University Naming Dispute in Norway

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway wants to become a full-fledged university, but if its pending application were to be approved, the institution does not yet know what it would be called.

Administrators have spent nearly $100,000 and about a year debating various names, according to the higher education publication Khrono (note: the article is in Norwegian). One option, Aker University, references the geographic region surrounding Oslo, while another, Nova University Oslo, emphasizes the newness of the institution.

Rector Curt Rice, the first non-Norwegian to lead an institution in the country, has suggested OsloMet, short for Oslo Metropolitan University. But the suggestion is facing resistance from the Language Council of Norway.

“All Norwegian government agencies are required to have Norwegian names,” Åse Wetås, director general of the language council, told Khrono. “‘Metropolitan’ is not a Norwegian word, nor is the abbreviation ‘Met,’ so this won’t do.” (The council has approved both Aker and Nova.)

Rice, who holds a Ph.D. in general linguistics, on Tuesday fired back on Twitter. “The language council is speaking out of both sides of its mouth, because they know full well that ‘metropol’ is Norwegian,” he wrote.

Rice, a reserve member of the board of the language council, is also drawing attention among Norwegian academics these days for an interview in the weekly newspaper Morgenbladet, in which he said researchers should publish in English, not Norwegian.

The university college is still working on the best Norwegian translation for Oslo Metropolitan University and plans to settle on a name in September.

(insidehighered)