Science - December 1, 2005

Why no English?

This Tuesday, the long-awaited official handing over of the rectorship finally took place. I’m glad that the University also realised that it’s a shame to let a rector leave without a decent goodbye.

It was nice that there were so many students present at the ceremony, but it was a pity that this ceremony was not understandable (and thus accessible) for international students: everything was in Dutch only, like during the opening of the academic year and that was always the intention. The reason given was that ‘there won’t be international students present anyway’. Of course not: why would you attend a two-hour ceremony that you can’t understand anyhow?
I would have thought that the presence of international students and other guests at official ceremonies would be regarded as obvious for a university that regards itself as an ‘internationally leading knowledge institute’, and where 27 percent of the students are international. This year’s dies celebration went very well in English, but I think (and hope) that more is yet to come. Or will our attachment to the Dutch language prove stronger than internationalisation? / Cathelijne Stoof, Progressive Students Fraction (PSF)