Have you spotted bullying, sexual harassment or racism? It’s everyone’s business to interfere with harassment. Interfering does not make you a spoilsport as the mood has already been spoiled by the person behaving inappropriately. Anyone noticing harassment among the student community can interfere. This can be done alone or together – the more members of the community decide to interfere and take the harassed person’s side, the more enjoyable the student community will become for us all.
Harassment cannot always be straightforwardly identified as harassment while it’s happening. Yet it’s always better to interfere in situations that appear to be unpleasant to one party. Neither is harassment always directed at an individual. It can also come out as racism or sexism portrayed as jokes or part of the student culture, for example. However, racism, sexism or harassment should never be written off as mere humour. What’s funny to one person might be a continuation of nasty and discriminatory experiences for another.
What to do if you encounter inappropriate behaviour or harassment in the Aalto community?
While inappropriate behaviour is going on, the most important thing is to make it stop: let the person behaving inappropriately know in clear terms that what they’re doing is not acceptable and ask them to stop. It might even be that they do not realise they are being offensive.
If the harassment does not stop, or if you have not been able to discuss it with the harasser, you can take the matter further.
If harassment or inappropriate behaviour occurs at an event with security, you can also tell the security personnel about it.
You can also interfere with inappropriate behaviour together with someone, if interfering on your own feels difficult. As well as communicating the inappropriateness of the behaviour, it is also important to support the person facing inappropriate behaviour. The more people show they are on the harassed person’s side, the clearer the message about what kind of behaviour is acceptable in the community.
The Student Union’s Harassment contact persons
In any situation, you can also contact AYY’s Harassment contact persons, who will assist and counsel you in resolving the situation. The Harassment contact persons can also be contacted if you are not sure whether the situation you encountered was harassment. Contact with the Harassment contact persons is confidential and will not lead to further action, unless the contact maker so wishes.
AYY has two Harassment contact persons who will support you in resolving harassment situations. The Harassment contact persons are Annika Mällinen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lauri Jurvanen (email@example.com). The Harassment contact persons can be contacted if you have experienced or witnessed harassment, need help with the follow-up of resolving harassment situations or just want to talk about the inappropriate behaviour you witnessed.
If the harassment situation qualifies as a criminal offence, contact the police.
If an association within AYY needs help with the prevention of harassment and inappropriate behaviour and the development of equality work, AYY’s Social Affairs sector (firstname.lastname@example.org) offers their help and support.
What to do if you encounter inappropriate behaviour in a teaching situation
If you experience harassment or inappropriate treatment during teaching or in a study-related situation, you can tell the lecturer or another staff member who is present about it. They have the duty to interfere in the situation.
If the harassment or inappropriate behaviour does not stop, or if the harasser is University staff themself, you can contact your school’s Head of Learning Services (e-mails: email@example.com), who has the duty to take the matter further.
Pia Lahti, BIZ
Mirka Jalonen, ENG
Leena Koskinen, ARTS
Perttu Puska, ELEC
Hanne Puskala, CHE
Mari Knuuttila, SCI