Law professors find the regulations of Tampere3 university in violation of the Constitution. University community has filed a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

8.3.2018


The new regulations for the University of Tampere, instituted in the Tampere3 process, include provisions which are clearly against the law and violate the Finnish Constitution by limiting the constitutionally-guaranteed self-government of the universities. Representatives of professors, researchers and students have filed a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman on March 6th, 2018.

 

The illegalities are explicitly pointed out in the statements which the university community has requested from Juha Lavapuro, the Professor of Public Law in the University of Turku, and Olli Mäenpää, the Professor of Administrative Law in the University of Helsinki. According to Professor Mäenpää, "in order to ensure good governance and legal security, and to avoid legal problems in the application of these regulations, it is absolutely necessary that the Board of the University of Tampere should rectify these illegal measures in accordance to the law." At the moment, illegalities can be found in the provisions regulating the nomination of the University Board and the chairman of the representative administrative body (the consistory).

A complaint has been filed to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, requesting an inquiry on the actions of the Transitional Board of the University of Tampere, and the legality of the new university regulations. This complaint has been signed by the representatives of the local chapter of the Professors' Union, Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers (Tatte), the Student Body of the University of Tampere (Tamy), the Personnel Association of the University of Tampere (TaYHY), and the Tampere University Association of Lecturers and Teachers (TaYLL).

“Filing a complaint to the parliamentary ombudsman was the only choice that was left in this situation", comments Sanni Lehtinen, the President of the Tampere University Student Body. "The university community has demanded the removal of these illegalities from the relevant documents ever since 2016, when the first drafts were published by the Tampere University Foundation. Even still, these same illegalities were included also in the regulations confirmed in February".

Mari Hatavara, the chairman of the local chapter of the Professors' Union, finds it regrettable that the opinions of the university community have been overlooked even when the regulations have been open for comments. The consistent demands of the Tampere 3 advisory board to rectify the clear illegalities in the regulations have yielded no results.

Researcher Hanna Kuusela, the Vice-President of the Tampere University Researchers and Teachers, states that ”it has been a horrid experience to witness how the transitional board of the university has trampled on the university autonomy and paid no attention to law. The principle of the university autonomy is not included in the constitution by mere chance, but it is intended to secure the independence of academic research from short-term political trends." Kuusela finds it possible that there might also be an investigation request on the action of the transitional board.

"The constitutional autonomy of the universities and the freedom of research and teaching are indispensable to safeguard the quality of science and knowledge", Professor Hatavara adds. "The universities must be allowed the participate in civil discourse and development of the society freely, on their own terms."

The New University of Tampere should be established by January 1st, 2019. The new university regulations resulted in public protest and walk-out in the early February.



More information:

Professor Mari Hatavara, President, Chapter of the Professors' Union at the University of Tampere, 0401901565.

Student Sanni Lehtinen, President, Tampere University Student Body, 050 361 2845

Researcher Hanna Kuusela, 2nd Vice-President, Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers, 050 514 2264