Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 4, No. 2. March 26, 1941
Sops to Citizens
Sops to Citizens.
This letter is written to bring to your notice a growing tendency in the University to do things, not because anyone believes in them, but in order to 'pacify' the town. When a student service is held you hear opinions expressed such as this: "Well, we had better have an executive member read the lesson in order to offset the bad feeling between the University and the city." And now the executive has just made the announcement that a tournament service is to be held, in all probability not because they have any Christian belief, but because a church service is nice and conservative, and because it will help to hold the town in check during an extravaganza, if we have it, or because we are afraid that some of our radicals may say some cut spoken things in the next year, and we want to be able to say that that is not the true spirit of 'Varsity.
This tendency is to be deplored, both inside the executive and outside among the students, for it leads to a falsity of thought, an isolation from the community. If there is a difference of opinion between the University and the town, why try to conceal it? The University is supposed to lead the city, but if the city refuses to be led, that is not our concern. The main function of a university is to disseminate the truth, and if we can only do that by pretending to be something else, then, we are no longer a University, but a reflection of the beliefs of the political party in power. If we are a predominantly Christian University, then let us have a University service by all means, but do not let us give lip service to an ideal, which no one believes, to gain support for an institution which no longer has its true function. If Christianity is the truth, let such societies as the Student Christian Movement and the Evangelical Union work towards the truth in the University.
[The Tournament University Service was founded 'way back in the beginning of things—by students of the four constituent colleges, Mr. Newell, because they wanted one, and at no Tournament Service since that I know of has the attendance been so poor or so perfunctory as to warrant your assumption that any Executive promotes it merely as a sop to the feelings of the town or as an insurance against future radical activity. But thanks for the advertisement—the service will be held in St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Mulgrave Street, at 7 p.m. on Easter Sunday.—Ed.]