Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Arfon Siân Gwenllian has joined Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Bangor (Bangor Welsh Students Union) in calling for fluency in the Welsh language to be a compulsory requirement when recruiting for a new Vice Chancellor at Bangor University.

In a letter to the University Management Board, Siân Gwenllian AM said it was absolutely vital that the ability to speak Welsh was a mandatory requirement for the post, which is to be advertised following the departure of former Vice Chancellor John Hughes.

The Plaid Cymru AM said it was imperative that in order to maintain the unique Welsh linguistic ethos at the University and further develop Welsh medium education and community links that the post holder must be fluent in Welsh.

Siân Gwenllian AM said: “The links Bangor University has with the surrounding Welsh communities underpin its identity. The deep historical connection is well-known and I do not have to remind you about the pennies of the quarrymen of Bethesda and surrounding communities which gave the University its existence in the first place or the giants of Welsh literature and Welsh academia associated with Bangor University over many years.

“To maintain this ethos, the head of the organisation must speak our language. Anything less would be a significant step backwards. In the competitive world of higher education, all organisations must identify and use their unique expertise and features. It is the Welsh language that gives Bangor University its unique style. We must build on that, and leadership must come right from the top of the organisation.

“I join Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Bangor in calling on the University to make Welsh a compulsory requirement when advertising for the post of Vice Chancellor, not only to adhere to its own strategy and vision in respect of developing use of the Welsh language but also to strengthen the relationship with the wider community and increase the opportunities to use the Welsh language in the University.

“Maintaining and developing the strongest possible commitment to the Welsh language by leading organisations such as Bangor University is paramount to the survival of the language. It helps create a confident bilingual local workforce, serving a confident bilingual community.

“I’m confident the University will lead by example and build on the excellent work that has been undertaken over recent years in developing and expanding the provision of the Welsh language in one of our most respected academic institutions.”

Photo: Siân Gwenllian AM with Gethin Morgan, President UMCB (Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Bangor)