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Rodney MacDonald is the CEO of Royal Gaelic College in Nova Scotia.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The CEO of the Royal Gaelic College in Cape Breton says the school's board of governors is carefully considering a proposal to drop the word "royal" from the institution's name.

Rodney MacDonald said he understands that people feel passionately about the issue.

The former premier of Nova Scotia was responding to reports that the foundation that operates the college voted on Sunday to drop the recently acquired royal designation.

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Controversy erupted in December, when some in Cape Breton's Gaelic community called the addition offensive, saying most Gaelic-speaking migrants who sailed to Nova Scotia in the 1700s were forced out of the Highlands after conflict with the English.

Meanwhile, a member of the Nova Scotia legislature is keeping up the pressure on the college to change the name.

Allan MacMaster said the royal designation can be considered "a slap in the face" to those who know their Gaelic history.

"Maybe they see it as part of their heritage and they don't care about other people's heritage," Mr. MacMaster said. "It's a complete insensitivity. It's emotionally draining and I don't think they realize that what they are being is very hateful."

Mr. MacDonald said he does not know when the board will release its decision.

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