The Freshman Period Policy is Not Being Followed

The Freshman Period Policy is Not Being Followed

The Regatta in the lake sjön Sjön during the freshman period in 2012. Photo: Archive/Lukas Norrsell

The Students’ Union at the Department of Technology is not following the freshman period policy that the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, LTH, issued this spring.

The freshmen period was shortened from four to three weeks. The first of these was to be completely free from alcohol. This decision was made by the management of the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, LTH, in a new policy, which was issued during spring this year. The policy was experienced as “a punch in the stomach” by the Students’ Union at the Department of Technology, Teknologkåren, that did not choose to follow the issued policy statement, since they were not allowed to partake in the preparations of the new policy.
“We were against the fact that LTH was trying to regulate the Union’s operations, something they cannot do. Above all, we are critical towards the way in which this new policy was developed. We have felt brushed aside, and, therefore, chosen not to obey certain parts of the policy”, the chairperson of the Students’ Union at the Department of Technology, Sara Gunnarsson, says.
“In some cases, where our organisation shares the same essential views, we have followed the policy. But we have not adhered to everything.”
What did you not adhere to?
“I cannot go into any detail other than the fact that this policy was not supported by us as an organisation. We were not part of the committee that composed the policy, and thus, had no possibility to have a say in the matter.”
What, then, is the meaning of having a policy?
“One wonders. I do not know on what grounds they created it. You will have to ask them about that. Their purpose is theirs alone to stand up for,” Sara Gunnarsson says.

A compromise
According to Elisabet Gersbro-Bülow, department manager of the study counselling organisation at LTH, the Faculty and the Students’ Union managed to reach a compromise.
“They wanted an event that involved alcohol during the first introductory week. Something we did not contradict,” she says.
In what way have you ascertained that the policy is being followed?
“We have not had any inspections. That is hard to do. But I am full of admiration when it comes to the freshmen supervisors; they have done a fantastic job. If the phös-people have felt that things have not been done correctly, they have taken their responsibility. Of course, the use of alcohol has occurred anyway.”
“If someone, for example, becomes highly intoxicated, the phös-people and the phaddrar have dealt with the situation in an exemplary manner. They reel in the situation and, in such cases, they follow the intoxicated person home,” Elisabet Gersbro-Bülow says.

Sara Gunnarsson also thinks that the freshmen period at LTH has worked well thus far.
“We do continuous evaluation. Hence, it is hard to say exactly how it has turned out, and what reactions have been brought forward now, during the very first week,” Sara Gunnarsson says.

A new policy
For a long time, the Faculty of Engineering, LTH, and the Students’ Union at the Department of Technology have had a good relationship and cooperation concerning the freshmen weeks at LTH. This autumn, both parties will sit down to reach an agreement.
“This spring we felt brushed aside, which had consequences in our professional relationship. At the same time, we have succeeded in compromising a little, and things are moving in the right direction now. We share the same views concerning many things. Therefore, it is important that we compile a mutual policy,” Sara Gunnarsson says.
“In my opinion, we have managed to recreate a good relationship. We absolutely want the freshmen period at LTH to be as good as it possibly can be. Therefore, LTH and the Students’ Union will work jointly to produce a mutual policy by the end of September,” Elisabet Gersbro-Bülow says.


Text: Viktor Drangnell-Ek
Translation: Richard Helander

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