News  News Brief: Right to write in French to be on syllabuses

The right of students to submit graded assessments in French will be more widely publicized, thanks to two amended motions passed at yesterday’s Senate meeting.

The first motion clarified the sort of assignments students are allowed to submit in French, and the second required all course outlines to reiterate that students have this right.

Jane Everett, Dean of Students, introduced the motions on behalf of the Senate Committee on Student Affairs (CSA).

“The right has been around since the eighties, but there is some question as to whether or not it exists in practice,” Everett explained.

She stressed how important it is to remind students who are more comfortable using French than English that they will not be at an academic disadvantage at McGill.

“The motion will establish a level playing ground for any student who is more familiar in French than in English. We are trying to accommodate that.”

Adding the article to course outlines was a contentious move – several professors felt that the syllabus is not the proper medium through which to communicate students’ rights – and only passed narrowly after three recounts.

With the second motion, CSA hoped to clarify the rule on submitting assignments in French and proposed changing the description of work that can be submitted from “essays, examinations, and theses” to “written work that is to be graded.” As before, this allowance does not apply to language proficiency courses.

The motion passed overwhelmingly.

The two proposals were originally introduced to Senate in last May, but procedural errors made their approval void, postponing their reevaluation.

– Jennifer Markowitz