On January 20th, 2022, 3rd year Memorial University History student Charlie Cottreau penned an open letter to university president Vianne Timmons and posted it to social media. He outlines the concerns that members of the university have with the administration’s decision to return to campus.
Cottreat agrees with the recent statement made by Timmons that kindness and communication are important values but does not feel that the university’s administration has shown these values. He states that there is no clear direction to how the university will deal with absences due to COVID-19 infection, adequate contract tracking, or accommodations for those that require them.
Furthermore, he also takes issue with Timmons’s privilege. He states, “While the notion that we are all in this together has been used literally throughout the pandemic, it is false.” He then states that the risks of COVID-19 are significantly higher for the immunocompromised and those who live with them.
Next, he states that the risk posed by COVID-19 are not all medical. He states to Timmons, “While you enjoy a reported salary of $450,000, many students are lucky to make 5 percent of this.” Cottreau states that a week without pay due to isolation could mean no groceries for a week for these students.
Cottreau ends by stating that the administration made a “reckless and short-sighted” decision, and he calls on them to “review and rectify it to accommodate the needs of the entire community, not just those who can afford to take risks.”
See letter below:
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.