Wrexham University apologise for professor’s Welsh road sign jibes
After a professor at Wrexham University was widely criticised for describing bilingual road signs in Wales as ‘unintelligble’ and ‘potentially dangerous’, the university has issued an apology for his comments and launched an investigation.
After posting the comments on Facebook, Professor Nigel Hunt has been lambasted for his views, with many reacting to his words saying they have submitted official complaints to Wrexham University and how they could scarcely believe a professor at a Welsh University could hold these views.
The furore stems from Professor Hunt’s post in a Facebook group called Department of Petty Rage.
There Prof Hunt, who is a visiting professor at Wrexham University, posted a picture of a bilingual road sign and wrote: “Signs like this. They are confusing as they contain irrelevant and – to most people – unintelligible information. Road signs in two languages are potentially dangerous as it takes longer to determine the message. As most people even in Wales do not understand these signs (the Welsh language is declining despite the attempts to popularise it) then please just use English.”
Now Wrexham University has issued a statement after being inundated with complaints.
A spokesperson for Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University said: “First and foremost, we would like to apologise for the offence caused by these remarks – and are in the process of investigating this matter internally. We are keen to stress that these comments absolutely do not reflect the views or values of our university or its staff.
“We are proud to be a Welsh institution and are proud of our Welsh history and heritage.
“We are also committed to promoting and celebrating the Welsh language, and are proud to say that more students than ever before have opportunities to study bilingually across a range of our courses at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham
University, thanks to the implementation of our Welsh Language Academic Strategy and Action Plan in November 2022.
“As an institution, we are also committed to the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and as part of the legislation – the Welsh language has equal status with English and must not be treated less favourably.”
We would like to apologise for the offence caused by recent remarks – and are in the process of investigating this matter internally. We are keen to stress that these comments absolutely do not reflect the views or values of our university or its staff. pic.twitter.com/bML2LVipfr
— Wrexham University (@WrexhamUni) October 10, 2023
Once his post was published Professor Hunt was quickly picked up on his views across social media during the last 24-48 hours.
One poster wrote: How would you cope in a country without a translation?
He replied: ‘Much better. Most languages are intelligible and have a point.’
On X, formerly Twtter, he faced similar criticism.
Ethan Jones wrote: ‘This is an appalling attitude from one of your professors @WrexhamUni
‘Your staff have a duty to treat your Welsh students with respect, calling their language “irrelevant” is certainly not the way to do this.
Efan ap Ifor posted: ‘This is hugely disappointing to see @WrexhamUni
‘It highlights that not all educated people, that specialise in one field, are well informed people more generally.
‘They aren’t immune to lazy xenophobic tropes or possess values &/or morals that are grounded in inclusiveness.’
Could @WrexhamUni clarify if Prof. Nigel Hunt represents the values of the university?
Given the university’s recent decision to drop ‘Glyndŵr’ from its name, having a bigoted professor publicly mock the Welsh language and demand the removal of Welsh signage isn’t a good look. pic.twitter.com/LOqB5Amrd3
— Rhys Gethin 🏴 (@RhysGethinEW) October 9, 2023
Meanwhile, Rhys Gethin added: ‘Could @WrexhamUni clarify if Prof. Nigel Hunt represents the values of the university?
‘Given the university’s recent decision to drop ‘Glyndŵr’ from its name, having a bigoted professor publicly mock the Welsh language and demand the removal of Welsh signage isn’t a good look.’
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