Fortunately for the general public what would otherwise be a very boring debate by academics and the people who sign their paychecks, we're treated to an epic rap battle (a war of words is old school) by two of the province's more prominent trash-talkers - Premier Daniel "Da Maniel" Williams who is reppin' for his West Side crew at Grenfell and Memorial Chancellor John "My Press Releases Contain Way Too Many Words" Crosbie, rockin' the mic in the East Side and ballin' with his MUN Board of Regents homeboys. (And yes, that does create the most awkward mental image ever but none of you can say you wouldn't pay to see the concert.)
The main argument between Tupac and Biggie can essentially be boiled down to Williams, on one side, pushing a separate university in Corner Brook on the grounds of the province having the ability/need to expand its post-secondary services in the interest of generating growth in the
While there would be some who might suggest that Grand Master Flash and Flava Flav here might have ulterior motives for the stances they're taking, I would like to remind everyone that these two men surely only have the best wishes of the province at heart and would never have self-interested reasons for their positions such as promoting goodies to their constituencies in lieu of an upcoming election or grasping to maintain the godlike power of monopoly. (FUN FACT: Politicians, thanks to centuries of selective breeding, are physically incapable of putting themselves ahead of the people they are supposed to represent.)
There is some merit to both arguments, however. More universities would provide more physical space for young minds to become educated and contribute to a society increasingly based on holding graduate degrees in cultural studies as opposed to actually knowing how to do anything remotely constructive, and smaller universities that Grenfell U would conceivably resemble have fared well elsewhere in the country - also, college kids in this province drink like fish and provincial coffers would likely flood with the liquid gold of a thousand keggers.
On the other hand, Memorial is so far serving the province well as the largest university in Atlantic Canada. This province has the second-lowest tuition rates in Canada (second only to Quebec, which I'm sure will someday be brought up by a Newfoundland Nationalist as yet another example of how the frogs are trying to undermine our glorious nation) and the cost of living in the St. John's area is likely also one of the lowest in Canada, especially in terms of university towns.
Somehow I'm not convinced that putting a second university in the province offering comparable degrees and costs will do anything to stem the outflow of students in this province who still decide to zoom out to another province and drop $12K a year in tuition for [roughly] the same education offered inside the overpass for a fraction of that cost. Perhaps a better use of the money it would cost to make Grenfell University happen would be a program to teach children (possibly also government) the value of money; we might even get teenagers to stop spending 150 dollars on those godawful pairs of pre-torn jeans they keep buying while we're at it, too.
At the end of the day, at any rate, I've got to come down on the side of the one-university idea. That said, I don't exactly share Crosbie's view that "MUN as-is is A-OK!", because I think there are too many things that need to be ironed out with the current public post-secondary education system we have in this province before we should really be thinking "hay guys lets build another one!"
But getting into that is a whole other can of worms I don't feel like opening because then I'd probably get to talking about the fishery and in this province nothing good ever seems to come of that.
In fact, I'd almost rather listen to a white rap battle.