Former Provost and Vice President (Academic) Noreen Golfman has spoke out against the complaint and sanctions by Memorial University against student protestor Matt Barter (me) in an article in The Independent. She was herself a subject of my past protests and felt annoyed but not harassed or intimidated.
Golfman states, “I think this is a real overreach here.”
Golfman also disputed Memorial’s characterization of me as deliberately targeting women.
Furthermore, she states “I just don’t buy it.” Golfman explained that she never once felt my protests against her as a senior administrator were personal or that they had a sexist or misogynistic element. “I just never felt that” Golfman said.
She also noted that much of my and the Memorial student union’s attention at the time was focused on the salaries of senior administrators, including then-President Gary Kachanoski.
Regarding myself, Golfman states, “He was a kind of equal opportunity activist as far as I was concerned.”
A few years ago, during a public budget consultation, Golfman said that she would meet with me to discuss concerns I had about the university’s fiscal management but when I went to her office to request the meeting, I was told that she would not meet with me.
Regarding my participation in the budget consultation, Golfman states, “I knew where he was coming from, but I didn’t personally feel threatened by him. It was for me more annoyance and frustration.”
Golfman said that when she arrived at her office the next morning, she shared her frustration with some of her staff about my participation during the consultation. She said that when I arrived at her office unannounced to request the meeting that she was already in another meeting.
Regarding her office staff, Golfman states that my “unconventional route of just showing up and demanding to see me then […] I think that kind of freaked them out.”
“I think they were thrown off guard or unnerved by him just showing up, which is kind of not the way that they’re used to” states Golfman.
Golfman said she was contacted by the investigator Kimberley Horwood and asked if she would be willing to be interviewed. Golfman responded that she would but was then never summoned for an interview.
Golfman said she agrees that protests are intended to make people uncomfortable.
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.