A recently obtained access-to-information reveals some of the backlash the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Mark Abrahams, received when he sent out his update to students on the Winter 2021 semester. Students responded to Abrahams through email asking the administration to reduce tuition while the university is only offering remote classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I ask that you please lower tuition for all students because this is not at all what I signed up for.”Student
A student stated that if the university would be staying online for next semester that they have a huge concern. The student said, “I am only a few weeks into online and remote learning right now and I can tell you for a fact that these profs are not teaching us anything. All I do is sign into D2L and meet deadlines at this point because there’s nothing else, I can do.” The student stated that they know many other students who felt the same way. The student then asked, “my issue is what are we paying for? I am paying full tuition for what? Because it cannot be for the courses, I am taking I know that for sure. All the remotely delivered courses I am taking have all moved to online because ‘no one really shows up’ so I’m not even getting a proper education anyways.” The student questioned the university keeping all the lights on in the buildings that are not being used by anyone and said that they know this is the case because they drive by all the time. The student then stated, “I’m very disappointed and angry about the fact that I am paying for practically nothing just so I can further my degree. If you are continuing online classes I ask that you please lower tuition for all students because this is not at all what I signed up for.” The student signed off as “an extremely disappointed student.”
Another student commented “man you people just like money, bet you won’t even reduce the tuition costs. Death rates have been dropping but that doesn’t matter cause you can still use it as an excuse for the students to spend money, please tell me where all this money is going to since you’re not even changing the fees.”
“I’m not paying tuition just to teach myself content.”Student
Next, a student commented with three bullet points, “1. I’m not learning shit, 2. I’m not paying full price tuition for online classes, don’t be silly, and 3. businesses and public schools are open, MUN and MI should be as well.” The student then said “if you really cared about students, you’d have accommodated more thorough classes and resources. I’m not paying tuition just to teach myself content.”
Students have been asking the administration at MUN to reduce tuition costs since MUN transitioned to remote learning in March of 2020. A petition asking for a partial refund for the Winter 2020 semester received a total of 3,186 signatures.
A student commented on the petition, “it’s not fair that our entire curriculum has been moved online. Some students such as myself have difficulty navigating the MUN D2L site and have trouble staying focused due to staring at a screen for long periods of time.”
A supporter of the petition stated, “They are students, some in the future will be our doctors, teachers, first responders, and front-line workers. Refund them all, that’s not fair. Taking, from the people who are investing in our future. Full refund or hold for the following year tuition.”
Matt Barter is a third-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.