Memorial University students, faculty, and staff returned to campus on January 31st, 2022. However, many students were not there as they disagreed with the administration’s back-to-campus plan. Several students took part in a virtual walkout protest from the safety of their own homes.
Student Kira Whittaker states, “So at the moment, there’s no plan for providing online learning opportunities for students who are facing isolation or who simply can’t return to campus as a result of being immunocompromised and feeling unsafe.”
Another student Andrew Taylor says, “The administration came out… and said if you’re in class and you want to have a sip of water, for instance, you can’t move your mask up to have a sip of water. So I mean, if it’s not safe enough to move your mask up three seconds to sip water, I don’t understand why they’re rushing to get back into class.”
MUNSU Executive Director of External Affairs Hilary Hennessey states, “I feel that MUN should be online during this time as a way to protect everyone’s health and safety as well as to ensure that professors can accommodate students and not have to drain themselves trying to conduct in-person and online learning.”
MUN President Vianne Timmons states that they are doing the best they can with the information they have. She also claims to understand the concerns some students have.
Timmons states, “So there were many different views about coming back to campus today. Some supportive, some not supportive. We listened to the students; we’ve done a few things they’ve asked us to. For example, extend the add/drop date until January 31st with no penalty. So, we have listened to concerns, but we felt with public health guidelines, and we work closely with public health, and other universities around Atlantic Canada all coming back today or have been back, most of them, we felt that this was an appropriate time to bring the students back to campus.”
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.