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(May 23, 2002, Gazette)

Two sides to story
about name change

Dear Editor,
As the public is well aware, Labrador has recently been officially recognized by government as part of the province. We feel this was a stepping stone in acknowledging Labrador’s contribution within the province. Labrador produces a generous amount of revenue to the government from resources such as iron ore, hydro electricity, forestry, the military base, and the upcoming Voisey’s Bay mineral project. This revenue obtained from Labrador is disbursed to various government institutions. Therefore, Labrador’s name should rightfully be included in all government institutions that serve Newfoundland and Labrador.

Memorial University is an example of one government institution that serves students from Newfoundland and Labrador. Accordingly, it should recognize both Newfoundland and Labrador students equally.

Since Labrador’s name has been acknowledged, a decision will be made in the near future with regards to the name of the university. Already, there is an opposition in Labrador’s inclusion. This is a downfall for Labradorians since it has taken 75 years for Labrador to be officially recognized as part of the province.

Dr. June Harris has been campaigning to the public and on campus to exclude Labrador in the name. Her arguments are that history is the reason to keep the name as is. Dr. Harris states that MUN was named as a memorial for Newfoundlanders who fought in First and Second World Wars. Dr. Harris is one of the many individuals who are unaware or unwilling to recognize the Labradorians who fought alongside these Newfoundlanders.

As well, the Labrador region itself was very essential during these wars with regard to radar sites and military bases that were stationed throughout Labrador.

Dr. Harris also states that if the name was just Memorial University the abbreviation would be MU and that the pronunciation would sound funny. We would like to add that MUN’s pronunciation also was once considered an odd name until the public got accustomed to using it. In comparing the name to another university such as Carlton University the abbreviated form is CU. We have to ask is CU any different then MU? As well, Dr. Harris states that if Labrador’s name is included the abbreviated form would be MUNL. She states that this form is an inconvenience because of its length and because students refer to the MUN tunnel systems as MUNL. When in actual fact MUNL is the abbreviated form that the staff uses in reference to the tunnels. Students refer to the tunnels as tunnels, not MUNL’s.

The Board of Regents has set up a committee to decide on the official name of the university because the provincial government officially recognized Labrador. To support our debate we would like for the public to contact the Board of Regents Office at 737-8281 or e-mail at eleanorb@mun.ca. We would like to add, it’s not enough to verbally agree we need your support in contacting the above in writing, phoning or via e-mail.

In equality,
Elizabeth Rice and Beth Saunders
Memorial students