The instructions were approved by decision of the Vice President on 3 November 2015 and entered into effect on 15 November 2015.
The Aalto Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) approved principles of responsible behaviour for the University environment (i.e. the Code of Conduct) on 19 May 2015. According to the AAC decision, further provisions on implementation of the Code and on the procedures for solving conflicts and dealing with disruption of University operations will be issued by the President or person delegated by the President as necessary.
The present guidelines deal with the investigation and means of resolving suspected cases of disruption and misconduct affecting students and learning. The guidelines focus on safety, prevention and how to deal appropriately with problem situations.
A student who feels subjected to inappropriate conduct or other conflicts that interfere with course studies (problems in group work, for example) may directly tell the harassing or disruptive person to stop and that their behaviour is unacceptable. The person may have been unaware of the offensiveness of his or her actions. Should the misconduct or conflict continue, the student should first contact the teacher-in-charge of the course to resolve the situation. If necessary, the teacher may request the help of an investigator. The investigator is an academic affairs manager or other individual assigned to investigate matters involving student misconduct or students who have been the target of misconduct.
The student should write down what occurred, when it took place and what people were present at the time. It is also worth keeping all emails or other messages. Documentation facilitates the investigation of the matter.
A student who feels subjected to misconduct from a teacher, another staff member or a student, or who is experiencing problems with teaching arrangements or with other Aalto operations which have a bearing on student rights protection issues may contact the investigator for the School (ordinarily the School’s academic affairs manager). If the charge is directed against a teacher or other member of staff, the investigator will inform the HR manager and arrange an investigation with HR (the sustainable well-being at work model (aalto.fi, login required))
When necessary, the investigator will hear from the different parties to the incident and inform them about the proceedings and the findings of the report. The investigator may also arrange meetings between the parties. A University psychologist, student healthcare (FSHS) representative, legal counsel, well-being specialist or campus chaplain may assist in the investigation when necessary.
University employees are bound by the obligation of non-disclosure set forth in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (Laki viranomaisten toiminnan julkisuudesta 621/1999). Personal details shall be treated with care, and the matter will be communicated only to those persons who deal with the matter as part of their duties or who may provide information on the matter. The privacy of students is protected by not disclosing their identity unless necessary. The plaintiff may be required to disclose his/her identity to those involved the matter. To safeguard the rights of other involved persons and resolve the matter, it may be necessary to disclose the identity of the plaintiff to the person named in the complaint. If the plaintiff requests that his/her identity not be disclosed to a particular person, s/he will be informed if such disclosure is nevertheless necessary for resolution of the matter. It may be impossible to process a complaint raised by anonymous contacts.
The investigator will retain correspondence and other documents pertaining to the matter until s/he deems the matter resolved. If the process produces no such documents for the archive, the investigator will retain information on concluded investigations only to the extent necessary for the execution of his or her duties and for any follow-up measures on the matter.
The primary aim is to rectify the faults that are discovered. Where a teacher or other staff member is deemed culpable of mistreatment or harassment, the labour law actions to be taken are decided by the Dean of School, or if a shared services member, by the HR director. A student deemed culpable of misconduct by disrupting teaching, behaving violently or intimidatingly, or committing other breaches of university order may be sentenced to disciplinary measures under the Universities Act (558/2009) (see below).
Teachers in whose estimation a situation presents an immediate threat to the life or limb of a person should follow the guidelines at Link 2, ‘Procedures in case of emergency’ (see end of document) instead of these guidelines.
If you encounter a threatening individual
If the situation poses no immediate threat, follow the directions below as appropriate.
After the incident, proceed as follows:
If the inappropriately behaving individual is an Aalto student, the disciplinary measures mentioned in the Universities Act (558/2009) may be applied. Other measures are decided on a case-by-case basis. If the individual who committed the disruption is an outsider, the responsible actors and possible further measures are decided case-by-case, depending on the situation.
Staff in whose estimation a situation presents an immediate threat to the life or limb of a person should see Section 1.1 of ‘Procedures in case of emergency (aalto.fi, login required)’ (see end of document) instead of these guidelines.
If the situation poses no immediate threat, follow the directions below as appropriate.
If the inappropriately behaving individual is an Aalto student, the disciplinary measures mentioned in the Universities Act (558/2009) may be applied. Other measures are decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the seriousness of the incident. If the individual who committed disturbance is an outsider, the actors responsible for the matter and any further measures are decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the situation.
Regardless of whether a student was asked to leave the site of a teaching event, the student’s right to attend teaching may be suspended for a maximum of three (3) days if there is a risk to the safety of another student or person working in the university due to violence or threats by the student or if teaching and related activities are made unreasonably difficult due to disruptive conduct by the student, according to the Universities Act.
The ban on the right to attend teaching may not continue if the student no longer presents a danger. Independently of any ban on attendance, the student may be subject to other disciplinary measures.
The President decides on issuing a warning to the student and the Board decides on suspension, as stipulated in the Universities Act. The procedure is to follow the applicable guidelines for dealing with cases of cheating or fraud. Administratively, the measures taken (warnings or suspensions) may be initiated only by the University (the Dean or President). The person who was the target of the misconduct and others involved, except for the suspect, is not a proper party to the disciplinary aspects of the matter and so cannot appeal the disciplinary decision.
Aalto’s use of mediation for work-community conflicts has been expanded to include conflicts between 1) staff and students, and 2) students themselves, when the conflict pertains to studies or study support services. Mediation does not extend to conflicts pertaining to students’ free time.
Aalto’s internally trained mediators are used in the mediation. A representative of Aalto University Student Union (AYY), student healthcare (FSHS) or an Aalto chaplain may be included as support.
In the course of investigating a suspected case of harassment or inappropriate conduct it may emerge that one of the parties involved should seek healthcare services for their own health or security. If the matter involves a student within the FSHS student healthcare system, the academic affairs manager will arrange the necessary treatment referral negotiations. If the student does not agree to the recommended treatment, the academic affairs manager provides the student with the contact information for student healthcare so that he or she may seek treatment independently.
The necessary background information is collected for the referral negotiations and the participants are sent written invitations with information about the participants and the goal of the meeting.
Participants in the negotiations include: 1) the student, 2) an FSHS representative, 3) representative(s) of the School, and 4) a support person for the student, if needed. The FSHS representative serves as chair of the negotiations. It is recommended that, in order to expedite the treatment referral, students should contact FSHS themselves already before the negotiations for a review of the situation and a treatment plan. The content of the visit(s) is confidential.
Student healthcare takes an inventory of what treatment modes are suitable for the student. If the issue involves student misuse of substances, the negotiations include making a treatment commitment.