MUNFA Statement Regarding President Timmons’ Claims to Indigenous Origins

March 14, 2023

MUNFA members have been communicating their thoughts to MUNFA Executive since allegations about President Timmons’ Indigenous origins began to unfold on March 8th. These messages from members to Executive have offered a diversity of opinions and include requests for advice, guidance, and leadership.

As members will know, the Board of Regents released a statement that outlines a process “to consider the president’s claims of Mi’kmaw heritage and provide guidance to the board on this matter”.

The process to investigate the President’s identity claims is rightfully being led by Indigenous communities relevant to Memorial University. In our view, both the Board of Regents and the President should be stepping back from the process being led by Memorial’s Indigenous governance structures: the Office of Indigenous Affairs (OIA) and the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC). The Executive is confident that details about how this process is to work will become clearer with time.

Repairing the emergent situation at Memorial University will likely involve some difficult conversations. MUNFA members looking for guidance to this unfolding situation at Memorial University may wish to consult the following report from October 2022 covering a similar situation at the University of Saskatchewan:

MUNFA Executive also encourages members not already familiar with Indigenization efforts at Memorial to consult the following key information:

The current situation reinforces the need to Indigenize and democratize governance at Memorial University. MUNFA is committed to supporting and enacting these goals.