President Timmons is off on a voluntary six-week leave of absence following public discourse after CBC led an investigation into her Indigenous status and ancestry.
During Timmons’s leave, Memorial’s Board of Regents will be led in a Roundtable Engagement with Indigenous Peoples to consider the president’s claims of Mi’kmaw heritage and guide the board on this matter.
Dr. Neil Bose, interim provost and vice-president (academic) and pro-vice-chancellor, will assume presidential responsibilities on an interim basis. This decision came into effect yesterday, Sunday, March 12, 2023.
In the meantime, Memorial’s Board of Regents reiterated the critical importance of Indigenization and the fundamental role universities play in truth and reconciliation.
“Our vision is, and remains, to create a Memorial University where every aspect of the academy is integrated with Indigenous ways of doing, being and knowing.”
Memorial’s Board of Regents also said their initial understanding was that President Timmons did not claim an Indigenous identity but has since received a lot of feedback from the community.
“As a Board, we have been reflecting on how to proceed in a way that is respectful of Indigenous people, our president, and the Memorial community. While our initial understanding was that President Timmons did not claim Indigenous identity, we have received a lot of feedback from the community. We have received important questions about the president’s actions, and we believe we have a responsibility to Indigenous Peoples and a fiduciary duty as a Board to explore these questions further.”
A statement from President Timmons shortly followed in response to the Board of Regent’s release in The Gazette.
“I have been reflecting on this feedback from the Indigenous community, and I sincerely regret any hurt or confusion sharing my story may have caused. That was never my intention and I deeply apologize to those I have impacted,” said Timmons.
More of President Timmons’s statement can be read in The Gazette, and the Muse will continue to cover and monitor updates to follow.