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University of Helsinki To Lay Off a Thousand People (yle.fi) 308

jones_supa writes: University of Helsinki, the place where Linus Torvalds got his degree as well, will reduce staff by 980 people, with 570 being laid off by the end of 2017. In addition, the university will reorganize and incorporate certain divisions including continuing education. Professors, teachers and researchers are criticizing the cuts, which coincide with the university's administrative and educational overhaul. The staff cuts reflect the government's drastic funding cuts to education, which plays one part in the effort of trying to help the difficult economic situation of today's Finland. The university estimates that of the 980 positions, terminations during this coming spring will account for 570 positions. Of the employees to be made redundant, 75 are teaching and research staff and 495 other staff. The rest of the cuts will be spread over the coming years.
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University of Helsinki To Lay Off a Thousand People

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  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @08:52PM (#51385653)
    with the layoffs.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I get it that Torvalds went to school there etc, but this isn't any different than any other school that hundreds of other developers have gone to that have had staff cuts. Those don't make /.

    Why is this here at all?

    • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Thursday January 28, 2016 @09:22AM (#51387465)

      I get it that Torvalds went to school there etc, but this isn't any different than any other school that hundreds of other developers have gone to that have had staff cuts.

      You clearly do not understand the context or the background to this, so allow me to explain why this is relevant. Firstly, the university of Helsinki is THE university here. Sure, we have a few other major ones and they're decent, but we're a nation of 5,4 million people, the university of Helsinki is the bedrock and pinnacle of our much praised educational system. Gutting it means they're making a huge dent in the higher education of the entire country. Secondly, the cuts are nationwide, they're cutting across the board from higher education, the university of Helsinki is just getting the hardest hit as it is the biggest.

      But most importantly, this is about much more than the simple cuts themselves. This is about politicians fucking us over in every way imaginable and betraying their own principles on which they ran for the parliament in a record time. We had elections last year, and one of the biggest promises made by the winning centre-right coalition was that no matter how tough cuts they'd have to make, they'd stay off the education. Our current prime minister and minister of treasury even posed in twitter pictures with students with cards saying 'no cuts'.

      35 days. It took 35 days from the elections to them start suggesting cuts. Then they introduced tuition fees for exchange students coming from outside the Union. Now, this raised concern since the worry was that once the concept of tuition fees has been introduced, the next step would be to start suggesting everyone should pay them. This is a major deal as universities have always been free to attend to for those who have the grades to get in. Without free universities, we likely wouldn't have risen from a fairly backwater nation that suffered a civil war and the 2nd world war to a first world post-industrialized welfare state in less than a century. Without free higher education it's likely we would never have produced people such as Torvalds, companies such as Nokia and Rovio etc. Free higher education is at the very core of what this nation is supposed to be built on, which is why it is in our constitution:

      Section 16 - Educational rights

      Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge. Provisions on the duty to receive education are laid down
      by an Act.

      The public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone equal opportunity to
      receive other educational services in accordance with their ability and special needs, as well as the opportunity to
      develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship.
      The freedom of science, the arts and higher education is guaranteed.

      When they announced the cuts they promised they would never expand the tuition fees. Yet, unsurprisingly, one MP just proposed that today: the introduction of nationwide tuition fees and simultaneous cutting of student benefits. At the same time they cut the amount of corporate taxes MORE than they cut universities (the total combined cuts to education are about 600 million euros). They're literally trying to wipe their ass on the constitution that we have, pissing on a fundamental cornerstone of well being in our country, and lying through their teeth while doing so. They say they have to do these cuts to save the economy. But destroying the basis for all intellectual capital in this country is not going to do anything else than destroy the economy in the long term. But they do not seem to care. And to make matters worse, the universities appear to have given up any sort of resistance to this and are allowing this all top happen with very little protest.

      In my life so far, never have I been so angry and sad at the same time, nor have I EVER felt this betrayed and fucked over by our elected representatives. They're a fucking national disgrac

      • Perhaps the cuts are being made to improve education. I notice that a significant number of the positions being eliminated are non-teaching. Sometimes thick layers of administrative bloat have to be sloughed off to improve an entity. It would certainly improve education in the US to prune administrative staff at many schools.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CptPicard ( 680154 )

        In other words, this is exactly what I expected it to be -- butthurt lefties trying to raise up negative sentiments abroad, even when the UH really doesn't mean anything to your average slashdot reader. The "ooh, look at how we are perceived abroad now!" tactic is typical. In reality, nobody cares, but just might end up with the notion that something awful is happening in Finland.

        I am a UH CS dept alumnus just like Torvalds is, but if something's got to give in our current economic situation, something's go

  • Refugees (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:03PM (#51385697)

    Well they need money to pay for all those refugees. Population replacement is not cheap!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by p51d007 ( 656414 )
      THAT was my thought exactly! I'm surprised all of Europe isn't bankrupt from the influx of "refugees". Should have sent them all the oil rich Saudi, Omen, Qatar, but they sent them all over Europe to spread that ISIS crap. They are demanding free this and free that.
      • but they sent them all over Europe to spread that ISIS crap.

        Because ISIS communicates only by physically being next the person they wish to communicate with...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jandersen ( 462034 )

      I, as a Dane - well, ex-Dane now - feel deeply saddened by the continuing trend in Scandinavia towards this narrow-minded duck-pondism (read The Ugly Duckling if you don't know what that means). We used to be the bleeding edge in liberal-mindedness and tolerance, and now we become ever more xenophobic and try to blame 'the others', 'the foreigners' for what is basically down to poor management and lack of foresight by consecutive governments.

      Firstly, the myth that immigration costs us too much: in the short

      • Re:Refugees (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday January 28, 2016 @07:56AM (#51387251)

        yes, it can be a burden to integrate newcomers into society, no one's denying it. In the long term, though, these people become strong contributors to society, at least if we allow them.

        I think that's the rub, though, and in particular with Muslim immigrants. They hang onto a religiously-driven cultural conservatism and reject the more liberal cultural values of their host country, self-sorting into ghettos. There's an expectation the country to which they have immigrated needs to change its norms and laws to accommodate their religious and cultural preferences. They see the host country's lack of willingness to change for their sake as discrimination. This leads to unemployment, poverty and lately, a tendency to be attracted to radicalization.

        Your process would work more like you expect with immigrants who were either willing to abandon their cultural and religious practices that were incompatible with their host country or already had a culture and values similar to the host country. Even then I recognize that it's not easy, but at least you obtain a relatively rapid integration that results in the economic gains.

        But even then what you're arguing for is that Scandinavia needs and wants is economic expansion via labor pool expansion, not that there's something missing from it socially and culturally that the contributions of conservative Islam. By and large those qualities tend to result in conflict and social schisms which are counter-productive to economic growth and social stability.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The cost of the refugee crisis is orders of magnitude lower than what is needed to keep funding universities as they were previously. It's also an acute problem, where as university funding is every year.

      The cause of this is the desire to run a budget surplus. That generally excludes short term costs like dealing with refugees. It's pointless saying "we will lay off 1000 people this year because some refugees arrived, and then once they are settled in a few years we can just hire them again". Governments bo

  • Usually these articles are accompanied by a positive statement about how these 980 people will be replaced by bots and cashless society
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:16PM (#51385743)
    It sounds like most of the cuts don't affect the people who are fulfilling the core mission of the university, the ones who teach, do research and advise the students. US universities have hired so many administrators that they need more administrators just to keep track of all the administratoring they do. When there are budget cuts, it's administrators who draw up the cost-cutting plans, so it turns out as one would expect. At least in the US, universities can just keep raising tuition. In Finland that is impossible.
    • As someone working as support staff in a European university I have the exact opposite experience.
      It's the professors that cut up their portion of the budget and they have been starving anything they could before even thinking of touching their own, their research or their assistants.
      As a result we have more tenured professors now than we had 7 years ago but a lot less support personnel.
      At the same time government (who provides the majority of our funds) is pushing us to provide more "flexible education" an
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The cuts do affect core staff. If they need equipment setting up, they will have to waste their own valuable time doing it instead of doing actual teaching. They will have to take over administration of their classes, instead of doing actual teaching. Support staff and administrators serve an important function sometimes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:19PM (#51385753)

    A few months ago we were told that Finland is doing so well that everybody is going to get a basic income...

    http://politics.slashdot.org/story/15/10/31/2125226/finland-begins-to-shape-basic-income-proposal [slashdot.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let me correct you:
      A few months ago we were told that Finland's pre-existing welfare system could be overhauled into a guaranteed basic income, and save money in the process.

      The welfare costs are already there. Guaranteed basic income reduces the administrative costs by removing the need for the government to investigate and decide whether or not you deserve the money; thus either allowing the government to save money or increase the overall welfare payout to citizens without increasing any taxes.

  • Citizens come last (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zapadnik ( 2965889 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:20PM (#51385761)

    In 2015 Finland accepted 15,000 more asylum seekers at a cost of EU 15,000 per head. That works out to EU 225 million *more* in 2015 due to some legitimate asylum seekers mixed in with a lot of opportunistic economic migrants:
    http://sputniknews.com/europe/... [sputniknews.com]

    Imagine if a portion of that money had gone to existing citizens instead - and the asylum seekers kept closer to their point of origin while receiving the other portion for their care - it's cheaper to help them closer to their point of origin, like in a neighboring country.

    Too bad the politicians and bureaucrats in the West always consider their own citizens and tax payers last when deciding where to spend money taken from those very same tax payers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine if a portion of that money had gone to existing citizens instead - and the asylum seekers kept closer to their point of origin while receiving the other portion for their care - it's cheaper to help them closer to their point of origin, like in a neighboring country.

      Watch out, or the "progressives" will start calling you a Nazi, or Hitler, or xenophobic, or whatever other hackneyed, overused, erroneous label they use these days in an attempt to terrorize good people into complying with the agenda of the globalists.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      re "and the asylum seekers kept closer to their point of origin while receiving the other portion for their care - it's cheaper to help them closer to their point of origin, like in a neighboring country."
      Yes they get to keep their own language, medical care, education, traditions, faiths going and are ready for the very short trip back home when hostilities cease.
      A common climate and then the NGO"s can help with rebuilding that nation in need in a very direct way.
      No funds are then just wasted on very
      • So basically create a new Palestine and it will all work out better at least until we lose interest or their makeshift government become corrupt and waste the funds?

        There are problems with all the scenarios.Even putting boots on the ground and removing the threat causing the refugees will have long term issues whether we are successful or not.

    • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Thursday January 28, 2016 @01:29AM (#51386533)

      Imagine if a portion of that money had gone to existing citizens instead - and the asylum seekers kept closer to their point of origin while receiving the other portion for their care - it's cheaper to help them closer to their point of origin, like in a neighboring country.

      It's a little more complicated than that. The point of foreign aid is not just to feel good about helping others, it's a National Security prevention measure. You can let other humans rot, and all they will do is find a way to kill you and take your stuff. Or you can try and help them out of a hole and hopefully they'll leave you alone, or even better become prosperous enough to buy your products and boost your economy.
      There is no cheap option, you either lots of money, or a lot more.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is the situation in Syria and northern Iraq: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... [bbc.co.uk]

      Remind me where the economic migrants are coming from again.

    • This is by design.

      The native western population is in decline (because raising a family is expensive). The global elite are looking at importing future -dependent- voters so they can vote for the same assholes that keep them into indentured servitude in the first place. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • The staff cuts reflect the government's drastic funding cuts to education, which plays one part in the effort of trying to help the difficult economic situation of today's Finland.

    I have it on good authority - years of reading Slashdot posts - that European countries are enlightened, problem-free utopias. Someone must've made a mistake and replaced "America" with "Finland" when writing this. Stupid editors missed it again!

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:22PM (#51385767) Homepage Journal
    What is happening at the lower ends of society?
    Why is the EU allowing itself to be flooded with people with few or no skills that will need long term generational support if it cant even look after its own best and brightest?
    If a nation is so 'poor' why accept more poor people in who will need funds from a government who cant their own fund higher education?
    Time for some national interest and ensuring educational funding is placed above EU policy.
    Finland was able to keep the Soviet Union out, time to look after its own funding again and stop wasting limited funds on the EU's rapid population growth projects.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tsotha ( 720379 )

      Why is the EU allowing itself to be flooded with people with few or no skills that will need long term generational support if it cant even look after its own best and brightest?

      Because the people running the EU (I'm looking at you, Angela Merkel) have decided the solution to low birth rates is the mass importation of people from other countries. It's cultural suicide. I think they've pretty much realized the whole thing was a bad idea, but where to go from here? The immigrants aren't leaving.

      • Because the people running the EU (I'm looking at you, Angela Merkel) have decided the solution to low birth rates is the mass importation of people from other countries.

        So what's your solution?

        It's cultural suicide.

        Interesting. In my experience the most multicultural cities in the word tend to be the most interesting and best to live in.
        http://theculturetrip.com/nort... [theculturetrip.com]
        I've be to all of these places except Sao Paolo, and all of them were excellent places (except maybe LA, which is more to do with the car oriented sprawl that is very tourist unfriendly)

      • Why is the EU allowing itself to be flooded with people with few or no skills that will need long term generational support if it cant even look after its own best and brightest?

        Because the people running the EU (I'm looking at you, Angela Merkel) have decided the solution to low birth rates is the mass importation of people from other countries. It's cultural suicide. I think they've pretty much realized the whole thing was a bad idea, but where to go from here? The immigrants aren't leaving.

        Sweden is sending some 80,000 back:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programme... [bbc.co.uk]

      • but where to go from here? The immigrants aren't leaving.

        I for one am interested in what will happen this year now that the Netherlands have the EU presidency. They don't appear to be quite as welcoming as other nations which pretty much the first thing said was the biggest topic of 2016 will be to get asylum seeker population under control.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Why is the EU allowing itself to be flooded with people with few or no skills that will need long term generational support if it cant even look after its own best and brightest?

      This has nothing to do with the economic situation in Finland. You're just using it as an excuse to bring up a pet issue.

  • by unencode200x ( 914144 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:33PM (#51385809)
    This sort of smells of the old political trick of announcing a fire station will close. It gets a lot of people together against the bad government closing the fire station which leads to a tax increase. Perhaps they're betting on people getting riled up and getting more public or private funding. If they were hurting that much financially the layoffs would happen sooner unless there are some legal reasons not to.
  • by jdwolfe ( 4433569 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:26PM (#51385985)
    Let's lay off 1,000 Finnish Professors and Academic staff but let in millions of Muslim Syrian migrants that are going to immediately be placed in publicly funded houses and food provided by the Finnish Citizens. What's more important, the working class and Finnish educators or Muslim opportunists posing as Syrian refugees?
  • A Very Sad Evolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:02PM (#51386135)

    University of Helsinki, my heart cries.

    In the US we have witnessed the rise of the "Administrative University".

    The Administrative University exists without classes, without research, without service to anyone or anything.

    The Administrative University has a state appointed Board of Regents, a President (The Champion of the Board of Regents), Vice Presidents, Vice Vice Presidents, Superior Lawyers, Middle Layers, Submissive Layers, Patent Office Administrative Staff, Provosts, Vice Provosts, Deans.

    The Administrative University exists to feed itself.

    Teachers? NO.

    Classes? NO.

    Research? NO.

    The Administrative University exists for itself and nothing else because it syphons money from the State and Federal Governments.

    The Administrative University exists to uphold the lifestyles of the Board of Regents and Their Champion, The University President.

    The Administrative Staff are the human shields to endure the slings and arrows of sexual lawsuits and felony complaints against The
    Champion of the Board of Regents, The University President.

    Example: The University of Alaska

    Ha ha

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:22PM (#51386213)

    With Linux replacing the infrastructure servers, they're finding they need only one admin per 100 systems, not one admin per 10.

    I've actually seen this sort of thing happen....

  • Euro (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2016 @12:08AM (#51386371)

    As in Greece, Spain, Italy, etc etc., the inability of the economy to recover is the consequence of adopting a currency that is run to benefit Germany instead of your own country.

  • laughing my ass off. Told ya so.

The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.

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