|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
The Values of Memorial University include:
Freedom and Discovery: Supporting the freedom to pursue knowledge that is based on individual and collective intelligence, curiosity, ingenuity and creativity.
Memorial University’s Student Code of Conduct (Code) states in Article 5(a)(7):
While a university environment is one where freedom of speech is highly valued, students must adhere to provisions of the Human Rights Act, 2010 and discrimination is prohibited on the following grounds: race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, social origin, creed, religion, age, disability, disfigurement, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, family status, source of income and political opinion. Comments or action based on an individual’s association or relationship whether actual or presumed, with an individual or class of individuals identified above is also prohibited.
Further, Article 5(e) of the Code includes as an offence the disruption of University and student-organized events:
Offences involving disruption include:
Acting, threatening or otherwise causing a disturbance that obstructs any activity organized by the University or by any of its faculties, schools, departments or divisions, clubs, societies or resource centres, or the rights of a member of the University community to carry on her or his legitimate activities, to speak to or associate with others.
Students and members of the University community enjoy the freedom to pursue their intellectual and personal interests without interference. The objectives of the University are the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression. The University recognizes academic freedom and the right to free speech, creative expression and peaceful protest, acknowledging that the common good of society depends upon the search for knowledge and its free expression.
The following are not considered Disruption in accordance with this section:
However, noise that obstructs the conduct of a meeting or class, or forcibly blocking access to an activity constitutes Disruption under this Code.
Memorial University does not have a policy expressly preventing the University from charging security fees to students hosting discussions or lectures on controversial subjects.
Memorial’s Poster Guidelines state:
As with all activities, posters must comply with Memorial University’s policies and procedures, which include (but are not limited to) the Student Code of Conduct, the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy, the Respectful Workplace Policy and, where appropriate, the Procedure for Alcohol-related Advertising. Any poster deemed to be in violation of any university policy or procedure, or which is deemed to be non-university related, will be removed immediately. The university reserves the right to remove any poster at any time.
Memorial University provides funding to ideological diversity programs, such as the development of a diversity training modules.
In October 2017, posters and leaflets were distributed around Memorial University’s St. John’s campus. The posters contained the title “Islamic Domination of the West” and contained text including “Pretend to be a refugee in order to gain access to your chosen country”, “Implement a watered down version of Sharia Law with the help of Leftists”, “Kill all those who don’t submit to Islam and dominate every Western country”, and “Play the minority card…”. The posters were removed promptly upon their discovery by campus security officials.
Memorial University did not have a formal approval process for Posters prior to this incident; students and community members were free to post on bulletin boards. Following the incident, Poster Guidelines came into effect.
There is no policy expressly committing MUNSU to uphold campus free speech rights, but there are no speech codes in the MUNSU election policies and procedures.
Section 11(B) of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU) Bylaws requires clubs to include all MUNSU members, regardless of whether their beliefs are in line with the mission and values of the group.
Section 11(E)(4) further states “[t]he MUN Students’ Union will not recognize or ratify any group that the Board of Directors considers to be of a homophobic, transphobic, racist, ageist, ableist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory or exclusionary nature.”
In their “Policy Manual”, MUNSU takes stances on issues not directly related to its mandate, including blood donation and pronoun usage.
There are no recent cases of MUNSU failing to uphold free expression rights on campus.
In the 2018–19 financial year,* Memorial University received $420,018,000 in taxpayer dollars in the form of government grants. These taxpayer funds accounted for 67.4% of their annual revenue.
*Memorial University did not make their 2019–20 financial statements available by the time of publication of the 2020 Campus Freedom Index.