11, 2002, Gazette)
Views on the name change
I would like to take this opportunity to voice my objection to shortening
the name of our university to Memorial University. I would like to retain
the name Memorial University of Newfoundland. My reasons for objecting
to the change are many.
This name is in memory of those who served in the First and Second World
Wars when Newfoundland was not a province of Canada. This should be set
in stone. It was an honourable reason for the name and should stand the
test of time. Changing the name now would deprive our past, present and
future students of the sense of history and connection to it that is a
very important part of their university experience.
Few people now know where Newfoundland is or what our university is called.
We may compound the problem by deleting Newfoundland from our universitys
name. Graduates of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), who are
situated all over the world, have helped put Newfoundland on the map.
I expect that the acronym will now be MU and not MUN. This will happen
despite efforts to resist it. The acronym could not remain MUN simply
because it is universal that U, not UN, is the abbreviation for university.
Will MUNFA now become MUFA and will MUNSU become MUSU?
The MU acronym (pronounced mew or moo) lends itself
to a comic effect, whether intended or not. This, associated with the
name of our university being in Newfoundland, will add to the existing
barrage of jokes that come our way.
Do we now have to consider changing the Ode to Newfoundland or The Fighting
Newfoundlander? Changing the name of the province, which seems to have
been done with minimal public consultation, should not automatically mean
that now everything with Newfoundland in its name has to be changed to
Newfoundland and Labrador.
We must remember that when Newfoundlanders fought in the World Wars, Labrador
was included as part of Newfoundland and thats what makes it part
of our history and makes us proud to be Newfoundlanders. Labrador should
and always will have its own identity. Although it may seem unlikely today,
there is always the possibility of having a campus in Labrador or, in
the future, a University of Labrador. But once we change the name of MUN
we are not likely to reverse it.
We should also consider the costs that will be incurred by change - promotional
material, signs, letterheads, Web sites, and the list goes on and on.
I am very passionate about this cause, being a born, bred and proud Newfoundlander.
I take pride in the fact that I graduated from MUN. I also take pride
in the fact that we were once a dominion with our own flag and anthem.
To achieve my goal of keeping our name I have started a petition against
the name change, and I am trying to circulate it as widely as possible.
I currently have over 900 names plus almost 20 e-mails and the list is
growing rapidly. If necessary, I intend to take this petition to Roger
Grimes personally. I would also encourage you to write our premier directly.
If anyone would like to add their name to the petition, they may call
me at 777-6747 or send their own letter to me by e-mail email@example.com
or by regular mail c/o Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland,
St. Johns, NF, A1B 3V6.
Dr. June Harris
Associate professor of anatomy