Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen has issued his decision on a complaint requesting the investigation of the legality of the University Regulations approved by the Transitional Board of Tampere University Foundation sr, which operates as Tampere University. The complaint concerned several aspects, including whether the chair of the Academic Board may be an external person (the Provost).
From the perspective of the provisions in the Universities Act (Yliopistolaki, 558/2009) concerning the composition of the Academic Board, it could be assessed that the personnel groups represented on the Academic Board are specified in the Act, so the scope of the composition cannot be expanded by the University Regulations. However, the Universities Act does not expressly stipulate who shall elect the chair of a foundation university’s Academic Board, who may act as the chair of an Academic Board or that the chair shall be elected from among the members of the Academic Board. From this perspective, it would be possible for the University Regulations to determine this matter. In this regard, the regulations applying to foundation universities differ from the regulations applying to public universities, and no reasoning is offered for this in the material concerning the drafting of the legislation.
The Deputy-Ombudsman did not have sufficient legal grounds to intervene in the course of action taken by the university’s Board. Instead, he deemed it justified to propose that the Ministry of Education and Culture assess whether the Universities Act should be amended to eliminate the foregoing ambiguity relating to the autonomy of universities.
The complaint also concerned two other provisions of the University Regulations, but no action was taken in these regards.
Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen’s decision 1327/2018 is available in full in Finnish on the Ombudsman’s website www.oikeusasiamies.fi.
For more information, please contact Principal Legal Adviser Mikko Sarja, tel. +358 9 432 3364.