Mackenzie Broders.

On January 31st, 2022, Memorial University student Mackenzie Broders took to social media to call out the powers that be at MUN. They stated, “This administration’s constant dismissal of the very people who make MUN the community what it is cannot be tolerated anymore.” Broders then shared her response to Dr. Vianne’s Timmons’s automated reply that she sent to those who expressed dissatisfaction with the return to in-person learning. Borders then stated, “I’m furious. You should be furious. We deserve better.”

Broders began her email to Timmons by stating, “Your automated, heedless response is a clear symbol of your absolute disinterest in the needs of your students and faculty, and that you would feel the need to have such a response eloquently reflects your constant dismissal and obvious disregard for the wellbeing of the very body of people upon whom your job and the existence of this institution depend.”

Furthermore, Broders stated, “Memorial University does not exist without its students, and your persistent refusal to acknowledge our needs is unacceptable. You have a responsibility to the students of Memorial University and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it is a responsibility that you have failed to rise to since you came to your office.”

Broders describes the decision to return to in-person learning as being made “hastily and without a concrete plan—this is unacceptable in any case. Students, many of whom were instructed to not return to the province following the break, are having to scramble to secure flights, accommodation, and transportation all within the space of a few days due to your lack of planning.”

Then Broders took issue with Timmons’s statement, “you have included displays that your administration refuses to listen to the needs of its students, faculty and staff by ignoring many of the calls put forward and instead implementing unsatisfactory measures that have left many students feeling more unsafe than ever but without a choice other than to return to campus.”

Even though Timmons did address some of the points by students in her statement, Broders said, “you fail, even refuse, to realize that they are not addressed adequately and that change, and an apology, are imperative.’

Broders stated that the primary directive of a university should be to promote learning, but during a pandemic, the institution’s responsibility is to promote the safety of its members. Broders stated, “Here, your administration has failed on two counts: firstly, students no longer feel that Memorial is a university that values their educations—instead, it is a leech, expecting 2.2 percent of this province’s population, a population of largely unskilled workers who are both working and trying to attend classes, to pay 30% of this province’s debt. Secondly, students no longer feel that Memorial values their safety or needs, as your constant irresponsibility with the lives of the 20,000 students at this university have done nothing to make students feel heard or secure.”

Finally, Broders stated, “You must listen to the voices of your students. You have failed in two ways that this university should never have failed. Students deserve an apology, to feel heard, and to know that the administrators of their institution are more than greedy, callous, unempathetic and out-of-touch. This is your responsibility. This university does not exist without its students.”

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.


Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: