Calls for Welsh department to be exempt from university cuts

By Chris Betteley in Education

WELSH language campaigners have called for Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies to be exempt from large-scale cuts planned over the next two years.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has called on the university not to cut three positions in the department of Welsh and Celtic Studies - saying the loss of jobs would be “contrary to the university’s duties, nationally and internationally.”

As reported in the Cambrian News in May, up to 150 jobs are “highly likely” to be lost as the institution needs to take “immediate action” to reduce costs.

Vice-chancellor Prof Elizabeth Treasure warned of cuts that will reach £11.4m over the next two years.

Several departments are facing staffing and budget cuts, but Cymdeithas has called for no job losses in the Welsh and Celtic studies department.

The chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Heledd Gwyndaf, in a letter to Prof Treasure said: “Organisations such as the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth are crucial when it comes to the status of Welsh and other Celtic languages in the eyes of prospective students, schools and parents.

“In addition, it is the duty of Aberystwyth University to promote the Welsh language and education that is specific to Wales, and the proposed cuts are in stark contrast to this mission, which is contained in the university’s charter. This proposal endangers the future of studying Irish, Breton and Scottish Gaelic through the medium of Welsh, both in Wales and internationally."

Prof Treasure said: “The suggestion the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University is at risk is completely misleading.

“The department is critical to our mission as a university and we are proud of its many achievements. While we along with others in the sector face financial challenges, we are committed to the continued provision of Welsh and Celtic studies at Aberystwyth.”

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