MUN accused of harassing and threatening vaccine injured student

Greg McDougall.

Students at Memorial University are being deregistered for courses due to the university’s procedure for vaccine requirement. Ryan Guay was one of those students, and on January 11th, 2022, he took to social media to share his frustration. Guay states, “As some of you may not be aware, I was diagnosed with multiple pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) back in June 2021 as a result of an adverse reaction from my COVID-19 vaccination. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for the past seven months due to my condition.”

Guay then states his life has been “turned upside down on so many levels, but I want to explain my most recent social trauma. I’m a first-year student at Memorial University here in St. John’s, NL. The first semester came with multiple phone calls and emails from various departments within MUN. These communications over the past few months were in regard to my vaccination status and exemption. Through the Fall semester, I was barely able to attend my only in-person class due to Student Life and other committees trying to push me aside. I complied with all the documentation they requested. Even with a medical exemption permitting me to attend on-campus classes, they continued to still make multiple attempts to switch me into an online class and even told me that I’d face ‘consequences’ if I didn’t comply with their measures! I had an exemption to attend my one class, but yet they continued to harass me to take that one class away from me, so I took the initiative to stay put. I complied with their regulations, but I was still threatened.”

On January 9th, 2022, Guay received an email from MUN’s ‘Chief Risk Officer’ Greg McDougall informing him that he’s been deregistered from his in-person classes. Guay states this is “Unbelievable since all classes are online until the end of January! They claim the reason I was deregistered was apparently due to the fact I didn’t send them my vaccination status, but I certainly did. I’ve already proven and demonstrated to MUN that I’m medically exempt from getting a second dose because of my current medical condition. My status was sent as a file, and a declaration form was included to MUN. So, for the Fall semester, my exemption barely allowed me to attend my only in-person class, and now they want to ban me from the Winter semester in-person classes. I don’t want online courses by any means.”

Guay points to a clip from a local news station, and he states, “NTV reporters interviewed students doing online courses and how it is affecting them mentally. Can you just imagine how it is affecting me mentally to find out the day before classes were to commence that I’ve been deregistered from my classes? MUN President Vianne was also interviewed and spoke of the struggle of students with mental health being affected and how they (MUN) are there for them with resources. Hmmm, wow, guess they forgot about this student here fighting a potentially life-threatening injury and begging to go to school for my education and furthering myself in society?? NO ONE at all contacted me despite my efforts to continue my education in a stress-free mind with living each day with the ball to drop with more pulmonary embolisms.”

Guay says that he is asking the public for their support “I’m asking for your support. I want to continue my education with my exemption. If my hematologist hasn’t provided any pertinent information, that’s on them since I’ve been communicating with their office to no avail. Additionally, we’ve reached out to the Office of the Minister of Health to find out where my QR code is, but they haven’t replied yet. I also contacted my MHA, John Hogan’s office, to report this and look for his help. I’m fighting back to have this resolved with all your support.”

Furthermore, Guay states that his condition does not allow him to have another vaccine due to what occurred in June, October, and even last week when he went to the Health Sciences Centre by ambulance. He states, “MUN has my medical exemption form that was issued by my hematologist so that I attend the university on campus. My point now, why am I being discriminated against to have an education?”

Guay points out frustration with one sentence in MUN’s email to him in particular: “If you have questions about registering once you are fully vaccinated, and your declaration form is completed, please contact.” He states, “Seriously!! Ok. So, my declaration form has been completed along with my exemption attached and an agreement to have arranged testing. The fact that they’re telling me I have to be fully vaccinated is against my Eastern Health hematologist, whose care I was under when I was hospitalized in June 2021. The message is discriminatory and a violation of my rights to freedom of education on campus once they reopen. Memorial has attempted to force upon a vaccination that my body cannot have due to my adverse reaction from the first dose. Less than a week ago, I was being taken out of my house in an ambulance; now, I have to fight for the rights of my education that I’m constitutionally entitled to, but MUN’s committees have denied me. I shouldn’t have this added stress on my plate given the situation of my physical and mental health.”

Guay states again the seriousness of his condition “I nearly died from my first dose, so I’m not a candidate for my second, and obviously can’t even imagine what another dose would do to me. I have complied with the rules, but I have been disrespected, stigmatized, harassed, stressed, and discriminated against because of my health status. I’m only eligible to choose courses that are fully online. Even so, why take me out of a class that is currently online till the end of January. None of this makes sense. They left me no warning and just stripped me from my ‘in-person’ courses and passed my spot along to the next person on the waitlist.”

Guay states, “As a further insult, I’m paying ‘on campus’ fees, and I’m not allowed to take a course on campus seems like theft to me. Their logic behind my situation has been severely unprofessional during my short time at Memorial. Threats, lies, mistreatment, invasion of privacy, the list goes on, and I’m sick and tired of them trying to run me over.”

Guay argues that the university “could’ve taken a better approach to the deregistration scenario by contacting me up until we can return to on-campus learning. This was delivered to me with intention. They deliberately sent this email to me the day before classes on a Sunday so I would be stuck not able to communicate with them. The courses I was hoping to attend the next day were online of course. I want to be treated like a normal student with my exemption. Is that too much to expect? Aside from my physical health, my mental health is taking a beating staring at a screen all the time. I’ve been dehumanized and degraded while complying. It’s been a nightmare, and I hope this gets around so everyone can see how they treat students that are in similar scenarios as me. No one deserves this treatment. What about all this talk’ be kind to each other’ and ‘we’re in this together’ and ‘take care of your mental health?’ This situation needs to be corrected once and for all. If MUN can’t help me, hopefully, the public will! From my first day at this school, I have been degraded due to my condition; this ends now. My perspective on this school has changed drastically. They’re supposed to help educate us but can barely educate themselves on mental health problems that occur throughout the entire school. These are issues they put on students. The amount of stories I’ve heard of disrespect by a higher power in this school is absurd.”

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.

3 thoughts on “MUN accused of harassing and threatening vaccine injured student

  1. Wow this is unbelievable, truly unlike what MUN claims to be to watch out for their students, and be kind to others. Like MUN should practice what they preach. This is a far cry to discriminate someone who potentially is exempted from extra vaccines. This is total discrimination and abuse to the system. I am not against the vaccine as I have had 3 so far, I’m also not against those who are exempted or who choose not to get vaccinated. I think the divisions created here by government is so unfair to our society.

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