Science - July 1, 2004

University council goes English

Not only the Student Council but also the University Council (Gezamenlijke Vergadering GV), which is composed of students and university employees, plans to conduct its meetings in English. The Executive Board is in favour of this move, but says it is too expensive to translate all information required for meetings into English immediately.

According to WUR chairman Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen, a selection will have to be made initially of the information that it is most important for students to have before meetings, and this will be translated. “I can imagine that the students are not interested in everything,” was his comment. In the future, however, according to Dijkhuizen all information will be provided in English.

Francien Peterse, one of the PSF representatives on the student council, attacked Dijkhuizen on the subject during the GV on Tuesday 29 June. “Everyone has to be able to participate in a representative body like this, including the international students and employees. As it stands now, you are only passing the workload on to the students on the council who have to translate the information themselves.” Dijkhuizen responded by pointing out the high costs of immediately having everything translated. “It would cost a couple of hundred thousand euros, while everyone is clamouring for more money for education and research.”

In the end the GV reached a compromise. In the coming academic year in consultation with the international students a decision will be reached about which documents can remain in Dutch. The documents that are not translated will be summarised in English.|G.v.H.

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