No interest (in retrospection and introspection)?

In loving memory, Helsinki University

There was much talk about last years "changes" at the university. Surprisingly, nobody seems to be interested anymore in the topic. At least this is the impression that I first got, when I went to the public hearing event at the Meilahti campus. The lecture hall 1 of Haartman Institute, where the hearing was supposed to take place, was completely empty when I arrived. Because only a handful of people had bothered to show up, the hearing had been moved to a table in the nearby Cafeteria.

Hardly noticed by anyone, a review group has started its work to analyze the "changes" at the University of Helsinki, which took place during the last one and a half years. I guess the idea was to figure out what preventable mistakes have been done. According to this university source*, Jukka Kola, who is the public face for many of the controversial decisions during this period, got to decide himself about the members of the review group. Because of this, the review group will have to be very careful not to appear biased in their report.

Why did so few people participate in something that important? While public hearing events were organized, there was no general announcement that ensured that all employees got to know about these events. Only people following actively the university news* had the chance to see the announcement*, which came on January 27 (more than 3 months later after the decision by the university government to initiate such a review). Most researchers - including myself - are too busy to follow the university news and if it wasn't for other sources, I would not have known about these public hearings either. Among the few participants, I appeared to be the only one from the "researcher" staff group. This disproportionate participation of different staff groups in the public hearings will create already a massive bias. I also doubt that any of those that lost their jobs or whose contracts were not prolonged participated in any of the public hearings. Another, more sinister explanation for the low turnout would be that participation was regarded as being pointless or even counterproductive.

*Not available from the public internet, but only from inside the university.

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