Faculty councils want to decide for themselves which language they use

The faculty councils of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) and the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) do not intend to conduct meetings in Dutch as the UG wants them to.

The UG’s new language and culture policy states that Dutch should be the main language of communication for all participation bodies. For those who are not sufficiently proficient in the language, interpreters can be provided during meetings. The policy has already been implemented at the university council, which will discuss the document on Thursday.

However, the faculty councils of FSE and FEB are not in favour of this approach. ‘Most of our members are opposed to imposing one language on all of the councils’, says Swarnodeep Homroy, chairman of the FEB faculty council. ‘Each council should be able to choose the language they want to use in their day-to-day operations.’

Mix of languages

In fact, this is already how most participation councils operate. In faculties with many international staff members, the language of communication is a mix of Dutch and English, as seen in the university council and in arts, or predominantly English, as in FEB.

‘Reading this, a transition to Dutch simply isn’t feasible’, says Eva Teuling, chairman of the FSE faculty council. ‘English is our language of communication because there are so many international students.’

Moreover, she says, proficiency in English is a job requirement even at the secretary level at FSE. ‘That’s why we don’t think it’s a problem. And if you don’t know something in English, someone can always help translate for you.’

No change for now

At FEB, the council does not foresee any changes in the language of their meetings for the time being. ‘We have discussed this with our faculty board. Of course, the composition of the council changes over time, but for now we will probably continue in English with this council’, says Homroy.

Likewise, at FSE, the language of communication seems to remain English for now. ‘No official decision has been made on a central level, so for now, we will continue as it is’, says Teuling. ‘I’m not worried, but I hope the UG takes our considerations into account when thinking about this issue.’

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