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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 5, No. 6. July 31, 1942

Letter from Shirley Smith to Salient Vol 5, No. 6. July 31, 1942

Dear Sir,—Are the universities of Britain semi-canonised? Is enthusiasm lacking at Oxford and Cambridge? In your July 2nd issue these provoking statements are attributed to Count Wodzicki, and I beg your leave to be provoked.

Let me not be misunderstood. I am not a Chauvinist; I am sure we have much to learn from Cracow and Warsaw. I do not defend my own university by disparaging others, as "The Count" does. But I am concerned to correct the totally false impression he gives of the universities of Britain, and in particular of Oxford.

If, as "The Count' suggests, full-timing makes a university; if heated discussions till three or four in the morning (with or without the inspiration that prolongs the sessions of the Haeremia Club) on philosophy, art, religion or politics make a university; if well-organised clubs make a university, then I declare, Madame Editor, that Oxford is a university. Surely a no more amazing range of student activity can be found than exists (or existed before the war, and will again) at Oxford.

Lack of enthusiasm? Has "The Count" heard Harry Pollitt speak at the Labour Club? Has he attended Professor Price's philosophy seminars? Has he watched the boat race? Has he seen the original productions of the Experimental Theatre Club? Has he punted up to the Cherwell Arms on a summer evening?

My pen runs away with me. Finally, I ask Victoria students to remember the statements and manifestoes of the University Labour Federation of Great Britain, which "Salient" has itself reprinted. Do they show a semi-canonised or apathetic spirit?

With best wishes to "Salient's" continued health and high spirits.

—Yours, etc.,

Shirley Smith, B.A. Oxon.