Nfld. & Labrador

Picnic protest: MUN students serve up PB&J sandwiches

MUN's student union is taking a bite out of the university's proposed tuition hike — with a PB&J protest.
Students from Memorial Univeristy gathered outside the Arts and Administration building in St. John's to have a picnic protest Thursday afternoon. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

Students served up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside Memorial University Thursday afternoon in St. John's as a sign of protest.

"This is about showing that students cannot afford a tuition hike right now. We can barely afford to eat as it is," student Shelby Thomas said.

"And even though our administration doesn't think that they should be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this is all students can afford."

During a recent interview, MUN vice-president (academic) Noreen Golfman defended the university's spending on events and dinners for potential faculty.

"We're not feeding them peanut butter sandwiches, we are doing what professionals do," she said.

About two dozen students showed up for the picnic protest. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

Thomas was quite shocked by Golfman's comments.

"Hunger is a big issue. Student food banks are a really big thing on our campuses," she said. 

On May 11, the MUN board of regents will hold a meeting where there will be a "vote on tuition fee hikes proposed by Memorial's senior administrators," Memorial University's student union stated in a release.

Student Shelby Thomas says she was "quite shocked" by MUN vice-president (academic) Noreen Golfman's comments about not serving peanut butter sandwiches to potential faculty. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

The picnic, it said, is to "highlight the realities of food insecurity amongst students and the impact fee increases will have on this growing issue.

"Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, peanut-butter-free peanut butter will be provided."

Thomas said students — especially international students — won't be able to afford to attend MUN if tuition goes up.

"Students come to Memorial for the main reason [of] the low tuition. They're promised a low tuition when they come here. That's how they recruit students, is our low tuition. So to hike that up is breaking a lot of promises."

With files from Alyson Samson