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This Student Mailed A Peanut Butter Sandwich To A University Exec As A Protest

"They're wining and dining each other for $700 a pop while students are actually in poverty."

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This is John Hutton, a 27-year-old student originally from Nova Scotia who now lives in Montreal.

John Hutton / Facebook

One of the biggest reasons that Hutton left his home province was the cost of education, and it's an issue he cares about a lot.

His ears perked up when he learned that a university administrator in Newfoundland had justified expensive meals costing as much as $700 while the school faces a budget crunch.

Noreen Golfman, the provost of Memorial University of Newfoundland, said the fancy meals were needed to woo faculty into joining the school, and that it was simply an expectation in a "corporate" environment, according to CBC News.

"We have candidates, high-level researchers who come in here," she reportedly said. "We're not feeding them peanut butter sandwiches, we are doing what professionals do."

Hutton decided to send Golfman a peanut butter and jam sandwich in the mail, along with a letter about keeping education affordable.

John Hutton / Facebook

MUN was hit with a surprise budget cut from the provincial government in April, and the school is considering a number of ways to balance its books, including raising fees.

He told BuzzFeed Canada that Golfman's remark about peanut butter and jam showed she doesn't understand the students she serves.

"They're wining and dining each other for $700 a pop while students are actually in poverty," he said, adding that it's part of a "wider culture of entitlement" that includes cushy salaries, bonuses, and expense accounts.

Hutton included an image of Marie Antoinette on the shipping box, just to highlight how out of touch he thinks Golfman is.

John Hutton / Facebook // MUN

"Many students are actually in situations where they do have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or survive on Kraft Dinner or ramen," Hutton said. "Student poverty is a real thing."

He said he also blames the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government for not providing more funding for education, but that schools need to do a better job with the resources they have.

"How can you justify raising fees when administration is making salaries in the high hundreds of thousands of dollars?" he said.

The president of Memorial makes almost $470,000 a year, which is among the highest salaries for university heads in all of Canada, according to The Telegraph.

Hutton said he has friends who attend MUN and he wants to make sure their perspective is heard. "Places like the Atlantic provinces rely on young people coming and staying. Cutting education is going against that," he said.

Facebook: john.hutton.9

Hutton posted his sandwich protest on Facebook, where it has been shared about 400 times.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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