Harassment case guidelines of the Guild of Architecture

The Guild of Architecture does not tolerate harassment in any form. The Guild is an open and equal community where everyone is accepted and included regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, or any other characteristic. The Guild is constantly evolving, and its primary mission is to ensure its members feel safe and welcome at all Guild events.


Harassment appears in various forms in different environments, and it can be both visible and unnoticable. The experience of harassment is subjective, meaning what is offensive, distressing, and considered harassment varies from person to person. What should be noted is an individual’s personal experience of the situation.


The Guild of Architecture has harassment contact persons each year who can be reached out to in cases of harassment. Reported cases will be handled according to the wishes of the person reaching out. The harassment contact persons of the Guild of Architecture are committed to handling harassment cases confidentially and with respect for all parties involved.


At all Guild events the event organizer is responsible, but addressing harassment and creating a safe environment is the responsibility of every guild member and event participant. In handling cases, the aim is to take well thought out and low-profile measures to ensure that the situation remains confidential and primarily between the involved parties


What to do in cases of harassment?

1: If you feel safe and capable on the spot, talk to the person harassing and ask them to stop.

2: Let the event organizer(s)/a harassment contact person know about the situation or fill in an anonymous Forms: https://forms.gle/M2JUH58BejjfQ8wp8

3: With the event organizer(s)/a harassment contact person, go through what happened. Try to listen to their advice on how to take action.


In cases of emergency call 112.


Harassment contact person

The task of the harassment contact person (häry) is to be the first to address all approaches from individuals participating in Guild events regarding potential harassment cases. At every Guild event, there are harassment contact persons or responsible individuals whose role is to inform about the principles of a safe space to participants and provide support in moments of crisis. The Guild’s harassment contact person can also be contacted after events for post examination of situations. The harassment contact person is prepared to discuss objectively with parties involved in the harassment case and facilitate support for them. If the action of the harasser requires further discussion with regards to the Guild, the harassment contact person participates in the investigation process. The role of the harassment contact person is always confidential, and handled cases are not disclosed to outsiders unless otherwise specified or required.


How to reach out to a harassment contact person


You can contact any of the Guild’s harassment contact persons regarding harassment. At the beginning of Guild events, the contact persons will provide their contact information and methods of reaching them in cases of harassment. The harassment contact persons are ready to answer any questions regarding harassment situations and the follow-up procedures within the Guild’s violation process, if they are not clear. You can ask the contact persons questions even if you don’t have a harassment case to report. You can also reach out anonymously through a form. The harassment contact persons strive to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible, but they may not be able to respond immediately.


Discussing cases of harassment


All discussions between the harassment contact person, the person who experienced harassment, or other individuals involved in the event are confidential and remain private. The harassment contact person will not share any information or take action without the consent of the person who experienced harassment.

The harassment contact persons are volunteers of the Guild, similar to other actives. It is important to also respect their requests on how the matter is handled. If a harassment contact person does not have the resources to handle a case, they may ask you to contact another harassment contact person. Harassment contact persons may also seek permission to discuss the case with other harassment contact persons or, for example, a member of the Guild’s board if they need support in resolving the situation.

Harassment contact persons may discuss among themselves broader harassment-related issues within the Guild or among Guild members, as long as individual-specific details are not disclosed.


For members of the Guild of Architecture in cases of harassment

  • Harassment is not the fault of the person who experiences it, and you don’t have to deal with it alone. It’s important that incidents of harassment come to the attention of the harassment contact persons.
  • If you find yourself the target of harassment or witness harassment, try to communicate to the harasser that you want them to stop.
  • It’s always better to step forward in the situation rather than stand by, even if you’re not sure of the right approach. If you don’t want to confront the situation alone, you can do it together with a friend.
  • If you receive criticism about your own actions, approach it constructively.
  • If you observe harassment at an event, you can contact the event organizer or, if present, a harassment contact person. The event organizer can help in resolving the situation.
  • You can also report a harassment incident through an anonymous form. The responses are handled by the Guild’s harassment contact persons, and you can either leave your name or remain anonymous.
  • You can always contact the Guild or AYY’s harassment contact persons. You can reach out even if you’re unsure whether the situation you’ve encountered qualifies as harassment.
  • If the situation requires further investigation, it’s advisable to retain any relevant social media conversations related to the incident. However, sharing them publicly is not recommended.
  • If the harassment incident meets the criteria of a crime, contact the police. It’s the police’s responsibility to determine if a crime has occurred. You can ask a harassment contact person for support in filing a police report.

Follow-up procedures in regards to the Guild

The board of the Guild of Architecture will be informed about harassment cases only if the case requires follow-up procedures. In cases where the issue involves a Guild active or a board member, higher officials like AYY or Teekkarijaosto may be contacted. All cases are handled individually according to the following protocols.


Discussion with the harassment contact person or board member


Depending on the situation, one of the Guild’s harassment contact person or a board member will discuss with the parties involved in the case. After that they will decide on how the situation will be resolved.


The case can be brought up for discussion among the board of the Guild of Architecture, however, it would be anonymous. 


Written notice


The harassment contact person, together with the board, issues a written warning to the offender of the harassment. This warning is also recorded in a separate Guild archive that only the harassment contact persons and the board have the right to access. Information about the warning may be shared with the responsible parties for events when necessary in the context of event organization.

The warning is given for a specific period but not exceeding five years.


Banning from Guild duties


In the case that a Guild active exploits their position or behaves inappropriately, the board can suspend the person from Guild responsibilities. If making use of one’s position and power is related to a specific role, the board may choose to remove the person from that position but not directly from all Guild duties. The removal will last for a situation-specific period, but not exceeding two years.


Additionally, a written warning will be given to the individual.


Banning from joining Guild activities


The Guild’s board, with the harassment contact person, has the authority to ban participation in Guild-organized activities from an individual who has been reported of harassment. If events are organized in collaboration with others (i.e. with other Guilds), they too must be informed that the individual in question is not allowed to participate in the activity.

Additionally, a written warning is issued, and a banishment from Guild responsibilities is carried through. The board may, by unanimous decision or with a ¾ majority vote at a Guild meeting, choose to overturn the decision if desired.


Expulsion from the Guild


The Guild board can expel a member who has seriously offended the rules of the Guild of Architecture. The individual in question, however, has the right to explain themselves. 


In addition a written warning will be given.


Other notes


In 2023, in addition to the harassment contact persons, the Chair of the Guild is involved in developing harassment prevention measures. This includes discussion on procedures for resolving matters, acting as a communication link between the Guild’s board and the harassment contact persons, and regular communication regarding the effectiveness of the harassment contact persons. You can contact the Chair via email, if desired: puheenjohtaja@arkkitehtikilta.fi


Harassment in Academic surroundings

Aalto University expects responsible and respectful behavior from its community members. Aalto stands by ethical principles, which you can read about more from here: https://www.aalto.fi/fi/aalto-yliopisto/eettiset-periaatteet-arvot-kaytantoon

If you experience harassment or inappropriate treatment during teaching or in a study-related situation, for example, by another student, try to communicate with the person involved, if possible, to express your dissatisfaction with their behavior and instruct them to stop. Report the situation to the lecturer or a staff member who has the responsibility to address such issues. If the harassment or inappropriate behavior continues, you can contact the academic affairs coordinator of your school (ARTS: Iiris Kauppila).


If you experience harassment or inappropriate treatment during teaching or in a study-related situation by a staff member, try to communicate with the person involved, if possible, to express your dissatisfaction with their behavior and instruct them to stop. If the individual behaving inappropriately is a staff member of the Department of Architecture, you can reach out to the head of the Department of Architecture (Pirjo Sanaksenaho) about the matter. Also, contact the academic affairs coordinator of your school (ARTS: Iiris Kauppila).