Dr Gareth Rice leaves Finland today

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Dr Gareth Rice, a brave man who highlighted unfair hiring practices in academia, left Finland Saturday and moved to Glasgow. He will be missed by many.

While the path that Dr Rice took is known to many non-Finnish academics, he did something more: Put himself on the line by exposing what he saw as unfair hiring practices by the university.

During July, his stories highlighting what happened appearing in a number of publications like YLE in English and Helsingin Sanomat, the country’s biggest daily.


Dr Gareth Rice. Picture by Christian Thibault.

Dr Rice writes:

I have lost count of the number of brilliant foreign academics who have upped and left this supposedly fair and open Nordic country because they are made to feel belittled and marginalised by a higher education system apparently designed to guarantee that Finns progress the fastest.

Finnish colleagues have given me four different explanations for this. One is foreigners’ difficulties with learning Finnish – from which I am certainly not immune. Another is that Finns trust other Finns and thus prefer to employ them. A third is that some Finns believe that they are more entitled to permanent academic contracts because it is “their” country. But the most surprising reason is that Finnish academics feel insecure and don’t wish to be challenged and undermined by foreign scholars.

Even if one door was closed in this country another opened in Glasgow.

“We will miss him here in Finland,” said Christian Thibault, chairman of Rasmus, an anti-racism NGO, “but with the obligation to continue the good and important work which Gareth has contributed so much.”

We wish him the best of luck and hope that he’ll visit us soon.