Mid Wales

Welsh language row over next Aberystwyth uni chancellor

Aberystwyth university

Campaigners have said it is "appalling" Aberystwyth University is looking to appoint a chancellor who does not have to be fluent in Welsh.

Current chancellor Sir Emyr Jones-Parry is due to end his second term in 2018 and was previously university president and a UK diplomat.

Campaigners believe the job description for his replacement should include fluency in Welsh as a requirement.

The university said it expected the next chancellor to speak Welsh.

"Four of the six-strong selection panel are Welsh speakers and all six members are fully committed to the Welsh language and culture at Aberystwyth University," a spokeswoman said.

She added the job would focus "mainly on ambassadorial and ceremonial duties including graduation".

Image copyright Cardiff University
Image caption New vice chancellor Elizabeth Treasure has agreed to learn Welsh

Hedydd Elias, of the campaign group Ffrindiau Pantycelyn, said: "I think it's utterly appalling that there is no requirement for the next chancellor to be fluent in Welsh and it's very surprising that the university have not included this in the job description.

"As well as being fluent in Welsh, the next chancellor needs to use the Welsh language in everyday work and also respect the Welsh-language community."

The group also hopes one of the next chancellor's priorities would be to re-open Welsh-language halls Pantycelyn by September 2019.

It follows campaigns to instate fluency in Welsh as a requirement for the vice chancellor role, with newly-appointed Elizabeth Treasure agreeing to learn the language.

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