December: Be You

#BeYou

“Every human being is born equal and have the same basic rights. Higher education is equally available for everyone regardless of age, ethnic background and nationality, language, religion and beliefs, opinions, wealth, state of health, disabilities, sexual orientation or other personal matters.
Helga is against all discrimination and works actively to remove that from the student community…

…Accessibility is taken into account in everything that happens in Haaga-Helia. Not only physical barriers of accessibility are being tackled, but all psychological and social barriers are taken into account as well.”
-Helga’s political program

 

Breaking down barriers

Helga’s social media focus for the month of December will be about raising awareness and facilitating conversation about equality and accessibility issues that face students in Finland and around the world. A specific focus will be put on issues that were presented by the Accessibility survey Helga conducted in 2018. The aim of the month is to break down barriers affecting students by healthy dialog and by providing students with the information they need to report issues they face. Awareness is the first step in solving issues that are facing our students today. Although Helga leads the way for the whole community to be accepting, there are always improvements that can be made. Helga strives to be an evolving organization rather than one stuck in the past, and as such, we feel it’s important that we open our mind to ideas that we might not be aware of so that we can improve as an organization and a community.

Read more about the results of Helga’s Accessibility survey here.

Have you faced accessibility or equality problems in Haaga-Helia? Let us know by filling the What’s Wrong? -formIf you come across discrimination or witness sexual harassment we advise you to contact Helga’s harassment contact persons (harassment@helga.fi). They can also be contacted via an online form.

By contacting us you make sure these situations come to the attention and can be intervened.

 

What happened in December 2019?

Helga hosted a well-being calendar on social media from 1.-24.12.2019 in which we presented the findings of the Accessibility survey and open conversation on specific issues. We also showcased Haaga-Helia’s equality & accessibility plan and how it offers solutions for these problems. We hope that students affected by issues that we are not aware of take advantage of the open conversation and bring these matters to our attention.

 

Sexual diversity

One’s perception of sexuality and gender is always individual, and everyone has a right to define their sexuality and gender in the way they want. Spreading awareness on these things is crucial in order to create a safe and accessible student community where everyone is accepted as they are, because people mostly have prejudices towards something they don’t understand.

Sexuality can be defined by different terms, such as gay, straight, bi-, pan- or a-sexuality, but the perception about one’s own sexuality is always individual. Sexuality consists of many different things, such as the development of sexuality or gender- or sexual identity. Sexual orientation is one part of sexuality. Sexual orientation means who you fall in love with, or have emotional and/or erotic attraction towards. Sexual orientation is usually defined based on the gender of you and the person you have feelings for, but this doesn’t make it so black and white. Sexual orientation and change during a person’s life.

Each person’s perception of their gender is different and unique. Some clearly identify as men or women, some feel they are partly both and some don’t belong in these categories at all. Some don’t identify as any gender. One’s gender can be expressed in different ways, for example with how you dress and behave. Each person has the right to define their own gender identity, or to not do so.

More information about sexual and gender diversity can be found on for example SETA’s website at https://en.seta.fi/.

 

Religion & beliefs

”There are no cases of discrimination based on religion or belief in The Haaga-Helia. Haaga-Helia strives to respect different things in all its activities religious and beliefs, so that the Haaga-Helia employees and students aren’t discriminated because of their views. ”

Religious freedom is one of the human rights and the Religious Freedom Act has entered into force in Finland since 1923. Religious freedom means the right to recognize and practice the religion of your choice or not to recognize any religion. Faith and its practice are manifested in different ways, for example, practitioners of the same religion may have different lifestyles and worldviews Everyone can interpret and practice their own religion exactly as they wish.

Each of us has the right to practice our religion and believe in exactly what we want or not to believe. Nobody can be forced to visibly practice their religion against their will.

 

Handicaps and health condition

In the Haaga-Helia’s equality plan it states that the present state in Haaga-Helia for a handicapped student or staff is adequate. According to the plan the ability for handicapped students to study in Haaga-Helia has been taken into consideration in the buildings’ design. Special exam arrangements are possible for handicapped students during their studies and entrance exams. No situations of discrimination based on a handicap have been brought to the school’s attention. In addition all information related to the health of students and staff are always kept strictly confidential in Haaga-Helia.

The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities (Invalidiliitto) does valuable advocacy work and offers support services for physically disabled people and people close to them. They offer for example counseling and peer support. There are plenty of info packages available at the website of Invalidiliitto, also relating to studying. The accessibility center of Invalidiliitto, ESKE, offers info, training, counseling, consultation and accessibility mapping on their website esteetön.fi. Their video bank also had videos about accessibility.

Read more from the website of The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities.