A former staff member of the MUN Students’ Union (MUNSU), Daniel Smith, took to social media to express concern with comments made by Memorial University President Vianne Timmons and Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall in an investigative report published by this webpage on March 2, 2022. See their statement below:

“When referencing the issue with the banner, Timmons noted that the university works with students for protests. That is a flat-out lie. In the instance referenced regarding the banner, I (in my previous role at MUNSU) reached out to Greg to get access to places around campus where our banners would not be taken down. He told me which areas were acceptable – basically the areas that we wanted. We put them up, and just a few hours later, they were removed. I called him and was very upset about what I believed, and still believe, was an organized effort on behalf of the university to pander to our concerns, “work with us,” but then betray us. It was only after I called him did he work to find the banners. They were eventually returned to my home address later that evening. The point of the banners that day was to advertise an event happening the following day, so even though they returned the banners, it was too late.

And the banners were a backup plan. Our original request was to paint the inside of the windows in the UC with messaging for motorists to read as they passed by. We had done this a few years ago and were then hit with a roughly $1000 cleaning bill AFTER we had cleaned the windows ourselves. At that time, we were told that the next time we wanted to do that, all we had to do was ask first. When we wanted to do it again for the action in question here (2021), we were denied. The university didn’t work with us; they actively worked against us.

President Timmons saying the university works with students regarding protests is a flat-out lie in my experience; the university administration, in their active advocacy for less public funding and greater privatization, works in counter to the goals of the student movement.”

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.


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