Universities Finland- UNIFI, the Council of Rectors of Finnish Universities on Monday issued a statement against discrimination or racism in any form, said the UNIFI in a press release.
The statement was issued on the opening day of the academic session in the Finnish Universities.
“Like many other societal actors, universities are currently very concerned about racism, polarization, the intensification of public discourse, and the way in which our society based on equality and non-discrimination is being challenged,” said the UNIFI in a statement.
It said universities openly recognise that they are part of structural racism.
According to a recent study, it is more difficult for ethnic minorities in Finnish higher education institutions to advance their career than for the majority population, said the statement.
Additionally, members of teaching and research staff belonging to ethnic minorities experience discrimination and non-inclusiveness in the work culture, said the statement.
It said that universities must work more decisively to ensure that all students and staff feel welcome in the university community and that it is easy to come and study or work in Finland.
“We must also listen to those members of our community who face racism and discrimination and taken into consideration their experiences to address the issues. Hate speech must be addressed through systematic action and cooperation. There is still much to do,” the statement added.
“Our goal is for universities to be safe and non-discriminating environments. We are committed to promoting equality and inclusion and preventing discrimination in all our operations. We strive to identify and remove practices and structures that produce and maintain inequality. Research on racism, interpersonal relationships and societal trends from many perspectives is conducted at universities, and this expertise is available to our society as a whole,” said the statement, adding that universities are open and diverse communities and key drivers of internationalisation in the society.