Dear Aalto students of Arts, Design and Architecture,
An article published on Tuesday 17th of September on Long Play (longplay.fi) has come to our attention. The article discusses problems within the Fashion BA programme and the Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design MA Programme at Aalto University. It describes and comments on professors, experiences of students and the overall conditions of both Bachelor of Fashion and Master of Arts in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design programmes in Aalto University.
The associations from the school of Aalto ARTS: TOKYO, Nuoret Designerit, ETL, Guild of Architecture, Vista, SISTA, GRRR, DADA, ViMMA and Kooma want to express their solidarity with the students of the Fashion programmes in reference to the article published on Long Play’s website.
1) The problems described in the article are grave
- The stated actions and behaviours described in the article are unacceptable. They do not belong to a healthy and fair studying environment. Many of the described actions within the study programme are strictly against the Aalto University’s Code of Conduct and good academic practices.
- If the state of student well-being in the Fashion programmes is this poor, it needs to be considered a real and severe issue by Aalto University, regardless of the scale, and even more so if it is happening within a specific minority of the students.
2) We will see action
- We call for Aalto University to start an official investigation on the veracity of the statements in the article.
- We insist, with great urgency, that Aalto University provides a clear action plan that adequately responds to, and resolves, any poor conditions experienced by the fashion students.
3) We will help to clarify the situation
- The associations will gladly work with the management of Aalto University to clarify the situation.
- The purpose of seeking clarification is to ensure that there is no confusion for the student community about what is deemed acceptable or unacceptable behaviour.
As responsible representatives of the student community within the School of Art, Design and Architecture, our shared goal is to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our students to learn in. It is our core principle to safeguard the mental and physical wellbeing of all students. Therefore, we propose to work together with the Dean of the School, in the investigation of the statements made in the aforementioned article, in order to initiate a transparent and reciprocal dialogue between all the parties involved. Hoping to find a satisfactory resolution to the issues voiced by the students, we will ensure the continued support and representation of the student community and their voices within Aalto University.
4) From Aalto University’s Code of Conduct:
- “Aalto is committed to high academic standards, intellectual freedom to teach and learn and a high quality education. Aalto and its teachers treat students, both academically and personally, in a fair manner. All students, in return, take responsibility for their own learning and development and are committed to act consistently with the requirements set down in this Code and other Aalto policies and rules related to education and learning.”
- “In activities related to learning or working at Aalto or representing Aalto, the members of the Aalto community agree to: act honestly and with integrity, respect others regardless of their background, foster open discourse and free exchange of ideas, build mutual trust, and actively care for the safety and well-being of themselves and others”
5) Decisions based on facts
- Articles, such as the one in Long Play, may sway our thinking. However, we must remember to withhold judgement until all facts have been verified and proven to be correct. With this in mind, only then, are we able to ensure the best action is taken to maintain Aalto University’s Code of Conduct and provide a healthy and safe learning environment.
6) Additional comment from a group of active fashion students
- “We hope the peace for studying and working will be ensured to fashion students. We would like to express that we want to be present in order to develop the programme with the university and ensure communication, and good student culture. We also want that the facilities and the quality of the education in our programme remains as high also in the future.”
TOKYO & the ARTS Associations
17th of September 2019