On January 20, 2022, VOCM Open Line host Paddy Daly spoke with MUN student Matt Barter on the university’s partial lifting of his campus ban.
Matt Barter: I’m phoning in about MUN lifting part of the campus ban they imposed on me.
Paddy Daly: What’s the update?
MB: So, they sent me a letter that it’s been modified and that they are removing the ban from two buildings from the University Centre and the library, but they initially told my lawyer that the ban would be removed fully, but then over the weekend the administration didn’t like articles I posted and my tweets on Twitter of the articles.
PD: Okay, so when the students and staff, most of going back on campus for in-person learning on the 31st of January, so you’ll be able to go wherever you need to go for your classes and what have you, right?
MB: Yes, but I’m still not allowed to access all the services that I’m paying for. For example, I paid $60 for a membership for The Works, and there’s also The Writing Centre in the Science building, and there’s a number of services that I still don’t have access to.
PD: Well, if you paid for something, you should get it, and if not, you should get the money back. One or the other.
MB: Yes, so I don’t understand why MUN is going against the advice of their own legal counsel. It seems like MUN’s legal counsel has an unreasonable client.
PD: So, you say this was communication that you got simply between the lawyers, not that anyone from Memorial University spoke to you directly; these are the legal representatives talking, is that right?
PD: Yeah, I mean the bans on university campuses for whether it be a poster or what you said or what you wrote seems to be going an awful long way down an unnecessarily heavy-handed road. I agree with you on that front in full.
MB: So, the whole situation of them banning me has caused students on campus to be terrified to speak out, like as recently as yesterday, there was a petition students want online options for the classes for the Winter with going back in person, but the petition is anonymous like the student didn’t use their name to create it and there’s a lot of students who are afraid to voice their opinions to MUN.
PD: Well, I guess that would be an individual case-by-case basis as to whether or not you’re afraid to put your name on a petition. I don’t know if there’s going to be any retribution for signing a petition that you would like to have online learning options, unlikely, but hard to say given some decisions made in the past.
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.