From mid-October, the University Council will be gathering in English on trial. After several months the council will evaluate the trial’s success, and make a decision whether English will be the new official language in the university’s codetermination council.
The University Council, in its new formation after last spring’s elections, has decided this at the start of September. The reason for this decision is the fact that a non-Dutch speaking student (RSM) and employee (ESE) are a part of this year’s council. Last year’s council also included two non-Dutch speaking student members, but the council then decided to deal with this problem by using an interpreter. With this pilot, the council wants to find out if all the members are able to fully and actively participate in English.
Another important reason for this switch is to make the meetings more accessible for international students. The council didn’t make the switch to English last year because they feared the high level of the debates would decline.
‘Be relaxed about it’
René Karens, chairman of the University Council, wants to be relaxed about the transition from Dutch to English. “In principle, the official language will be English, but if someone wants to make a point, it’s better to make it in Dutch, if necessary, than not making it at all.”
In addition to the consultation meeting with the Executive Board, also the committee meeting about education, research and student affairs will be held in English, because of the two international councilors in that committee. ‘After three completely English meeting cycles, the council will evaluate this working method’, says the council on its website. Moreover, English will only be the official language if the international members are present, or if there are foreign speakers in the crowd.
The most faculty councils have already made the switch to English as the official language during meetings in the meeting documents. RSM, ESE and ESHCC have already made the switch. WG