memorial university

MUN continues pause on Ode to Newfoundland at convocation during consultations

The Ode to Newfoundland will not be played at Memorial University’s convocation ceremonies while consultations continue, the university announced Wednesday.

Memorial discontinued the singing of the “Ode to Newfoundland” at convocation ceremonies in the fall of 2022, saying the Ode does not reflect the many communities within Memorial. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to continue pausing use of the Ode while consultation is ongoing. This decision follows the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees and Ceremonial.

An ad hoc committee of Senate will be engaging with Indigenous students, Labradorians, international students and other key groups about how to ensure convocation ceremonies are inclusive, and appropriately reflect and celebrate student achievements.

“The decision to remove the “Ode to Newfoundland” from convocation was intended to create safer and more welcoming spaces for all students,” university president Neil Bose said in a statement. “We have heard the different reactions from many in the community, and we apologize for the approach taken in making the initial decision. We are committed to working together with representatives from the different communities and groups, internal and external to the university, to consider the continued evolution of our convocation ceremonies.

“Now, with a mechanism for further discussion established through this ad hoc committee of Senate, we look forward to celebrating at spring convocation ceremonies. It is a week where the community comes together to rightly focus on the collective success of our graduating class — some 2,500 students.”

MUNSU optimistic after meeting with premier about university funding

The Memorial University Students’ Union met with Premier Andrew Furey this week. MUNSU now says it’s optimistic the province could increase funding to the university. NTV’s Ben Cleary reports.

Vianne Timmons out as president of Memorial University

Vianne Timmons’ contract as president of Memorial University has been ended without cause, the Board of Regents announced Thursday.

“On behalf of the Memorial University Board of Regents, I would like to advise that as of today Dr. Timmons will be leaving the role of president and vice-chancellor,” Glenn Barnes, chair of the Board of Regents, said in a statement. “As per the terms of her contract, Dr. Timmons’ appointment is being ended on a without cause basis.”

Timmons was on a six-week, paid leave of absence after CBC raised questions about her past claims of Indigenous heritage.

“The board appreciates Dr. Timmons’ contributions to the university during her time with Memorial, particularly her efforts to advance the university’s strategic priorities. We extend our best wishes in all her future endeavors,” Barnes said.

Neil Bose has been appointed president and vice-chancellor pro tempore for a two-year term or until a new president is recruited.

A new presidential search will be undertaken in due course. Opportunities for input from a wide range of representatives from the Memorial community will be provided.

Vianne Timmons takes leave of absence as MUN president while committee assesses claims of Indigenous heritage

Memorial University president Vianne Timmons is taking a voluntary, six-week paid leave of absence while a committee of Indigenous leaders holds discussions on Timmons’ past claims of Mi’kmaw heritage.

The move comes after a CBC investigation raised questions about Timmons’ past membership in an unrecognized Mi’kmaq band in Nova Scotia and her past statements on Indigenous heritage.

The Board of Regents announced Monday it is striking a committee of Indigenous leaders to lead a Roundtable Engagement with Indigenous Peoples to consider the president’s claims of Mi’kmaw heritage and provide guidance to the board on this matter.

“While our initial understanding was that President Timmons did not claim Indigenous identity, we have received a lot of feedback from the community,” Glen Barnes, the chair of the Board of Regents, wrote in a statement. “We have received important questions about the president’s actions, and we believe we have a responsibility to Indigenous Peoples and a fiduciary duty as a Board to explore these questions further.”

Timmons also released a statement Monday with an apology.

“While I have shared that I am not Mi’kmaq and I do not claim an Indigenous identity, questions about my intentions in identifying my Indigenous ancestry and whether I have benefitted from sharing my understanding of my family’s history have sparked important conversations on and beyond our campus,” Timmons wrote. “I have been reflecting on this feedback from the Indigenous community, and I sincerely regret any hurt or confusion sharing my story may have caused. That was never my intention and I deeply apologize to those I have impacted.”

Dr. Neil Bose, interim provost and vice-president academic, will fill in as acting president during Timmons’ leave of absence.

“We have started the process of engaging with Indigenous leaders in our province to lead these conversations and we will have an update about the scope, timelines and leadership of the Roundtable Engagement soon,” Barnes wrote.

MUN president Vianne Timmons releases statement on Indigenous identity

Memorial University president Vianne Timmons released a lengthy statement Tuesday on the issue of Indigenous identity. She says her family, through her father, has Mi’kmaw ancestry, but she herself is not Mi’kmaq and is not Indigenous. Her family had been registered in a Cape Breton band that is not federally recognized, but she grew uncomfortable with that membership over time as she was not raised in the community or the culture, so she discontinued it. Timmons said in her statement that falsely claiming Indigenous identity is categorically wrong, and she will be more cognizant in the future about how she shares information about her heritage.

The full statement can be read here.

MUN faculty vote to ratify new four-year collective agreement with university

Members of the MUN Faculty Association have voted to ratify a new four-year collective agreement with the university.

The deal includes a 12 per cent raise over four years, an extra month of pay for teaching-term contract workers, no change to post-retirement benefits, and a committee to review collegial governance.

The deal also recognizes the value and importance of Indigenous forms of knowledge.

Students share views on returning to class after Memorial University faculty strike

Thursday was the first full day of classes at Memorial University after the faculty strike and a partial snow day on Wednesday. NTV’s Bailey Howard reports.

Classes resume at MUN as faculty prepare to vote on tentative deal

Classes resumed at Memorial University after a delayed opening Wednesday. Faculty are back on the job after a tentative deal was reached to end the two-week strike. NTV’s Bailey Howard reports.

Memorial University restarting classes Wednesday after tentative deal in faculty strike

Classes and labs will resume at Memorial University on Wednesday, Feb. 15, after a tentative agreement was reached Friday in the faculty strike.

The university released a statement Sunday evening outlining the process: For paused courses, all activity, including tests and assignments, originally scheduled to take place between Jan. 30 and Feb. 15 will be adjusted. Instructors will provide information directly to students about changes to their syllabus. Students were not expected to keep up with course deliverables while courses were paused and are not expected to submit all missed material as soon as classes resume. 

Students with campus jobs should connect with their supervisors to confirm arrangements to resume work interrupted due to the strike. Students with experiential learning and research components (e.g.  co-op work terms, practica) in their programs that were paused during the strike should connect with their supervisors to confirm the details of resumption of work.

The academic term will not be extended; the last day of the semester is April 21. The Senate will convene to discuss any changes and considerations for the disruption to students caused by the strike.

The Feb. 20-24 winter semester break will go ahead as scheduled. 

Tentative deal reached in Memorial University faculty strike

There has been a breakthrough in the 11-day Memorial University faculty strike. The two sides have reached a tentative deal.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement today,” said Dr. Neil Bose, interim provost and vice-president (academic). “Overall, the contract provides a generous package of improvements to support our valued faculty colleagues, while at the same time maintaining the long-term viability of Memorial University.”

Next steps include ratification by the Board of Regents as well as by MUNFA’s members. The university will not share further details of the tentative agreement while the ratification process is ongoing.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the negotiating teams for both Memorial and MUNFA for their hard work in reaching this agreement, as well as to the many employees who supported our students throughout the labour dispute,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, president of Memorial University. Further details will be shared directly with students as they become available, including a potential timeline for return to classes.

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