Equality plan

1. General information

The purpose of the equality plan is to promote equality in the guild. The plan covers different aspects of equality, such as how to take account of people’s different backgrounds. It provides concrete guidance, in particular on inclusiveness when organizing events, but also on everyday community life.

2. Safer space policy

A safer space means a space where everyone works to build an equal, open and respectful atmosphere and conversation. In the guild’s events, AYY:s safer space policy is followed.

3. General atmosphere and conversation

It is important that within the guild, such as at events or at the guild room, an atmosphere is created where everyone feels welcome and equal. This includes having a low threshold for pointing out inappropriate language or behavior – and respecting the comments and wishes of others. The use of terms that are derogatory or otherwise perceived as offensive to certain groups of people is not appropriate.

4. Multilingualism

Due to exchange students, foreign master students and the quantum technology bachelor program, the Guild of Physics has many members who don’t speak Finnish. Thus, one has to be able to take part in the Guild’s activities even without any fluency in Finnish. In all of the Guild’s activities, it is not possible to offer the same experience in English as in Finnish – for example, the Guild’s meetings are held primarily in Finnish.

4.1. Communications

The Guild’s communications, such as event information, should, on principle, be given in both Finnish and English. In the case of events held in English, information can only be provided in English. The event information must indicate in what way the event can be attended in English, for example “the event is entirely in English”, “the sitsis are mainly in Finnish, but the programme is also in English” or “the event is mainly in Finnish”.

4.2. Communications in events

In addition to events in Finnish, the guild also aims to organize events that can be meaningfully attended entirely in English. These include events that are entirely in English, as well as events that do not have any guided programme, such as board game nights. 

If the event has English-speaking participants, information relevant to the participants – such as timetable or special dietary information – will be provided in English, even if the event itself is mainly in Finnish.

4.2.1. Sitsis

If the Guild’s sitsis have English-speaking participants, this has to be taken into account. Taking multilinguality into account is especially important in songleading and choosing which sitsi songs to include in the song booklet. Donkey bridges (segways to songs, which are given by songleaders) held in English are one of the ways to take all participants into consideration. Another way is to include sitsi songs, which are either in English (such as Jallulujah, Drunken sailor, My favourite drinks, …) or are otherwise easily sung without fluency in Finnish (such as songs based on widely known melodies, like Viljaviinaa or Tähtitunnelmia), in the song booklet.

4.3. Working in the Guild

One must be able to apply for an official position in the guild, even if one does not speak Finnish. When making official selections, applicants should not be discriminated against on the basis of language skills. However, language skills can be used as a factor in distincting the applicants if language skills are an essential part of the job description, such as in the role of a translator. If there are English speakers in a Guild’s committee, the committee will work in English, in principle.

It should also be possible to apply for a position on the board without any knowledge of Finnish. However, it is clear that when the first English-speaking person joins the board, the transition to English will take some time and will require special effort, for example in translating documents. However, running the guild’s administrative activities requires knowledge of Finnish, the official language of the guild being Finnish, so the composition of the board should be such that it is possible to carry out these administrative duties in Finnish. Everyone should have equal opportunities to apply for the board, regardless of their mother tongue. This can be promoted by ensuring that, for example, communication about elections is in English as well as Finnish.

5. The Guild’s administration

In terms of equality, it is important that guild members feel they have equal opportunities to influence the guild’s activities. The activities of the board should be as transparent as possible and information on decisions made by the board should be easily accessible. This can be helped by keeping the opportunities for influence constantly on display and encouraging participation in guild and board meetings, for example through information being clear and early enough available.

Easy accessibility and advertising of the anonymous feedback form of the board is also important from the freshman year onwards. Feedback received by the board should on principle be discussed at board meetings, so that guild members know that their feedback will be acted upon. Feedback does not need to be discussed at a board meeting if the board has already responded to the person giving the feedback, or if the feedback is inappropriate.

For transparency, the minutes of board meetings are also visible to all guild members. However, if necessary to protect people’s privacy, some parts of the minutes may be withheld. In order to keep the meetings of the board within the time frame of the board, we will also try to make summaries of the board meetings available on the guild’s Telegram channel in both English and Finnish.

6. Equality in events

6.1 Accessibility

Guild events will be accessible, unless venue restrictions prevent this – for example, many of the facilities hired from AYY are not accessible. If there are any questions about accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the event organizers to see if there is anything that can be done to facilitate access.

At Guild events, efforts will be made to indicate if there are flashing lights and/or loud noises at the event and to limit these. Where possible, efforts will be made to limit these to specific areas within the event space/area.

6.2. Sauna events

If it is sensible from the perspective of the organization of the event, participants are asked anonymously about their willingness to take different sauna shifts.

For guild events, swimsuits will be worn in the sauna. You may go naked in the sauna if you are sure that this is suitable for other sauna-goers, or if you have made a separate agreement with the event organizer for sauna shifts where swimsuits are not compulsory. It is not appropriate to go naked to a hot tub in guild events.

6.3. Alcohol

It must be possible to participate in alcohol-free events organized by the guild in such a way that the experience is not worse than for participants who have consumed alcohol. Non-alcoholic alternatives to alcoholic beverages should (in principle) also be available. If there is desire to organize an event without a non-alcoholic beverage option, the matter must be discussed with the board.

In the guild’s events, there should be no pressure to drink alcohol. For example, event  programmes where alcohol is an integral part of the programme and non-alcoholic participation is not possible should not be organized. In addition, prizes at guild-organized competitions should not, as a rule, be alcoholic, unless there is an equally attractive non-alcoholic prize option.

7. Gender and sexuality

In the guild, others’ gender and sexual identities are respected.  Being a member of a gender and sexual minority may not always be visible and one should not assume the identities of others. For many people, their own identity may also be something they are wary to express.

In the case of sitsis, songleaders have a great responsibility to ensure that everyone participating in the event feels safe and included in the community. When choosing songs for sitsis, it is good to consider the way that different genders or sexualities are represented in the songs – for example, no gender should be objectified or given a higher status than others.

8. Racism and xenophobia

Racism or xenophobia is not in any way acceptable in the guild, and everyone should examine their own attitudes to these issues.

When planning events, it is worth considering whether the event, for example through its theme, perpetuates racist or xenophobic stereotypes. At guild events such as movie nights and reading circles, avoid media that are themselves xenophobic or racist – of course, it is OK to address and examine these topics.

9. Socioeconomic background and status

A person’s socioeconomic background or status should not affect their position in the guild. It is important that people can participate in the guild’s activities free of charge (apart from the membership fee), for example through free events. 

The different financial situations of members of committees or the board should be taken into account when purchasing common items or clothing, and when organizing refreshments. It is good to be open about the financial costs of being a guild official, and especially of being on the board.