Friday 4 April 2014

Open Letter to the Members of the Memorial University Senate

The following is a copy of the email I sent today to every member of the Memorial University Senate. If you'd like a copy of the email list in order to send your own letter, send me a note.


Dear Members of the Memorial University Senate,

I'm a proud alumni of Memorial, one of the founders of the Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship, a frequent guest lecturer, MUN volunteer, and a Research Associate of the Department of Folklore. I am writing to you about the Senate’s troubling decision last November to modify its position on weapons on campus. The previous policy to prohibit the possession, storage, or use of firearms, ammunition, or weapons on any property of the University was a good one, and a smart one.

Weapons do not belong in classrooms. That is the ideal, and one which we should never compromise.

One of Memorial’s roles is to provide the best environment for education that it possibly can. This means taking a stand for what is right. No student, faculty, staff member, or visiting lecturer should have to be in a classroom where weapons of any kind are present.

Memorial prides itself as being an inclusive community, dedicated to innovation and excellence in teaching, learning, and public engagement. The Senate has an opportunity here to show vision and courage, to be a beacon for positive and peaceful dialogue, to foster the best possible conditions for student learning, and to set a clear policy which enshrines classroom spaces as weapons-free zones.

These are things that need to be worked out carefully, transparently, and with the participation and consultation of the wider university community. I know that your next regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate is April 8th, and I hope that at that meeting, you and your colleagues will reverse the decision of November 2013, and take strong steps to abolish all weapons from classrooms at Memorial University.

Respectfully yours,

Dale Gilbert Jarvis, BSc, MA

“Peace is a mode of behaviour.”
     - UNESCO Yamoussourko Declaration on Peace 

photo: David Miller/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

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