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Auditor flags high salaries, lavish spending at Memorial University in Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A report from Newfoundland and Labrador’s auditor general takes aim at high salaries and lavish spending among higher-ups at the province’s only university.

The audit of Memorial University released today found the school has the highest administrative salaries per student compared with other mid-sized universities.

The report says the university’s compensation policies were “either non-existent or outdated” and that nearly a third of the school’s expenses are decided by its president and not reviewed by its governing board.

The auditor general also says former president Vianne Timmons claimed $56,504  in expenses to redecorate her office, of which $2,700 was used to buy a desk and chair for her home.

The report says Timmons did not take personal leave to attend meetings of boards she was on, including Via Rail, and that she claimed nearly $1,500 to host a dinner for 10 employees and spouses at her home, exceeding the allowable limit of $250.

Timmons’ tenure as president was marked by her move in 2021 to double tuition, and then by a faculty strike early this year, followed by scrutiny of her claims of Indigenous heritage, which resulted in her being removed from her post.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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