Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 4, No. 2. March 26, 1941
No Man's Land
No Man's Land
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.]
Amazing and astounding it is to see and to realize the disgraceful and shameful lack of 'Varsity spirit existent within the doors of old Victoria. Criticism of this and that is rampant—the majority of Student Association fees are parted with most begrudgingly. "What do I get out of this?" is the general enquiry. If only these same critical students possessed a little more "esprit de Victoria," and participated in a few student activities, interested themselves in College affairs, and in general tried to use as much of the £1/5/- as possible, it would quickly become obvious for what purpose the money is used.
The discontent in connection with student activities is deplorable, although obviously, much of it is well merited. For instance, grass tennis courts appear to be rapidly developing from the asphalt surfaces; "Salient" itself is a poor and miserable scrap of paper.
"Salient" has a reputation—such a reputation that the greatest difficulty indeed was found in finding subscribers for the 1941 issues. Instead of this passive discontent, why don't students stir themselves to an active participation in College activities., Blast hell out of "Salient"—not by sneering underhandedly in the common room, but with fiery rhetoric in its very columns.
How many attended the Students' Association meeting on Thursday night? Voice grievances at meetings specially for the purpose, and show that you are definitely anxious to better them.
Now is the time and the responsibility, the students'.
What we girls really want from "Salient" is something lighter and brighter in the literature line—not quite Boy advises Girl (beware of the type that try to teach you things), not quite a Fashion Preview (who hasn't heard the despairing sigh of a male settling down to being thoroughly bored by a Fashion Short?), and definitely nothing in the Aunt Daisy vein. No unmarried girl should know any of the things Aunt Daisy talks about, and to mention them in public is to have her intentions doubted immediately.
Perhaps something with a little personal human interest—Impressions of a Woolworthian Sweetseller—"I did some Really Hard Work," by A Fulltimer—"Haymaking by Sunshine"—Unaccustomed as I am, by Weir House Casanova.
Have none of the fulltimers who worked in the holidays in shops noticed the infinite patience of the female trying to match odds, ends, and accessories ? A tramp from Kirk's to Cuba Street is nothing.
Surely, surely there is some female talent in the College? (Ask the male population, not us).
[We hope that our heartburning serial will spur you on to even greater ambitions, "Future Mother of Six."—Ed.]