MUN lifts campus ban

MUN Student Conduct Office has relented to public pressure and the threat of legal action, and has reversed the complete campus ban it imposed on student Matt Barter. Additional details to be provided.

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.

MUN Alumni outraged at the administration’s censorship of criticism

MUN Campus.

A recently obtained ATIPP request reveals the outcry of Memorial University Alumni members regarding the administration’s decision on December 3rd, 2021, to ban a student for a silent protest. See quotes from Alumni below:

“I understand that the university has decided to ban a student from campus because he has been critical of President Timmons and senior administration. This is disgraceful. The university community, students, staff, faculty and alumni can only feel threatened by this type of sanction. As an alumna, I am ashamed to be associated with Memorial. I have asked Alumni Affairs to remove my name from any distribution lists. Be assured you cannot count on my support if student protest is treated in such a heavy-handed manner.”

“As an alumni of MUN I am – I do not use this term lightly – disgusted.

You took a job as the president of a university. Universities are also known for social action and young people finding their voice to speak up and help solve world issues. One would (SHOULD) expect this when accepting the role.

You are in a public position. The decisions you make are put in the media, with your face alongside it. Yet the use of your picture on a placard by one of your own students is enough to be ‘interpreted’ as a threat?

This makes the University look pathetic (not to mention your obscene salary and tuition increases). I can attest as a professional that the actions of MUN on these and other issues have been noticed and with distaste elsewhere in Canada, especially among academic circles.”

“I just wanted you to know that in the 6 months since you’ve taken on the job as President at MUN, you have killed the reputation of this once beloved school; one which I look at with great fondness. Your behavior would not have been tolerated back then, and if you can listen to your students, and I’m sure your advisors, I think it would be wise to listen to them.

Before you completely crush the reputation of MUN, please change your ways. You might think you’ve been successful with your high Fall 2022 registrations, but that is only because we are in a pandemic, and things have been closed. I can guarantee that next Fall 2023, you are going to see new student numbers plummet, and you will be at fault for the ruination of this school. Please don’t simply scoff at this email, as I send it to keep a school I once loved dearly intact.”

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.

Public outcry after MUN bans vaccine-injured student

MUN President Vianne Timmons.

Memorial University student Ryan Guay’s social media post regarding the university’s decision to deregister him from courses due to not being fully vaccinated despite having a medical exemption due to his injury from taking one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has sparked outrage among the public.

Lindsay Gulliver says, “The physical & mental turmoil that this young man has been put through in a short amount of time is heartbreaking.”

Emily Halfyard states, “As someone who’s also had pulmonary embolisms, I know that a health crisis as serious as that can be really scary and nerve-racking and exhausting, putting the stress of not being able to go to school on top of that is something nobody should have to worry about, Ryan Guay you deserve to not have to worry about getting your education!”

Alyx King states, “MUN is actively discriminating against the vaccine injured, the unvaccinated, and against people who simply do not want to disclose their medical information. Ostracizing them off-campus while making them still pay the same tuition as students that get access to campus and everything that comes along with it, such as the library, peers, in-class instruction, and faculty events, to name a few. Forcing them to pay the same amount for a lesser education. Forcing professors to teach both in class and by distance at the same time without proper equipment to do so.”

Furthermore, King states, “Memorial University of Newfoundland, you should be completely ashamed of yourselves. You are NOT the image you portray. You are banning students off-campus quite regularly now; I see… from the vaccine-injured like Ryan to Matt Barter for simply exercising his right to protest the awful presidency of Vianne Timmons and MANY others in between. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. This is discrimination. This is wrong. This is unacceptable. Since when has equality and someone’s right to education been so easily dismissed? Especially over a shot that has potential to cause such harm.”

Penny Sampson says, “Okay, this guy gets the COVID Vaccine and suffers multiple pulmonary embolisms in his lungs, so blood clots in the lungs, then is pretty much getting kicked out of University in NFLD?!? Who treats someone who’s been thru that like a leper? Stay out of class or face the consequences???? Not cool.”

Heather Charlie Poisson states, “Memorial University of NL needs to be held to account. This is happening everywhere, but unless we stand up and speak out, nothing will change. Wrongs need to be righted. Justice needs to be upheld. And truth needs to be louder than lies. Stop the insanity. Stop the discrimination. This may not affect you right now, but it’s freedoms in general that are at stake! Don’t be passive until it’s on your own doorstep. By then, it will be too late!”

Jeannette Murrin states, “This young man needs our support. Ryan suffered a life-altering injury after getting the first covid vaccine so that he could attend Memorial University. Now, the university and our government have turned their backs on him. This is not right, and we must let government and MUN know that as Newfoundlanders, we will not stand for it.”

Brent Cooper says, “This is outright bullying and discrimination, and the people who are responsible for this should be fired and fined for their ‘crimes on humanity!'”

Maggie McCarthy states, “As someone who has heard and been witness to just a fraction of what Ryan Guay has been through this past year, for this to be added on top of everything is unbelievable! I assure you that what he is saying is true and that it is as horrible as it sounds for someone to go through. No one deserves to be treated this way!!!”

Steve Whelan says, “Wow. This is what we’ve become? Absolutely disgusting on every level. This young man is doing everything right, and MUN is closing doors on him!”

Tricia Lowry states, “So now they can take away your right to a education even with a medical exemption. No shot, no education! What is happening???”

Emily Wells says, “Education shouldn’t be inaccessible for anyone, no matter the circumstances!”

Cody Guay states, “He [Ryan] deserves everything in life. He’s a very composed young man, so for him to have the confidence to share his story publicly takes a lot of courage. Every single day I see him sitting in his room. It’s the most depressing thing to witness. His life and foreseeable future is crumbling apart by the hour. I can only imagine the physical yet mental strain he’s going through being left helpless. As his older brother, it’s my right to stand up for him and to help in every aspect possible, as he’s been there by my side through my troubles.”

Marguerite Smith states, “This is so wrong in so many ways! Vaccines don’t stop the spread of the virus, as we now know. It only helps, maybe, prevent severe disease. Why enforce something on someone who clearly can’t tolerate it and has a medical exemption. All of this is just power-hungry people/organizations trying to interfere in the lives of others. I would not stop your rants; keep them until people start to smarten up. No, I am not an anti-vaxer, I have my shots, but I believe the freedom of young people to pursue their dreams is even more important! Hold fast, Ryan, and all the best with your fight!”

Deneille Oreilly says, “This is a co-worker and friend of mine that, through my time knowing him, is a very hard-working guy and talks highly of his education and career plans! He deserves more than this.”

Jen Haas states, “Unbelievable!! This is sad, deplorable & simply wrong on so many levels!! What is the matter with this ‘free’ country??”

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.

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.

MUN President Vianne Timmons’ Long History of Misspending

Vianne Timmons/The Telegram.

Many people in Newfoundland and Labrador are familiar with Memorial University President Vianne Timmons’s misspending, such as her $60 thousand office renovation and the over $338 thousand the administration spent on a Campus Master Plan that includes a skating rink. However, Timmons’s history of misspending started long before her time at MUN.

In 2013, as president of the University of Regina, Vianne Timmons faced accusations of misspending funds. According to CTV, faculty members “claimed non-academic positions have increased while teaching jobs have been cut, that education is being hurt, and that donor funds are being mismanaged. They also said there are questions of transparency over how money is spent.” This happened while students’ tuition rose by 2.8 percent each year at U of R.

Under Timmons, the University of Regina overpaid two staff members by almost $380,000. The university administration did not disclose this to the Saskatchewan government or the provincial auditor until the media published the story.

As a result, over 60 faculty members signed a petition demanding a non-confidence vote against Timmons and Provost Tom Chase. An associate professor in the English department, Susan Johnston, one of the leaders of the petition, asked the university budget to be made public “line-by-line.” The Advanced Education Minister at the time, Rob Norris, stated that the situation was unacceptable and asked the Ministry of Justice to review it.

However, the petition was defeated at a special meeting of the university council 135 to 134 with one spoiled ballot and three abstentions. Over 300 people attended the meeting. 

Six years later, on December 12, 2019, the white smoke emerged from Memorial University, and a new president-designate, Dr. Vianne Timmons, was announced. But some said that it was a puff of black smoke.

In October of 2019, MUN’s Faculty Association (MUNFA) wrote a letter questioning the secretive nature of the search for a new president. They argued that “such secrecy violates the core values of openness and shared decision-making that ought to guide our public university.”

MUN is a publicly funded institution, and closed-door processes limit searches. This way, the successful candidate is only required to prove to a select few and not the larger MUN community and the province that they are the best person for the position.

The university chose to limit its options for a better future by not embracing new ideas and ways of doing things. There has been a tendency among MUN officials to lock themselves into a way of thinking and uphold and enforce the status quo instead of being more flexible and open.

The administration is determined to conduct lavish external searches with headhunting firms for administrative positions instead of having capable people at MUN do it like faculty members, staff, and students. 

Were the short-listed candidates asked about their past financial history, and if so, to what degree was it considered? Were they asked their views on tuition costs? Were they asked if their views align with the mandate of Memorial to be accessible?

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.

MUN grants 88 exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines mandate for employees and students

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on

A recently obtained ATIPP reveals that Memorial University as of November 29th, 2021, has granted 88 employees and students exemptions and placed them into the testing program due to medical and other reasons for not meeting the requirement of being fully vaccinated.

The amount of testing for MUN’s program is varied, and the plan has various frequencies dependent upon the risk level at the time. However, MUN has not conducted testing and cannot report actual frequencies. Those granted exemptions use the rapid testing kits provided by the provincial government.

To date, there have been no costs to MUN for testing.

See ATIPP file 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.

MUN students start petition to move labs online petition.

On January 5th, 2022, students at Memorial University started an online petition for the university to move labs online. They take issue with MUN’s recent decision for all labs to be in-person for the Winter 2022 Semester. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is currently experiencing a COVID-19 Omicron variant surge.

The petition states, “We do not feel safe, or that MUN has our safety in mind with this decision, nor do we feel that MUN is adequately following public health recommendations. Labs have many people in any given lab at any given time, and while we have been told that social distancing and masking will be adequate, many are not comfortable with the idea of going to campus for this purpose.”

Furthermore, “Given that classes are remote, we are asking that MUN make labs remote as well for the time being, with the decision being reassessed the same as remote classes being reassessed before January 31st, 2022. We are asking that the safety and concerns of the students, faculty, and staff members be taken into account, and that we abide by public health’s request to keep our contacts low so that they are able to deal with the current surge of cases without contributing to the problem.”

Becca Chaulk states, “4/5 courses I’m taking this semester have labs. I’m not immunocompromised, but two very important people in my family are, my pop who can’t even get a common cold without risking his life due to health complications and my premature niece. If in-person labs go ahead while cases are extremely high, this means that I would have to go without seeing my family during the whole semester, and probably even the break after exams because I wouldn’t have enough time to isolate and that kills me. We deserve to have a choice in what makes us feel safe.”

Mason Penney says that 3 of the 5 courses they are taking during the semester have labs. Penney states, “I don’t feel comfortable coming in and doing labs. While classes are online, making no sense to me. I live over three hours away, but I am also in res. It doesn’t make sense for me to stay in town for 2-3 when the remaining courses are all online, and I can do at my home. Another factor, a big factor is that my nan is immunocompromised. She has lupus. Right now, my whole family are staying away from all public places. We get sidewalk groceries, and no one is in our home beside our bubble of 5. For me, this isn’t a hard decision to make when it comes to health of my family and myself. We deserve a choice; we need to be safe and put our concerns first.”

Katie Little brings with the issue of transportation to campus. She states, “On top of labs being a risk I am not able to take due to health issues, I don’t even know if I’d be able to make it to (or home from) campus since the buses have lowered capacity and fewer buses running.”

Emily George states, “Newfoundland currently has more active covid cases than we have seen during the entire pandemic. This active case number is also not accurate, as Newfoundland is only testing certain people, not everyone who wants a test, and it takes about a week from the time someone requests a test to the time they get a result back. We also have 3 people currently in hospital, which is a high number given the situation in our hospitals at the moment with low bed numbers and medical staff having to isolate. Many MUN students have also not yet had an opportunity to get the booster vaccination. MUN was completely online last year with very low active case numbers, so they have the ability to offer the same courses this semester with an online option. Studies show that n95 masks are much better than medical masks to prevent the spread of covid, yet we are required to take off n95 masks in lab settings and put on an ill-fitting medical mask. I have been completely isolated with 3 people for 2 weeks, and I planned to continue isolating until the case numbers drop significantly, but if I don’t take courses with labs this semester, I will graduate later than I had planned. I am finding myself faced with choosing between risking mine and my families health, or delaying my graduation date. MUN says that social distancing will take place on campus, but it is simply not possible to stay 6 feet away from others at all times in the hallways and when working on experiments in labs. Having people travel from all over Newfoundland and Labrador, and internationally, to attend labs in person is also greatly increasing students’ exposure risks. If anything, there should be an option to complete labs online this semester, and not force students to show up on campus or not complete their required courses. The Newfoundland Government is asking that everyone work from home where possible. It is possible, and was done just last year, to have labs online, so I feel as though MUN is not following the Newfoundland Government guidelines on this situation.”

A S states, “I feel unsafe walking into a lab and completing it next to strangers. We are all in this together, meaning we must work together to overcome this deadly virus, not worsen the state Newfoundland is already in because of our neglectful mindsets. We are all exhausted, but we must keep working. This virus can spread so easily, and allowing us students to enter labs is basically playing with our lives. We need to continue in a safe and smart way; this is not the way.”

Amy Butler says, “It’s so difficult to distinguish the situation that we’re all in as students right now; I find it crazy how labs are in person as cases are flourishing stupendously within the last two weeks. And there is nothing more I’d want than for labs to be held in person because it is much more valuable – but compromising students and faculty members has been seen to be a common theme at MUN within this pandemic, and I’ve found it extremely disingenuous.”

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.

Thank You for Your Support

Photo by Ann H on

Thank You for Your Support

While 2022 is a new year, it is not exactly a new start for me. The senior administration at Memorial University attempted to wreak destruction on my life in 2021. Instead of offering a timely resolution, they have decided to continue their bureaucratic process into the new year. They have subjected me to organizational bullying and intimidation. They have violated my human rights and subjected me to extreme disciplinary measures for a silent protest. All of this has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression on campus. Many students are now terrified to speak out and participate in actions for causes they believe in. 

The administration must have initially thought, even if I made the news at the time, the decision to banish me would be a short blip and then forgotten. The administration thought they could walk all over me. They have tried to isolate me from my peers. As a disabled student, they thought that I would be an easy target. They assumed that I could not stand up for myself against them. Those in power tend to focus on those they think are the weakest as it is easier to make an example out of them. However, they are totally failing in their attempts. The lawyer I have retained, Kyle Rees, continues to fight my unjust ban. Meanwhile, there has been an overwhelming amount of support for me and the causes of freedom of expression, financial responsibility for the administration, and resistance to tuition increases.

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.