On December 16, 2021, on NTV Evening Newshour, journalist Ben Cleary spoke with Lawyer Kyle Rees on student Matt Barter’s ban from Memorial University campus. See the transcript below:
Glen Carter: Now there are lawyers involved. That student we told you about, banned from MUN’s campus, except for classes, is fighting back. NTV’s Ben Cleary has more on that tonight.
Ben Cleary: It was an awkward scene. Memorial University President Vianne Timmons was giving a speech. Matt Barter, a student protester, was standing right beside her. And since that protest in early December Political Science student Mat Barter has been banned from attending Memorial University for anything other than classes, and his lawyer is saying that punishment is too harsh.
Kyle Rees: He’s allowed to attend the university to go to classes, but even then, he must be escorted by campus enforcement, campus police. And he’s not allowed to, you know, go to the library, go to the gym, go to the cafeteria, he’s not allowed to go volunteer, or participate in campus media. God forbid attend a press conference with the president.
BC: Kyle Rees is Matt Barter’s lawyer. Yesterday he sent this letter to the office at MUN that deals with student conduct condemning the university’s action against his client.
KR: The student code of conduct and the ability to sort of, on an interim basis, ban a student from campus is designed to be used in the most serious cases where there’s like a public safety concern or some sexual harassment has occurred. Those sorts of things. Matt Barter falls under none of those categories.
BC: Now, Rees hopes Barter will be allowed back on campus as soon as possible. He said this isn’t about one individual student; it’s about all students who hope to raise their voice and criticize the university without fear of punitive measures.
KR: What I am worried about is the chilling effect that the university administration simply by imposing these measures and charging somebody under their code of conduct would make any student afraid to protest.
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.