allow you to do all of the above – and much more! You will also get to meet new people across disciplinary boundaries and learn new things. Come to the HYY POP UP committee stand to find a route to the committee that suits you the best. Speed is key in our playful competition, and the fastest participant on each day is rewarded.

 

Info

At HYY’s information point, you will get information about the joys provided by HYY’s membership as well as to the other stands of the pop up week. You can also buy the newest HYY products and leave free-form feedback and wishes for your Student Union at the information point.

HYY POP UP

Rector Jari Niemelä has taken sick leave because he has been diagnosed with a tumour, with treatments begun immediately. The Rector disclosed the matter to the entire University community in an open letter. Vice Rector Sari Lindblom will deputise for the Rector during his sick leave.

HYY wants to wish Jari strength during his recovery – which is why we are collecting well-wishes from students until 18 February and will deliver the messages we receive to the Rector!

You can send your well-wishes to Jari through HYY by 18 February by following these instructions:

1.    Send your well-wishes using this form.

2.    Come and sign a card for Jari in HYY’s Services Office (please note the opening hours).

3.    Bring your own card to HYY’s Services Office.

HYY will deliver your well-wishes!

In HYY's interview Jari Niemelä has revealed that his spirit animal is raccoon.

Picture: Krista Holm

Are you inspired by event production, environment, activities in student organisations or development cooperation, for instance? Get involved with HYY’s committee activities! In the committees, you get to do things that interest you and meet new people. New members’ evenings are organised in February and March, but everyone is definitely welcome to join the action at any time!

Student Organisations Committee

What on earth is the Student Organisations Committee and what does it actually do? Can I have a say on what the Committee does this year?

You will get an answer to these questions by coming to the Student Organisations Committee’s new members’ evening at 5.00 pm on 18 February in Topelius (Central Office, New Student House, 2nd floor). Come and learn about the activities of the Student Organisations Committee and meet its members in a relaxed fashion! You can also take part in low-threshold brainstorming for the upcoming year’s events for organisational actors.

Do not hesitate to join us!

Facebook event

Bilingualism Committee

Come to our new members’ evening to learn about the Bilingualism Committee’s activities! The evening doubles as the Bilingualism Committee’s second meeting of the year. We will have some fun activities, coffee and light snacks available. During the spring, we will have an election panel, excursions and reviewing the results of the bilingualism survey together to look forward to. The new members’ evening is held at 6 pm on 27 February in Sparre in HYY’s Central Office in the New Student House.

Development Cooperation Committee

Are you interested in global justice? Would you like to join HYY’s committee activities? Did you know that your Student Union is involved in development cooperation? Or that it has a project in Mozambique?

The Development Cooperation Committee’s Mozambique + new members’ evening in Alina Hall on 19 March provides you with the opportunity to listen and learn about HYY’s project in Mozambique as well as Mozambican culture and society. You will also get to learn about the Development Cooperation Committee’s activities and join them if you wish. Come and spend a relaxed evening themed around development cooperation and the Mozambique project with us, if our committee, Mozambique or development cooperation has piqued your interest! The event is open to all members of HYY, and there will be some food served. A more detailed programme and schedule will be published later.

Studies Committee

Join the Studies Committee’s activities! The Studies Committee operates as part of the Student Union’s activities related to advocacy work and educational policy. In our activities, you will get to meet others working with study affairs, conduct study advocacy work covering the entire Student Union and hear about new developments in higher education policy. Everyone interested in educational policy from freshers to experienced organisational pros is welcome to join the Committee’s activities!

In our new members’ evening, you will get to learn about our activities, meet other actives and spend a fun evening in the company of awesome people! Our new members’ evening is held at 5 pm on Tuesday 26 February in meeting room Topelius in the New Student House.

Facebook event

Events Committee

Do you have wild ideas for events or a burning desire to organise them? Are you sick and tired of going through theories, preferring to use your skills in practice instead? In Events Committee HUMU, you will get to look behind the curtain of HYY’s events and influence their contents yourself! HUMU will let you work on action-packed campaigns and parties together with the best possible group of people. As part of HYY’s event team, you will get the opportunity to highlight your own competences and put forward your own ideas. You are just the person we want!

WHAT: New members’ evening of Events Committee HUMU
WHERE: In HYY’s Central Office (Sparre) in the New Student House at Mannerheimintie 5 A, 2nd floor.
WHEN: From 6.00 pm onwards on 26 February.
WHO FOR: You!
WHY: Because events!

Facebook event 

Environmental Committee

Do environmental issues make you want to act and improve environmental awareness at the University? In the Environmental Committee, you will get to take part in organising environmentally themed events, excursions and movie nights as well as just hang out in like-minded company. Besides our other activities, we are planning a flea market appro for the spring that would culminate in an event for exchanging clothes. Join us to brainstorm things further!

The Environmental Committee’s new members’ night is held at 6.00 pm on 21 February 2019 in meeting room Sparre in the New Student House (at Mannerheimintie 5 A, 2nd floor). Some snacks will be served!

Facebook event

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), the Aalto University Student Union (AYY) and the Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus conducted a survey on the subsistence of the students of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The report charted the financial situation and study wellbeing of the basic degree students of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University in autumn 2018. Themes of the survey included student aid, work, general subsistence, housing and students’ wellbeing. Particular interest was given to the effects of the student aid reform and to the students’ move to general housing allowance.

Cuts to student aid affected taking out loans

According to the study, students are a diverse group in terms of subsistence. Around 50% of the students who completed the survey live under the poverty line, with 25% of these having under 850 euros per month at their disposal. The disposable income of students as a whole has increased, but part of that income is loan and the general cost of living in has risen.

Out of those entitled to student loan, 63% had taken out one. The most important reason for taking out a student loan was clearly securing one’s subsistence. The cuts to student aid had affected around one in three students’ need to take out a student loan. Some students also receive financial support from their parents or relatives, but 37% receive no support.

Working slows down studies

The link between sickness and the experience of one’s situation with subsistence is fairly clear based on the results. The students who have a sickness that complicates studying experience a good or fairly good situation with subsistence decidedly less often than those who do not.

According to the report, students prefer working to taking out a loan. 74% of the respondents had worked during the last academic year. Around 70% of those who completed the survey stated that working slowed down their study progress either somewhat or considerably. It would seem that even after the student aid reform working slows down the study progress of a large number of students.

Effects of the move to general housing allowance

Students moved to general housing allowance in August 2017. 47% of those who completed the survey stated that they receive general housing allowance. For some students, this change has probably improved the level of subsistence. However, general housing allowance causes problem situations if the income of other people living in the same household affects the amount of housing allowance. The move to general housing allowance has increased the demand for small apartments in the Capital Region at the cost of shared apartments. The students who completed the survey did not consider shared apartments as financially viable an option as before.

The students who stated that they live with some other adult were asked how the expenses in their household are shared. A significant share of those living with someone else do not live in a shared household – instead, housing costs are shared, and everyone is responsible for their personal expenses. 29% of those living with someone else live in a shared household with both income and expenses largely shared.

The average rent of university students in the Capital Region is 495 euros per month, whereas the median rent is 450 euros. Living in an owner-occupied apartment has become cheaper in comparison to living in a rental apartment, as rents have grown faster than apartment prices, which is bad news from a student perspective. Rapidly increasing rents are a harsh blow to the finances of students living in rental apartments.

The release event of the report is organised at the Think Corner at 2–4 pm on Tuesday 5 February (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/think-corner/contact-us).

Further information:

Hannele Kirveskoski, HYY’s specialist (subsistence)
hannele.kirveskoski@hyy.fi
050 543 9608

Statement, published 31.1.2019

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki considers the breaking down of the negotiations between the FinELib consortium, representing Finnish higher education institutions, research institutes and public libraries, and the international academic publisher Taylor & Francis on Monday 28 January extremely alarming. The disagreement between the publisher and the FinELib consortium concerns the costs of open publishing of research data, which are currently unreasonable to universities. The failed negotiations also mean that access to the publisher’s around 2,000 electronic journals ends at the end of January for the students and researchers of the University of Helsinki.

Publications disappearing behind paywalls significantly complicates the everyday life of researchers and students. The situation may become especially difficult to students in particular, as they do not have the experience and networks of researchers to help them find information. Without the contracts between universities and academic publishers, the most recent scientific knowledge is in danger of staying out of reach of students, especially those in the weakest financial situation, as Taylor & Francis – like many other academic publishers – charges tens of euros just for a 24-hour access to a single article. Even a delay as short as a few weeks in accessing the academic sources needed for their thesis may prevent a student from graduating according to their planned schedule. As a student union, we are thus extremely worried about the effect the negotiations have on students.

However, students and the rest of the university community are not on the opposite sides in this situation. The current publishing system for research is based on the hegemony of large publishers and represents the sustainability and democracy deficit central to our entire society. It is untenable that Finnish higher education institutions and research institutes are spending millions of euros each year to access publications whose contents are, for the most part, produced with public funding and funding from non-profit foundations. It is also a question of the democratisation of scientific knowledge. The accessibility of research-based knowledge is a basic prerequisite of a sustainable future at a time when fake news and populism are challenging our social order.

We are hoping for a swift resolution to the accessibility of scientific journals but do not want to yield to the blackmail of academic publishers. The universities should remain strong. As students and representatives of the younger generation, we have chosen the road of open science and support our academic community in its work for more accessible information.