MUN President Vianne Timmons’s comments on increasing tuition sparks outrage

On May 3rd, 2021, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) President Vianne Timmons took to CBC News to share her views on the post-secondary education review report’s recommendation to increase tuition after initially turning down CBC’s interview request on April 29th. Timmons’s recent comments received much criticism on social media, and some were even outraged.

In the May 3rd interview, Timmons stated that she and the university are open to discussions on the proposal to lift the tuition freeze. She said that “We see the importance of looking at revenue for the university.”

Timmons said that if tuition increases, students currently enrolled will pay the same as they already pay. She states, “There will be no student who is presently enrolled in Memorial that will be compromised.”

Timmons seems to be using the tactic of dividing students. The idea is that current students will not care because their tuition will not increase and that high school students are not even there yet, so there will not be much resistance from them.

Patrick Martin stated, “As tuition costs increase, education becomes more of a privilege than a right. I remember being at MUN and meeting a person who was there only because of scholarships. This should never be. Free education is what should be done. And increase the subsidy to MUN.”

“As tuition costs increase, education becomes more of a privilege than a right.”

Patrick Martin

Suzanne Giroux Mealey raises a point about how Commentator Rex Murphy fought for free tuition during his student union days, “Rex Murphy managed to get that to happen many decades ago, but the province is almost bankrupt, how is this supposed to happen?”

Patrick Martin responded that “The province is not bankrupt. The province has a spending issue, not an income issue. And MUN is not where the province is spending that money.”

Debbie Burke takes issue with online learning during the pandemic, “It would be nice to actually get an education on campus not home on a computer either. MUN is getting way more in tuition than they should be right now! Not the best way to be getting a degree.”

Burke then stated that “raising the costs of tuition in a province that doesn’t have much more going for it is not the best of ideas. Start from the big salaries. She makes more than the premier of our province, for God sakes.”

Chris Caddigan stated, “MUN should have been under a microscope long before this. A lot of money mismanaged and very high salaries with zero accountability.”

“Money is making that institution greedy, and they are missing the mark…”

Michael Labonte

Michael Labonte commented that “MUN is moving away from their founding principals… Money is making that institution greedy, and they are missing the mark…”

Desmond Hepditch said, “Decrease MUN admin salaries; otherwise, this is just lip service and what she has to say is irrelevant.”

Heber W. Chipman said, “Maybe learn to curb spending before looking for new income sources… that’s what’s wrong with our province…pass the buck, no accountability. Let every MUN employee take a 10 percent pay decrease…bet that would help.”

TJ Turnbull stated, “Hope she is just as open about her big raise and how she is only thinking of herself and not the students.”

Robert Wallace said, “Maybe MUN should stop blowing the budget, overpaying their staff, unnecessary expenditures. Maybe that should be the 1st step before they change tuition fees.”

Philip Bath states, “Shit is like discipline might start at the top but runs down to the floor you think she would have deferred the raise with all that’s going on at this time. Just look at them eyes cold as Ice.”

Leonard Roxon stated that “Vianne Timmons can start by setting the example for all to show responsible spending by taking a 20% cut in her own pay, freeze raises for five years, and then tie raises to how other public servant pay is done. Then do the same with all the senior administrators. That will send the right signal.”

Vianne Timmons can start by setting the example for all to show responsible spending by taking a 20% cut in her own pay.”

Leonard Roxon

Michael Hinchey took issue with the independent nature of the report, “The chairs of the committee that wrote the independent review report all have connections to MUN. Karen Kennedy works with the MUN pension association. Professor Emeritus Kevin Keough held numerous Administrative positions at MUN. Doreen Neville works for the Provost and Vice President Academic at MUN. So, the report is hardly independent.”

Michael Hinchey then stated why the people of the province should support funding for MUN. He said, “People pay taxes to support Health and K12 because they know it is for the common good. They should also be willing to support our young people at MUN and CNA because it would also be for the common good. The potential payback from a pool of highly educated young people is enormous. The support would also be a big morale boost for our young people.”

Michael Hinchey then took issue with statements made by the university regarding enrollment increases, “Before the pandemic struck, there had been a 30% drop in enrollment of NL students at MUN. Some young people from NL were not willing to cripple themselves financially for decades to go to MUN. The current uptick in enrollment is just an aberration caused by the pandemic.”

“As everyone at MUN already knows, the entire upper administration is grossly overpaid and incompetent.”

Char Lewis

Devon Morris took issue with the idea of increasing student loans to help students with a tuition hike, “What I haven’t heard anyone say is what the effect of having 2x the loans will be on new grads and their ability to spend after graduation.” He said that currently, a five-year degree costs about $50,000 in tuition, fees, residence and meals costs. He said, “double that, and a new grad has much less spending power upon graduation. People got to consider the trickle-down effects.”

With regards to the cost of the tuition freeze, Morris stated, “Also, $70 million per year is a small price to pay for the tuition freeze. No doubt MUN can and should save money – but not at the expense of the tuition freeze.”

Char Lewis stated, “As everyone at MUN already knows, the entire upper administration is grossly overpaid and incompetent. Independence from government appointees is necessary to return to an educational model and to cut all the overpaid VPs who are only in it for personal profit.”

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s