Vianne Timmons/Twitter.

A hallmark of good leadership is the willingness to debate rather than silence critics. Although I have been a critic of hers and written extensively about the university on this website, MUN President Vianne Timmons has never actually offered me the opportunity to talk with her or her executives.

A university president should promote dialogue and free debate. On the contrary, Timmons has ordered my posters about her leadership taken down and now banned me from campus for silently protesting her during a speech.

I am willing to sit down with Timmons for a conversation and keep an open mind. We could both record it and publish it later in written or video form. I am willing to argue for my causes, beliefs, and actions. Is Timmons willing to do the same? If Timmons believes she is a good leader, I am sure she will accept this proposal.

Students who disagree with Timmons should have an opportunity to sit down and have a chat with her about her decisions for the future of the university, such as tuition increases and administrative spending.

My humble proposal is that we have a dialogue about the future of the university and civil rights on campus. If Vianne is so certain of her decisions, this is what she would have offered in the first place rather than chosen to censor my criticism and ban me from campus.

On Twitter, Vianne’s profile picture has the words “real talk.” Does she really want “real talk” or is that just something she thought would sound good on Twitter?

I would have sent this invitation directly to Vianne at her email address or called her office. It seems to me that would be well within the rights of any student. However, due to the no-contact order that came with my ban from campus, I am posting an invitation to Timmons on this webpage and hoping she will see it, or someone will show it to her.

Vianne, will you choose the path of the enlightenment and dialogue or opt for authoritarianism and censorship? The choice is yours. Feel free to reach out to me at your earliest convenience.

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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