Just when I think I'm out and not commenting on Memorial University of Newfoundland again, they pull me back in.
I actually fired off a quip to Ed about how Premier Williams might try to expropriate Memorial University in much the same way he was doing with the mill in Grand Falls/Windsor. His response? "Already done." Depressing, but not inaccurate.
So let me wrap my brain around this. A few weeks before Christmas, when absolutely no one at MUN is paying the slightest bit of attention to the Board of Regents because staff and students are up to their eyeballs with just trying to get through exams so they can get to Christmas...
... that's when the government decides the Board is in need of a "renewal" and purges four more members. And no, their terms on the Board weren't up. Hell, two of them must have been appointed this year since their term would have been up in 2011 and appointments are for three years.
And gosh, look at that, Mary Broderick was one of the ones who must have been past her best before date, because she just got renewed right off the Board. And hey, look at that, it happened right before she was about to present a report to the Board of Regents recommending "changes to the Memorial University Act to ensure autonomy for the institution, especially as it relates to the role of the provincial government in the appointment of a president."
But it's pure coincidence that the Board was in need of renewing at this time.
As for the new members of the Board - Mary Cormier of Corner Brook, Michelle Day of Grand Falls-Windsor, Noreen Greene-Fraize of St. John's and Debbie Singleton of Happy Valley-Goose Bay - I have no idea who they are. Can someone let me know who they are and their connection to Williams? I'm willing to bet you won't have to use Six Degrees of Separation to figure that out.
That Williams is making a Machiavellian power grab to control the university should be fairly obvious at this point. Students are being bought off with cheap tuition, the Board of Regents are being brought firmly under his control. I suspect senior management have probably been warned about getting too vocal about their concerns. And given how many professors I tend to see on the news supporting whatever Williams is up to these days, there doesn't appear to be much resistance in that quarter either.
And perhaps it's not a big deal. Maybe everyone at the university is happy and this is a good thing. Perhaps the government having that much control over the university will revolutionize the way education is conducted. I'm not sure a government having that much control over the province's main institute of higher learning is necessarily a good idea. But I'm only half clever and perhaps people smarter than me can see the benefits of the premier stomping all over the campus like a saggy jowled Godzilla.
I just view it as perfectly scary. Both in why the premier is so determined to control the university and why the university is so content to curl up into a ball and go "please don't hurt us."
Unless I have my history wrong, there was a time when universities legitimately had to worry about their local ruler getting annoyed with them and sending men with sharp, point objects on to the campus to do terrible things with those objects. And yet, many stood up to them, risking their lives for what they believed in.
Danny Williams is only a local politician with a massively inflated ego. He's not a king. He doesn't have a scary army of men with swords. He has an army of losers with nothing better to do than call crappy open line radio shows. If you're happy with what's happening with MUN, well God bless and God speed.
If you're not, well, then may I humbly suggest people might, just might want to do something about this. Because this is now getting ridiculous.
Edit - Well, one of the four has been outed - Debbie Singleton is the Labrador Area Vice-President of the Progressive Conservative Party. Next?
1. 22 steps - Andy Stochansky*
2. Only son - Liz Phair
3. Away - Jenny Gear and the Whiskey Kittens
4. Luno - Bloc Party
5. Bone of song - Josh Ritter