MUN President Vianne Timmons.

Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons has received a lot of criticism on social media for spending over $50K to renovate her office.

Lynda Renée Wilson says, “A lot of food banks could have fed a lot of people with that money.”

Tracey Drover says, “that kind of Shit Boils my Blood!!!! Gross waste of taxpayers’ money!!”

Cayden Joy states, “Vianne is proof that capitalism sucks, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”

Jodi Dawe says, “This is outrageous! My daughter is in her last year of high school, and MUN isn’t on her list of universities that she is going to be applying to. This saddens me. Timmons should be ashamed of herself, but we all know she’s not.”

Helen Hodge Savoury states, “She needs to go… must be some nice expensive chair she is sitting in… I think us, the taxpayers, who are footing this bill, need to see the pictures of her new office.”

Natalie Rowe says that Timmons “sees nothing wrong with it because she knows it will be paid for her with her price increase; she feels she deserves it since she’s the reason they’re charging more.”

Cindy Cox asks why Timmons couldn’t go to Walmart to purchase items for her office. She states that Timmons “isn’t royalty and spending money that doesn’t belong to her.” She then says regarding Timmons, “You are not the person for this job.”

Robert Parsons says, “Dad didn’t spend that on his kitchen, and he had professional cabinets and all brand-new appliances installed…”

Elsie Beaver states that a can of paint cost less than $30.00.

Sheila Champion asks, “Her office renovation? Are you kidding me?” She then says that “I just did a full house renovation, and it didn’t cost me that much.”

Adam says, “Couple licks of paint and a few trips to Winners, I would have had it renovated for a couple grand.”

Steve Blackwood states, “the issue here isn’t really the cost of building materials and labour in today’s marketplace… the price tag probably isn’t unreasonable given the current climate for building. The issue is, given the fact that tuition costs are set to double, should the president of the university, who already earns more than most, be renovating at all? Leaders lead by example, or good ones do at least, and a good leader in the case would have likely passed up on something that was likely an unnecessary expense, if for no other reason than to show if these tuition hikes are necessary, then she is willing to do her part for being fiscally responsible as well. Keep in mind; this wasn’t her own money; she was spending… if nothing else, it demonstrates that she is completely unsympathetic to the plight facing young people in our province today and for years to come. Is that the right person for this job? I hardly think so.”

Elizabeth Hill says, “Meanwhile, the main elevator in Arts and Administration [building] has been out of order for over a year. Glad she has a new office, though.”

Jim Cheeseman states, “Right there is what’s wrong with this province, and really the entire country, people feeling entitlement and damn the hard-working taxpayers. Hope the students ask for an explanation of this spending.”

Catherine Lahey says Timmons “should be stopped, this extravagant spending in all forms of government is disgusting we all should revolt against it, don’t blame anyone for feeling mad.”

Chloe Briand says that she “could have paid off my first degree and my next degree with that money! Must be nice!”

Carol Fitzpatrick says, “That’s just a gross mismanagement of funds. Disgusting!

Brianna Barrett says that an MTV cribs tour of her office is needed for the price that was spent renovating it. Keith Doran recommends that NTV do a feature on it and that they could even start a show called “NTV Cribs.” Alex Osmond agrees and suggests that it could be narrated by Ross Tilley and Ed Swain.

Roxanne Dawe says, “OMG disgusting this is not okay with her wage she should pay her own renos instead of taking. We in a frigging no-win with school hikes, groceries, gas, light bills. Timmons needs get a cut in wages, getting too much to keep her.”

Trixie Sullivan states, “It’s a real slap in the face to the people of this province to know that our Premier Furey thinks Newfoundlanders are not capable or educated enough to be an administrator of our own MUN. I really thought when he was first elected, he was going to work keeping the best interest of the people of this province in mind. He’s no better than the rest. Paying out this big salary to Ms. Timmons plus all the extras just doesn’t sit well with the people of this province. We are tired of giving away our hard-earned money. We had more taxes levied on us just yesterday on sugar drinks. This is just the beginning. Perhaps the first step in taxing us on anything made with sugar… cookies, jams, other groceries. That will probably come next year!! When does it stop? We are taxed to death! I don’t blame our young people when they get out of here to live and work somewhere else. I know how hard it is for people to live in Newfoundland with the cost of living so high. It makes me upset to see how our government can squander exorbitant amounts of money away unnecessarily, e.g., decorating an office while raising student tuition and taxes to help pay the cost for this squandering. It doesn’t sit well with the people in this province Mr. Furey. I actually thought he was going to be better than the rest; I’ve changed my mind!”

Crystal Lee says, “She [Timmons] should have to ‘refresh’ her office, just like the teachers in our province are expected to fund their classrooms. I bet she wouldn’t need the refresh then.”

Elizabeth Hunter states, “I’m sure there is a qualified Newfoundlander who could fill her position for half the money and do a better job. Overrated and overpaid. Taxpayers’ hard-earned money, when are we going to learn?”

Mackenzie Oates says, “Funny. Her office ‘refresh’ cost more than MUN pays for these positions in one whole year…” and shared a picture of accounting positions advertised at MUN.

Mackenzie Oates picture.

Jamie Mac states, “This is really disgusting and an affront to the struggling students who attend. People should remove that school from the list of prospective schools and see what a decline in enrollment does to her salary. Appalling.”

Maddie Melina says, “I am not paying tuition every year to pay for a $60k soundproof office. Meanwhile, faculty are struggling to find space for members, and some of us are stuck in broom closet-sized lab spaces because there is no space for us. Well, I found where all the space goes. Waste of money, the entire university needs a ‘refresh.’”

Sulaiman El-Shorbagi says, “Seriously, this is a f*****g joke, about six students could have done their degrees with that amount she spent on ‘refreshing’ her office. This is corruption and misuse of funds at its finest, and they wonder why everyone is leaving NL.”

Deanne Quinton says, “My son is a student at MUN and can’t even get his Ethernet fixed in his dorm room on MUN Campus, and she gets a 60K office? WTF!!”

Loretta McDonald states, “Unreal! This province will never get ahead at this rate. Big fat waste of money at the top and poor people struggling to feed their children at the bottom.”

Sarah Ryder says, “I don’t know whether to react angrily or shocked at this. I’m a student, and this disgusts me! Of all the things that need desperate attention out there, like working elevators for students, the refresh was not necessary…”

Elaine Wells states, “I think it’s time for the people of the province to be the ones making the decisions on the pay rates for these people instead of boards and governments. It’s ridiculous, and it’s like they don’t have common sense anymore.”

Mary Cole says “She [Timmons] should be setting an example, not spending more money. If the kids have to tighten their belts, shouldn’t the president have to as well?”

Delores Strickland states, “Spending money like it’s hers [Timmons’s] but really it’s the money from, I got to say the students of MUN, who is paying for her luxury lifestyle, while the cost of a degree is going up. Shame on you, while students are trying to better themselves in life but it’s a big price tag to pay to get an education, one question I got to ask the MUN president, did you have to pay so much in cost for tuitions etc. as for the students are paying for now? You are living the dream spending money like it’s nothing while students are putting themselves more in debt and dealing with depression, anxiety, and mental health. But when they get out, they got to find a job to pay off this enormous debt while you sit back and be MUN President.”

Rick Carrigan says, “When will we realize the ones in the big positions don’t give a rats ass about where the province goes financially as long as they get to do what they want and get their fat salaries. Don’t worry about it; it’s only taxpayer’s money, no big deal.”

Tracy Clements Flight states, “This is outrageous. It’s insane to think the amount of money that’s invested into this woman’s employment while our MUN students that grew up here in NL struggle daily trying to pay tuition, eat, clothe, and put a roof over their heads while attending MUN. Most of whom are working part-time jobs and, after they graduate, are left with hefty student loans to pay! This woman and whoever provided this salary and ‘extra’ benefits should be ashamed of themselves.”

Des Drake says, “But yet if you work in childcare or a teacher setting, you spend your own money putting supplies in the classroom. Sure, makes a difference when you use students’ money… who needs 60k for an office? That’s ridiculous.”

Hubert Butt says, “She should be made to pay the cost out of her own salary.”

Josh Butt says, “More than double a minimum wage worker’s yearly salary to update an office. $60k to update an office. I could renovate my entire home for $60k. I could do SO MUCH with $60k. A LOT of people could. But this ‘human’ sees nothing wrong with $60k to ‘refresh’ her office? Who in their right mind EVER thought this ‘human’ would be a smart choice for a leadership role??? Why is every leader rich but still greedy for more???”

Helen R Snook states, “Under any circumstance, this is a gross waste of money. I’m sure the office was fine. A new chair, a good clean and a few plants were certainly adequate, especially since many teachers in this province have spent hundreds, if not thousands, over a thirty-year period on supplies for their class. Glue, paper etc. No joke!”

William David Bennett says, “Just another case of those at the top feeling like they are “entitled” to whatever they want.”

Lynn Learning says, “Disgusting. That’s not even mentioning all the money she spent on personal fitness equipment and trainers, on students’ dime.”

Jessica Philpott states, “that sounds like such an abuse of power. So used to spending the money, so they do. Maybe they don’t want to lose the budget in the future, so they spend it… Shameful and abusive.”

Brandon Small says, “So let me get this straight: a $60K remodel for an office that wasn’t necessary? All that money could have been divided to charities. Even if they gave HALF, that would have been a great contribution to food banks rather than in her cushiony office.”

Vladimir Andrade states, “As an international student, it’s a shame to see all other STEMs besides Medicine and Engineering get all these funds. All the time being told that there’s no money for the others to get improved buildings/labs/resources while this woman uses my money, so she feels more comfortable. My mental health is at an all-time low while she lives in luxury. Disappointing.”

Brent Brockway says, “Imagine spending more than the average annual Canadian salary on your office renovations…”

Carla McIsaac states, “If this is accurate, she needs to pay for those renovations. Pretty certain she could have done her job with the office as it was.  INFURIATING.”

Michael Gulliford says, “This is what’s wrong with today’s society, people in power spending, (wasting) money that everyone else has to pay for…  Not fit…”

Candace Rideout states, “Unless the roof is caving in, there is really no need. $60,000? Do you have any idea how many homeless/low-income families, single mothers, disabled individuals this could help? And what about that $500,000 a year salary? How is that justified?”

Whitney Mary-Ann Penney says, “It’s crazy! I have a year and a half of nursing school to finish, and with the tuition increase, it will be much more difficult. Then reading stuff like this. It’s enough to turn ya guts!!”

Christopher Abbo Abbott states, “Who got laid off I wonder… that’s a year salary for many people in this city who are also struggling to make ends meet. Not sure how people like her and many others sleep at night. Few gallons of paint are less than a hundred-dollar bill… new desk with a lamp, suppose it’s only another few hundred-dollar bills. Throw in a really nice chair like one advertised on TV, pictures, trinkets and furniture from winners, is no more than six crisp hundred dollar bills. And make the best of it; she probably works from home.”

Kelsey Vinnicombe says, “Bags of salt for the sidewalks probably cost less than $60,000… or maybe we can renovate lecture halls where larger students get bruises from the small seats, make education accessible and affordable.”

Jacob Riche asks, “How about the walls in the Arts building get fixed? How about we get elevators functioning again (so that students/professors with mobility challenges can get to their classes)? How about we fix a dozen other projects before we spend $60k on AN OFFICE?! I’m disgusted.”

Lloyd Hillier says, “Maybe if this person [Timmons] had to answer to a number of students live on TV, she might consider her actions for future expenditures. No accountability and abuse of position.”

Sarah Kerrivan says, “$60k for office renovations and the university ‘can’t’ find the money for accommodations, and fix the elevators in buildings (and so much more)??? This is ridiculous.”

Kendra Lydia Blanche says, “we can’t even protest because she’ll take our signs down.” 

Vanessa asks Timmons, “Do you feel gratitude for being paid enough to blow $60K on an office ‘refresh’ while everyone around you struggles to put food on the table?”

Matt Barter is a fourth-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.


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