Francophony: Unrest at the University of Ottawa

Although French was an integral part of the history of the University of Ottawa and the Francophones appeared in the formation of the institution, according to many participants, the French language was relegated to architecture and secondary. The very function of the university, We can read in this summary report commissioned by the University of Ottawa, in which ICI Ottawa-Katino has received a copy.

Last May, nearly 400 people took part in consultations in the wake of several incidents that rocked the Franco-Ontarian company. Words of Prof. Amir Attar.

Shared testimonies and experiences paint a grim picture of the French space within the university institution.

Some people still feel the luxury of the French truth at the University of Ottawa and the rights of the Francophone are provoked by indifference and various ridicule and at worst, the company’s operations are halted by a number of events. Some circlesWe can also read at the end of the report.

Apparently, the community feels that Francophony is sometimes a particular hostile object, which may lead some to think that a reflection is needed at the university level. For them, the role only goes beyond the linguistic question.

A quote:Extract from the statement Renewal of Francophony at the University of Ottawa : A collective responsibility

Many have talked about the origin of a pharyngophobia, which, according to them, seems to describe its simplicity in describing the recurring events on campus., Refers to the statement.

Franுவாois Sarbonne, a professor and former student at the School of Political Studies, recalled Lieutenant – Duel controversy – even somewhat – stopped eventsIn October 2020.

The university is aware that university students have sent hate messages through social media or emails […] Professors were invited there “Fucking frog […] And no reaction. […] Instead, management ordered a report to remind us of things we already know.

But beyond these incidents, the whole question of the French place at the University of Ottawa raises questions.

Lack of bilingual recruitment, sensitivity to francophony, evaluation of research in French, bilingual communication challenge … There are many concerns, but they are not new, said Franுவாois Hastier, director general of the Recruitment Franco-Ontarian (RÉFO).

For us, there is nothing new in this report. These are issues that our members have told us about in the past. […] For a long time, pharyngophony was not a priority […], This report puts it before us.

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Martin Munier, director of the College of Chairs at Francophone World at the University of Ottawa, noted that other legal priorities related to current events were added, pushing Francophony into the background.

In a way, some members of management saw them as competing without seeing them as complementary themes.

Significant mass shortage

Mr. According to Sarbonnio, one of the explanations can be found in the report: a significant mass shortage of francophones which makes francophony a low priority.

We are at the end of a forty year process, and in the early 1990s it was decided to eliminate the bilingual requirements for Anglophones. This exploded the number of English-speaking students on campus, so it contributed to the minority of French truth., He analyzes.

Over the years, the University of Ottawa has seen a decline in the number of its French-speaking students. Today, they make up 28.9% of the campus or 13,000 out of 45,000.

According to the participants it is a fact that is detrimental to the offer of programs and services offered in French. They noted during the consultation that many of the programs recently approved by the University Senate will be offered exclusively in English.

Given the imbalance between French and English […] You continue to accept exceptions, which often become a sort of ruleMr. Sarbonio mentions.

The same future of Laurentian University?

In order to guarantee funding for teaching and research in the French language, Mr. Munier begs. Funding for post-secondary education in French is at the crossroads of the federal parties.

We know that the university gets paid for the French truth. Where is this amount going? Is the budget allocated to Francophony or the French reality as a whole actually equal to the percentage of the number of students? […] All of these questions, we have no answers, He regrets.

Some people are apprehensive about a future like Francophonie at Laurentian University.

Many francophone professors and students wonder if the University of Ottawa is next, Says Mr. Munier.

Franோois Sarbonio, Professor at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa (Archives)

Photo: Screenshot, YouTube

Mr. A fear shared by Charbonnie.

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The future is not complicated, it is Laurentian University. We have a situation where the French component is too small […] It does not matter who the head of the company is [cette personne] To increase funding and plans, a logic has been put in place, [elle] The concerns of the Franco-Ontarian community must be completely set aside.

The meaning of his ambition

MM However, Munier and Sarbonio recalled that efforts were being made to develop a research chairs program in the world of Francophone, or by the appointment of Sunny Yaya, the first vice president of international and Francophone in 2020. Origin of the report on the status of Francophony.

Its appointment is the result Recommendations made by a team led by Linda Cardinal, a professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert on Canadian Francophonies, In January 2019.

The man, who is now a professor in a political laboratory at the University of Ottawa, says to himself A little sad By reading her in this new report. Although nothing new in it, he says the environment is very different, very emotional.

Linda Cardinal, Professor of Research in Francophony and Public Policy at the University of Ottawa

Linda Cardinal, Professor Emeritus at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa (Archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada

In this statement, we feel a certain disappointment […]. I think this should be taken seriously because there is a section of the population who feel completely excluded, even tested by another part of the University of Ottawa. We look different [parties] Those who can no longer compromise.

It’s like a cry from the heart of the francophones at the university, but you can’t function without us or what place do we have at this university?

A quote:Linda Cardinal, Professor at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa

Son Action Plan for Francophonies at the University of Ottawa Aims to reform the administration of the Francophone, to strengthen the French presence and influence on campus and to better communicate the Francophone mission of the University. Two and a half years later, only 8 of its 41 recommendations have been implemented, while others are still under development.

For lack of funds? Substantial financial and human resources must be mobilized to carry out these plans, without which the University of Ottawa would be condemned for having an excellent devotion and proclamation of good intentions., As written in the report.

I wish it would go faster, but the university is a sea liner, it takes a long time to return, but we must not miss the turning point. […] The economic situation in 2018-2019 was very favorable. […] Even if it is small steps, it is better if we continue, Says Mrs. Cardinal. There is finance, but there is also political will.

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Mr. A desire that has never existed, according to Sarbonio.

This appears in the speeches of some members of the senior management who still want to deal with the Francophone question as a minority and do not see the full diversity of this Francophone., According to him.

We live in a critical phase. […] So, in a way, I hope we will take advantage of this turning point to restart Francophony and put it back as a priority in the years to come.

A quote:Martin Munier, Director of the College of Chairs in the World of Francophone at the University of Ottawa

Mr. For Munier, all management must be involved.

The Rector has undeniable leadership, but all vice-presidents must agree to prioritize the University of Francophone. There, we realize that we do not have a plan for Francophony, he said. [J’espère que] It will give a shock, a wake-up call, and the Franco-Ontarian community […] Campaign for greater recognition of the Francophone truth at the University of Ottawa.

The university promises to operate

In an email reply, the University of Ottawa says Note the findings made by members of their university community. […] Their findings already provide us with a clear basis for working..

One thing is clear: the University of Ottawa has always been and will continue to be rooted in its French-speaking roots.

A quote:Extract from the University of Ottawa response to the report

The message that emerges from these suggestions should not be denied, diminished or underestimated: a section of our community has expressed a weak sense of French truth on campus, and we need to be sensitive and think big. New projects are opening up in front of us and we have a firm intention to react collectively to them.

The University promises to follow this report and liaise with its community as soon as possible on the steps to be taken to achieve it.

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