Mid Wales

Aberystwyth University: Welsh language hall call from staff

Pantycelyn halls of residence
Image caption Pantycelyn hall of residence has been home to thousands of Welsh-speaking students

Teaching staff have called on Aberystwyth University to give a clear commitment to Welsh-medium student accommodation.

It follows a recommendation to close the Pantycelyn hall of residence indefinitely to make it "fit for purpose" in the future.

Some 50 Welsh-speaking staff met to discuss the move.

The university has insisted it is "fully committed" to providing designated Welsh-medium accommodation.

But in a statement on Monday, the staff said the university was putting Welsh-medium teaching and administration jobs at risk, and could damage the ethos of the college towards the Welsh language and culture.

They also raised concerns about the impact on student recruitment.

It called on the college to:

  • commit itself clearly to "specified Welsh-medium accommodation for its students"
  • state "unequivocally" that Pantycelyn would continue as a Welsh-language hall of residence in the long term
  • confirm alternative Welsh-medium accommodation plans if the hall must close for renovation work.

The move to close Pantycelyn was made by the college's finance committee in May after what officials described as "lengthy, rigorous" discussions.

The committee said the building would still be used for Welsh-language services.

It suggested alternative Welsh-medium accommodation could be made available on its Penglais campus from September.

In an online statement released following the committee meeting reiterated its stance on Welsh-medium student accommodation.

College officials said they appreciate "the need for a community where the Welsh language is spoken every day".

"Discussion have already taken place with representatives of the UMCA and Aberystwyth University Students Union on the provision of accommodation and communal spaces for the Welsh speaking community of students, should Pantycelyn not be available for the next academic year," they added.

Pantycelyn has been the designated Welsh-speaking hall of residence since 1974, and prior to that was home to Prince Charles for a term in 1969.

A decision on whether the hall will close will be considered by the university's council on 22 June.

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