Calls for Cardiff University Students’ Union to appoint fulltime Welsh Language Officer
There are renewed calls for Cardiff University Students’ Union appoint a fulltime Welsh Language Officer.
It has previously rebuffed demands from Welsh speaking students bring it in line with other student unions across Wales by creating the post.
Fresh calls have come ahead of its Annual General Meeting (AGM), when a proposal to create a fulltime Welsh Language Officer will be put forward next week.
A spokesperson on behalf of Cardiff University Students’ Union has claimed that it is not “practical” to expand its Board after a similar proposal was put before the AGM in 2018.
In 2019, its Board, voted to create a committee to conduct a review into the matter, with a report due this month. But this has not happened.
At the moment the student union only has a voluntary Welsh Language Officer who has to juggle their duties with their studies.
Annell Dyfri, the current voluntary Welsh Language Officer told Golwg 360: “More and more Welsh speaking students come to Cardiff University every year, therefore we need to support them and ensure they have a voice.
“Obviously Covid has happened, and that’s their excuse for being slow with the work.
Deio Owen, the treasurer of the Gym Gym (the Welsh language society), who has seconded the proposal to create a fulltime Welsh Language Officer has said it “isn’t fair” that there is a responsibility on students to organise activities and represent students without pay when the role is paid fulltime in three other Welsh universities.
“We don’t feel there’s any representation of the Welsh language at all. They say that there isn’t any money, or that there aren’t enough people calling for it, that the person wouldn’t have work to do. It’s frustrating to be honest”.
A spokesperson on behalf of Cardiff University Students’ Union said: “A vote at the Annual General Meeting in November 2018 called for the creation of an eighth sabbatical officer. The Board of Trustees decided, after consulting with internal and external stakeholders, that expanding the Ruling Board was not practical, on that it could be reasonable to include a Welsh Language Officer as part of the team of seven.
“A number of proposals that included a sabbatical officer for the Welsh language were proposed to students in November 2019, with over 700 students deciding through a democratic vote that they wanted to keep the present structure.
“The AGM came to the conclusion that the Union should undertake a review of the support and representation we give to Welsh speakers and learners, to be conducted over the following 18 months.
“It was expected originally for the review to report to the Annual General Meeting next week, however, the global pandemic and its impact on the institution has prevented it from keeping to the timetable.
“As a result, the new timetable, which has been reviewed in partnership with our Welsh speakers, has been produced and is being followed, in order to report to the Annual General Meeting in November 2022.
“This report can make a range of recommendations to students, which includes if we should have a sabbatical officer to represent Weslh speakers and learners.”
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Cardiff University has always been by far the most Anglicised of our higher education institutions, with an anti-Cymraeg rump stalking the corridors for decades. The fact that this position would be the “eighth Sabbatical Officer” shows how low down the pecking order our indigenous language is, for students, staff and management alike.