Separation anxiety: French college may join rest of York
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Options being considered for the future of Glendon College in Toronto have caused controversy among francophone students and faculty who want the school to stay where it is.
An affiliate of York University, Glendon College is currently a bilingual school situated at a separate campus and offers students liberal arts courses with the option of incorporating the French language into the curriculum.
Due to a recent decrease in enrollment and dispute over the mandate of the college, Glendon Principal Dyane Adam approached the Academic Policy and Planning Committee to look at other options for the school, said APPC chair Nick Rogers.
Proposals for consideration include refining and refocusing the bilingual aspects, re-introducing a unilingual stream, revising Glendon's curriculum to make it a liberal arts college with more applicable courses, sharing Glendon with another faculty or relocating the school to the Keele campus.
The option of a possible relocation was suggested by Raymond Mougeon, chair of the French department at York's main campus, and has been the topic causing the most controversy.
"The idea stemmed from analysis of what Glendon is trying to achieve at the moment in terms of delivery of service and delivery of bilingual courses," Mougeon said. "Students attending Glendon are only doing so because there is no other option for them and it is not really what they want."
Mougeon said francophone students only stay at Glendon because there are no French alternatives on main campus, adding English-speaking students tend to switch to main campus which he said suggests there may be something wrong with Glendon College.
President of Glendon College Students' Union, Cedrick Therrien, said many students are opposed to the move since French is a way of life at Glendon which is enhanced by the small classes and separate campus. "[If we went to the Keele campus] francophones would get lost in a sea of English."
Glendon professor of French studies and member elective of APPC Yvette Szmidt, agreed and said the French-speaking aspect of school would be diluted at main campus where it is mainly English-speaking. "We need an environment where people know French is used."
Mougeon's proposal was made to further his own school at the Keele campus, Therrien said, adding the invitation has been extended to move the French department of the Keele campus to Glendon.
Mougeon said he would consider moving but Glendon would have to become a completely francophone university with all courses being taught in French. Currently, 70 per cent of courses are taught in English and 30 per cent are taught in French, but students can still use French in assignments for English courses.
APPC has openly committed to keeping Glendon bilingual regardless of the recommendation made at the end of the month, Rogers said. After a recommendation is made by APPC, the proposal will go to Senate and onto the Board of Governors for final approval.