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Green League still biggest in the Council

Independent coalitions increased their share of seats in Tamy´s Council of Representatives for the third time in a row. This year´s vote gave 23 seats to political coalitions and 17 seats to independent coalitions.

However, there were no significant changes to the balance of power in the Council. The Green League held its place as the largest group followed by Viva (Green Left) with six seats. The biggest loser were the National Coalition students with the loss of two seats.

Of the 13 coalitions that took part in the elections only the anti-capitalist Radica was left with no seats.

Only a slight turnout increase

3,127 students voted in the Council election setting the turnout at 24.38 percent of all those eligible to vote. The turnout only increased by about one percentage unit from the last election regardless of the new internet voting system.

Instead, there was a heavy increase in advance voting. In the last election two years ago, only about two percent of votes were cast in advance. Now the number climbed up to almost half of all votes. It seems that internet advance voting did not wake many sleepers but urged active voters to switch from the ballot to the web.

Campaigning seems to have moved to the internet too. There was only a single campaign ad in Aviisi and few letters to the editor.

“Neither were there many posters around campus. I guess the campaigning has moved to Facebook and other virtual worlds," comments Tamy Secretary General, Kati Rajala.

Generally campaign ads have never been the main way to reach voters in student union elections. They tend to be friend elections where people vote for people they know.

Independents going strong nationally

On a national scale, student union election results were similar to Tamy´s. Independents increased their share of seats slightly compared to the last elections two years ago. Compared to other student unions Tamy is still markedly political. In Tamy´s Council independents have a 42.5 percent share of seats whereas nationally their share is 64.8 percent.

Of the political groups the National Coalition and the Social Democrats lost seats with the Centre keeping its old seats and the Green League and the Left Alliance gaining seats. The National Coalition held its place as the largest political group. The Left Alliance climbed past the Social Democrats taking its place as the fourth largest political group.

Campaign emails disapproved

Tamy´s central election committee had to discuss the rules of campaign advertising after it received complaints of email ads sent by two candidates.

At least two candidates sent campaign emails to people who did not know the candidates. The committee did not set any consequences to the candidates in question as it is impossible to control emails sent from one individual to another. However, questions were raised as to how the candidates had collected the email addresses they sent campaign ads to. Campaigning on university email lists is forbidden. Both of the candidates in question were elected to the new Council.

Tamy´s budget tightening next year

Tamy´s membership fee will go up six euros next autumn but the planned increase will not be enough to balance the Student Union´s budget.

Of the six euros, three go to Tamy and the other three to FSHS medical fees. To completely balance the budget an increase of 7.30 euros to Tamy´s share of the membership fee would be neccessary. According to the FSHS, their three-euro increase will not carry very far either.

“Our problem is that we are looking at things one year at a time when we should be planning for at least five years," states Tamy Secretary General, Kati Rajala.

The current membership fee is 79 euros, of which 35 euros go to FSHS. Next autumn the membership fee will be 85 euros with an FSHS share of 38 euros. Over the last few years, Tamy´s expenses have been going up especially because of personnel costs.

Tamy will get through this and the next year with surplus made around the turn of the millennium but in the next few years we will need to decide whether to increase the membership fee more or cut down on services.

The third option would be to create new sources of income. After next year Tamy will still have half million euros in savings and from time to time there has been talk of investing those savings.

Nationally Tamy´s membership fee is below average. The average membership fee of Finnish student unions this year was 82 euros.

University parking a mess

There is a hard fight going over university parking spaces. Cars are parked against regulations in accessible parking spaces in front of Pinni B, left in spaces paid by others, and in places where they block emergency access ways.

There are 650 permitted parking spaces on campus. According to Taina Tuomenoja from university Facilities Management, there are still many ten-euro permits for sale.

“The parking chaos is always worst at beginning of term when the news students come in. The permit system might not be clear to them at first. Another explanation used is hurry but often the reason seems to be sheer negligence."

Additional problems in parking discipline are sometimes caused by parkers from outside the university.

According to Tuomenoja the only solution to the parking problems is increased control. Parking control on campus is the responsibility of the Tampere City Parking Control and traffic wardens make “irregularly irregular" visits to campus.

University Facilities Management has asked the Parking Control Office to send traffic wardens to campus more often.

Translations: Aatu Lehtovaara

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