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Support of reservists recognized

Memorial University has been selected as a provincial winner of a Canadian Forces Liason Council (CFLC) award.

The award is presented bi-annually to employers who demonstrate outstanding support to reservists, with nominations accepted from primary reservists and commanding officers. This year, more than 200 employers were nominated nationally. Thirteen awards will be given to Newfoundland and Labrador employers. The awards will be presented on Wednesday, March 9, at Government House by Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie.

Memorial University has always had a strong connection to the military. The institution itself was established as a memorial to the Newfoundlanders who lost their lives on active service during the First World War (and later re-dedicated to also include those lost in the Second World War), while Memorial’s chancellor, General Rick Hillier previously, served as chief of the defence staff with the Canadian Forces. Memorial’s official colors, white and claret, were derived from the colors of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Honouring its military heritage, Memorial has always shown strong support to reservists.
“Students are the major component of the reserve units,” said Commander Max Harvey, CFLC liaison officer with the Department of National Defense. “There are about 1,400 reservists in Newfoundland. Conservatively, I would suspect that at least 20 per cent are Memorial/Marine Institute students.”

While there is no encompassing policy surrounding student reservists, discretion often falls to individual instructors and professors. According to Corporal Terry Day, a reservist with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the level of support and co-operation at Memorial is high.

“I took a week and a half off classes to go help out after Igor, and the reaction from my professors was pretty much the same. They all basically said ‘Don’t even think about not going.’ I didn’t even have to ask about my assignments or exams, they offered to defer them before I got a chance. And there were at least 4 or 5 other Memorial students out there in my unit (of about 30) alone.”

There are, however, policies in place regarding reservist/military employees who may avail of special military leave when required.

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