On February 2, 2022, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union issued a statement on student dissent. See the statement below:
“Dear MUNSU Members,
Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU) stands in solidarity with student activists as we have witnessed a pattern of students’ voices being ignored, neglected, and silenced across Memorial University.
Students and faculty have come together to call for increased protections, informed support, and reasonable accommodations to ensure the safety of every member of MUNL as the university returns to in-person learning. These calls have been minimized and pushed aside as administration pushes forward its agenda without any regard for student concerns.
The decision to massively increase tuition in response to the government cuts to funding post-secondary education has caused outrage and fear as current and prospective students can no longer afford to access an undergraduate degree. Students and community province-wide have been actively organizing against the decision- rallying for accessible and affordable education as a right for all, marching in the streets of downtown, lobbying government and administration, and sharing their outrage as our leadership displays their complete lack of value for students and young people.
While these decisions from government and university leadership have sparked actions from numerous students, we are incredibly concerned that one student is being silenced through the wrongful use of the Student Code of Conduct. An undergraduate student at MUNL has been banned from engaging in student life as a result of exercising their right to peacefully protest. This student has been granted limited access to classes, the library, and the University Centre for the purpose of obtaining needed resources. However, this student remains banned from accessing the rest of campus life at Memorial as a result of voicing their dissent and challenging the President and administration of this institution through peaceful protest.
MUNSU is calling on senior administration at Memorial University to fully drop any remaining bans that are prohibiting this student from fully engaging in student life at this institution. We believe that using the Student Code of Conduct in this way is an unethical attempt to block students from accessing their right to dissent and engage in peaceful protest.
MUNL students are expressing fear of repercussions from university leadership when speaking out against university decisions that are actively creating barriers to their ability to access an education. MUNSU encourages all students, faculty, and staff to continue to speak out against tuition fee increases, the privatization of education, underfunded students resources, and all decisions that create barriers to accessibility and force students and our families further into debt.
MUNSU is calling on university administration to listen to the voices of students, to value the lives and wellbeing of the MUNL community. We are calling on our leadership to recognize their unethical attempts to block student dissent on campus and uphold the rights of students to engage in peaceful protest. MUNSU is calling on our leadership to prioritize our right to access an education.
All students who feel as if they have been subjected to unjust treatment as a result of the Student Code of Conduct should contact your Executive Director of Advocacy, John Mweemba at firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other inquiries, please feel free to get in touch with your Executive Director of External Affairs, Communications, and Research, Hilary Hennessey, at email@example.com.
MUN Students’ Union (MUNSU)”
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.