Equality, diversity and accessibility at the University

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The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations. The University strives to be a forerunner in the promotion of equality and the creation of an atmosphere of respect for diversity. The University recognises and eliminates practices and structures that create and sustain inequality. Equality and, as a related factor, accessibility contribute to the quality of a multicultural and multilingual University community. See more details in the University's Equality and Diversity Plan (pdf).

Equality and Diversity Committee

The University’s Equality and Diversity Committee is a body under the Vice-Rector, featuring the whole spectrum of the University community. The duties of the Equality Committee are to:

  • Promote the achievement of the objectives outlined in the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act, monitor the development of equality at the University and report on it;
  • Influence the University community so as to strengthen pro-equality attitudes, opinions and structures at the University; and
  • Prepare an equality plan as specified in the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act.

The equality adviser supports the promotion of equality at the University of Helsinki. Please contact the equality adviser at tasa-arvovastaava@helsinki.fi. You can read more about the Committee from the University's Flamma intranet.

Equality and accessibility liaisons

The equality and accessibility liaisons work as low threshold contact persons making it easier to bring up equality and accessibility issues. Their duties include spreading good equality practices in the University community, communicating about equality matters in their areas of responsibility and referring people who need assistance to the equality advisor, an occupational health and safety representative, a union representative or the harassment liaison of the University of Helsinki Student Union. In addition, it is the duty of the liaisons to highlight equality and accessibility considerations, promote and communicate about good practices, as well as to assess these issues with regard to teaching, research and administration.

You can find the updated list of equality and accessibility liaisons in the Flamma intranet.

Promotion of accessibility

The University of Helsinki strives to enhance its services, facilities and operations so that they will be suitable for all. The University complies with the principles of equality, non-discrimination and inclusion. Inclusion means accommodating everyone, as a matter of course, so that everyone can participate equally in any activity. The various needs of people with disabilities must be considered in all planning as part of the diversity of humanity. This entails the removal of all barriers, whether physical obstacles, prejudiced attitudes or hindrances to communication.

The University offers advice for disabled students  in integrating into the academic community and in acquiring the necessary aids and learning materials. The University provides academic advice, including advice regarding special examination arrangements.

A list of accessibility liaisons can be found from the Flamma intranet.

Accessible environment

A good environment does not categorise people on the basis of their physical abilities or disabilities: it is accessible. The same applies to various functions, which may be related to studies, work or, say, applying to the university. When they have been made accessible, everyone is able to function equally irrespective of their personal characteristics related to sight, hearing, mobility, age or any other such factors. Sometimes this requires special arrangements or aids.

Teaching is accessible when you have easy access to the classroom and can easily use the IT services employed in instruction and in communication about it, and you are able to fully participate in instruction.

Digital services must also be accessible. Read more about accessibility of the University’s digital services on the Flamma intranet.

Accessibility in studies

Accessibility of teaching particularly encompasses the idea of the different forms and channels of instruction. From a pedagogical perspective, it is recommended that, when possible, diverse learners are provided with, for example, lecture and seminar teaching or independent working in the form of an essay or a closed-book examination.

Sometimes accessible teaching requires special arrangements or equipment. More information about special arrangements from the instructions on special arrangements support.

Prevention of inequality and discrimination at the University

The University of Helsinki disapproves of any kind of inappropriate behaviour, bullying or harassment. Each and every supervisor and teacher at the University is obligated to address the situation if they notice inappropriate behaviour, bullying or harassment in his or her work or study community. More information about the prevention of inappropriate treatment and harassment at the University of Helsinki is available in Flamma and in PDF.

If you encounter harassment at the University, please contact the University's harassment contact persons:

You can also contact the Student Union via email at hairintayhdyshenkilo@hyy.fi. More information is available on the Student Union website.