We, the undersigned, appeal to the University of Tampere that it would not give up the facilities of Linna, and that reducing the number of properties would be done with careful consideration of the un/necessity of the facilities of the university community. The facilities of university community are not only walls of libraries, lecture rooms and office spaces, but there lies the soul of our community. Linna in particular is essential to our community: it is a place to study and work without distractions, to explore and examine, and to plan and execute.
Before the beginning of the pandemic, the premises of Linna, from the canteen to group study rooms, have been in active use of the staff and the students – even to the extent of running out of available spaces from time to time. Not only the library services of City center campus, but also the only group study rooms in City center campus that are bookable for students, facilities of student clubs and associations, and workplaces of researchers are located in Linna. For example, there has already been shortage of premises for student associations, and currently there are not enough premises for every subject association to have their own. Furthermore, having one’s own physical space on the campus facilities is a necessity for researchers who keep not only their research literature, but also confidential research material in their offices. Handling this material cannot be moved to open-plan offices. Physical materials of the library are also still crucial: all research literature does not exist in electronic databases.
In the Campus Development Strategy, giving up facilities is under the title of “Ecological responsibility”. However, giving up collective facilities and transitioning to teleworking only relocates the responsibility to the homes of individual people or to the potential new actors in these facilities. Constructed and developed as a library building in 2006, the emissions of Linna would not disappear into thin air even if they were cut out of University’s own statistics. Using the facilities ourselves is the best way to ensure their ecologically sustainable use.
The fact that Linna has not been available for use for a year and a half now due to covid-19-pandemic does not mean that there is no use for those facilities. On the contrary, the significance of physical spaces and social interactions are emphasized even further in the post-pandemic world. The Campus Development Strategy of Tampere University discusses ”increasing the wellbeing” and “supporting the daily lives and wellbeing” of people, but as far as we can see, giving up facilities would not be in line with these objectives. Besides independent work, doing research requires spontaneous encounters and exchange of ideas in the corridors of a common building, and these cannot be carried out by remote meetings. For new staff members becoming socialized to the work community and learning tacit knowledge, gained by experience, from colleagues is impossible if they are seen only as talking heads in video conference services.University community consists of both staff and the students, and encounters in common facilities is vital for the forming and preservation of the community. Also, most of the students who answered the coronavirus survey conducted by the student union TREY felt that the restrictions to the usage of university facilities have caused negative effects on both studies and wellbeing. Furthermore, working or studying from home is not a possibility for everyone due to matters considering living circumstances, family life or wealth. There are reasons to reform our ways of working, but the projects of development and rearrangement considering teleworking and hybrid work models need to be done with careful consideration, and the needs of the university community must be met in the process. Changes need to be done in a way that does not erode the equality and wellbeing among the community, or the equal possibilities to act in the university community.
In a meeting that took place in 25.9.2020, the Board of Tampere University confirmed the Tampere University Campus Development Strategy for 2020–2030. One of the intermediate objectives in the Campus Development Strategy is to reduce facilities of the community by 25 percent by 2030. The Campus Development Strategy is based on ’the Present Condition of Campus Development Analysis’ (“Kampuskehityksen nykytila -analyysi” in Finnish), carried out in 2019.
In June 2021, on week 24, the Tampere University’s objective to reduce campus facilities rose into the public discussion. The matter has been reported by, among others, Visiiri magazine, Aamulehti and Yle. Especially the Linna and Virta buildings have been in the center of the discussion.
Links (in Finnish):
Aamulehti: Tampereen yliopisto suunnittelee tilojensa vähentämistä jopa neljänneksellä – Linna-rakennuksesta saatetaan luopua
Yle: Tampereen yliopisto aikoo vähentää neljänneksen tiloistaan: esimerkiksi kirjasto voi muuttaa muualle
Visiiri: Yliopisto selvittää Linna-kirjastosta luopumista: ”Resursseja ihmisiin ja tekemiseen, ei seiniin”
Tampereen ylioppilaskunta TREY: Tampereen ylioppilaskunnan koronakyselyn tulosten raportti kevät 2021
Tampereen yliopisto: Kampusympäristöjen kehittämisen perustoimenpiteet
Tampereen yliopisto: Korkeakouluyhteisön strategia
Tampereen korkeakouluyhteisön kampuskehitys: Kampuskehitys-strategia 2020–2030
Elina Mononen, Tampereen yliopiston opiskelija Contact the author of the petition
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