Harassment and Inappropriate Treatment

According to the Universities Act, students have a right to a safe study environment. The University of Vaasa supports the well-being of students, and inappropriate behaviour and harassment are not tolerated. Every member of the university community is responsible for their own behaviour.

Responsible behaviour in the university community

A student must comply with the guidelines and regulations provided for studies. A student must act in accordance with good manners and avoid inappropriate treatment and harassment toward others. Every student has the responsibility for their own actions for ensuring that all students have a good and safe studying environment. Everyone must accept that there are different people in the university community with whom appropriate interaction must be possible.

Responsible use of university IT services

Every person belonging to the university community is also responsible for all activities under their university domain name. IT service operating rules bind and obligate all members of the university community. There are consequences for violation of the rules as well as for inappropriate or prohibited behaviour in the university's information systems.

What is inappropriate treatment?

Inappropriate treatment is bullying, harassment, slighting, or other negative behaviour.

Bullying is repeated and systematic bad treatment of another person. It can manifest, for example, as humiliation, isolation, insulting, spreading of false information or threatening.

Harassment is undermining the dignity or sanctity of a person or a group of people orally, through actions or attitudes in such a way that a threatening or derogatory atmosphere is created. Harassment can manifest for example as inappropriate insinuations relating, for example to sex, culture, sexual orientation, opinions or convictions.

Guidelines for situations of inappropriate treatment and harassment relating to studying

If you feel you have become a target of inappropriate treatment or harassment

  • Tell the person you feel is harassing you, in an appropriate manner and as soon as possible, that you consider his or her behaviour to be inappropriate and ask the person to stop it. It may also be that the person is not aware that they are behaving in an offensive manner.
  • You can inform about the matter orally or in writing. Often, bringing attention to the matter orally is already sufficient to stop inappropriate behaviour. A benefit to bringing the matter up in writing is that the matter is documented at the same time.
  • Record events that essentially relate to the matter. It is also a good idea to save, for example, related emails or other documents. Documentation helps in the possible further processing of the matter and in verifying events.
  • If you yourself cannot or do not want to contact the person in question, or if the inappropriate treatment continues also after the matter has been brought up, notify the Vice-director of Education Services (Nina Nässlin or Helena Varmajoki), or the Student Union's harassment contact person. Do also present any documentation relating to the matter. The contact persons are bound by professional secrecy and they will process your matter confidentially.
  • The contact person will process the matter in accordance with the university's operating models.
  • The university's responsibility starts from the time that the responsible representative of the university personnel (vice-director of Education Services or, for example, study counsellor) has been informed of inappropriate behaviour.
  • If you experience inappropriate treatment or harassment in students' leisure time events, contact the Student Union's harassment contact person.
  • If in your experience, the situation is dangerous or you feel threatened, notify the emergency services (tel. 112) first. If the situation allows, also notify the safety manager of the university.
  • You can get discussion support, for example, from your study counsellor or programme coordinator, study psychologist, the Finnish Student Health Service, or the university chaplain. If needed, they can also guide you forward.
  • Remember to take care of your own well-being.

If you are accused of inappropriate treatment or harassment

  • Stop the behaviour that is considered inappropriate immediately when the matter is brought to your attention even if in your opinion you are not guilty of such behaviour.
  • Do not belittle another person's feelings, because an experience of inappropriate behaviour and harassment is individual.
  • Record events that essentially relate to the matter. It is also a good idea to save, for example, related emails or other documents. Documentation helps in clarifying the situation.
  • Discuss the matter with the other party. If the situation is not resolved, you can contact the Vice-director of Education Services (Nina Nässlin or Helena Varmajoki), or the Student Union's harassment contact person. Do also present any documentation relating to the matter. The contact persons are bound by professional secrecy and they will process your matter confidentially.
  • Notifications of inappropriate treatment or harassment that have been made in deceitful intent are as serious as inappropriate behaviour and may lead to the same consequences.
  • You can get discussion support for example from your study counsellor or programme coordinator, study psychologist, the Finnish Student Health Service, or the university chaplain. If needed, they can also guide you forward.
  • Remember to take care of your own well-being.

These guidelines have been approved in the student well-being working group of the University of Vaasa on 9 October 2020.

See also:

Contact persons

Vice-directors of Education Services

  • Nina Nässlin: firstname.lastname@univaasa.fi (normalise scandinavian characters), tel. +358 29 449 8163
  • Helena Varmajoki: firstname.lastname@univaasa.fi, tel. +358 29 449 8174

Student Union

Study Psychologist

  • Ray Ohtonen: firstname.lastname@univaasa.fi, tel. +358 29 449 8407

FSHS Vaasa

University Chaplain

Student Counsellors

Safety Manager

  • Ronald Pått: firstname.lastname@univaasa.fi (normalise scandinavian characters), tel. +358 29 449 8570

Equality Representative

  • Reetta Kungsbacka: firstname.lastname@univaasa.fi, tel. +358 29 449 8189

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