Staff Members of Aalto University Petition in Support of the Students’ Occupation
[Note: We intend the petition for people working at Aalto University. This includes those employed by Aalto University and those affiliated with Aalto University. All signatories must state their position or affiliation with the Aalto University when signing. You can decide whether your signature is publicly visible online. We encourage all members of educational institutions to do the same and thank Helsinki University staff for their example.]
The students at Aalto University continue their occupation, which started on 21 September, at the Väre Lobby. The students are protesting the government's planned cuts to housing and student grants and the planned immigration policies that discriminate amongst others our international students. The government has planned a series of cuts and changes to the housing benefit that will affect hundreds of thousands of students and other low-income earners. In addition, the government has decided to freeze index increases on several benefits—including student grants—for the election period. If the planned cuts come into force, and the current government manages to hold its position, an independently living adult student will lose, on average, almost €1,300 during the year 2027.
The government's proposed tightening of the procedures for granting work permits, permanent residence and citizenship, combined with increasing racism in society, will directly impact international students. These changes against the EU’s fair integration measures will make it more difficult for students to find a job and build a future in Finland, undermining their well-being, security, and capacity to study. Plans to increase tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students will further increase the financial and emotional burden, inequality among students, and global injustice. These measures will decrease the productivity and economic strength of Finland.
We, the undersigned, work at Aalto University. We show solidarity with the students and support the demands of The Occupation. We do not consider the university management's reaction to date sufficient. The university management must visibly and resolutely defend all students' livelihood, well-being, and status.
Students, especially international students, are the foundation of the university community and the future of Finland. Degrading students’ status is not a future-proof policy. The growing concern over subsistence is draining resources from social engagement, which is increasingly needed as social and environmental problems escalate. At the same time, the planned cuts in housing and other social security grants will hit those already the most vulnerable in Finland. The planned cuts and immigration policies will increase inequality and reduce the resilience of our society.
We appeal to the Management of the Aalto University that they publicly support the demands of the students’ occupation:
- No cuts to housing subsidies. On the contrary, the living conditions of all students must be improved.
- No increase in tuition fees!
- The University management must acknowledge the burden that the suggested changes have already caused to students and international staff and provide active support to overcome this stress.
- We demand that the university management takes further actions to show solidarity against racist immigration policies that violate human rights and discriminate international students. The university must defend the possibility for students to concentrate on their studieswithout worrying about their livelihood, regardless of their nationality.
Felix A. Epp (Chair, Aalto University Teachers and Researchers (ATTE)), Nidia Obscura Acosta (Chair, Aalto University Doctoral Student Association (Aallonhuiput)), Tejas Kotha (Vice Chair, Aallonhuiput; Board Member, ATTE), Annukka Svanda (Doctoral researcher, inclusive public services, Aalto University Department of Design) Contact the author of the petition
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