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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 5 June 21, 1944

In Place of an Editorial — Franchise For Freshers ?

In Place of an Editorial

Franchise For Freshers ?

The desirability of allowing first year students to vote in Executive elections has been a much-debated point. It was suggested that we write an editorial on the subject. We declined to take sides on this issue, however, and offered space to the two protagonists. Here are their cases.


Of course freshers should have a vote! A good halt of the College population are in their first year; they pay their Association fee; their affairs are handled by an Executive in whose election they have no voice. No other organisation (neglecting Weir House) extracts an entrance fee from new members and then withholds membership rights for eighteen months. The cry will be raised—irresponsible voting! There is a certain amount of irresponsible voting in all elections, but could one advocate restriction of the franchise because of this? The freshers do not know the nominees, you say. Then let the nominees make themselves known, have a little more publicity around the Executive and its functions. Why not make election campaigning official instead of clandestine, anyway?

Foaming Fresher


To counter the fuming fulminations of "Foaming Fresher" might I make the following points?

The number of votes recorded in the 1942 elections was two hundred and eighty; last year only two hundred and twenty-five people voted. This is an adequate criticism of the interest aroused by our elections. It is only those people who have been actively associated with student affairs who vote, and moreover, they are the only ones with a moral right to vote. They know the nominees and their record in the University; they are the only fit judges.

Extension of the franchise to first year students will mean either a flood of meaningless votes, overwhelming the two hundred odd considered decisions, or the provision of a happy stamping ground for electioneers.

The choice of our Executive is an important matter; let it be dealt with by reliable people.

—Grieved Graduand

These are two opinions on the matter; the conclusion to be gained seems to be this:—

Before an irresponsible vote on the part of freshers may be assumed end condemned, we must ask, "In what way has the Executive approached these students? Has it given them a sense of responsibility towards the College and towards the election of its leaders?" We must also ask the freshers, "Have you ever attempted to learn anything about your Exec.? Have you ever taken the trouble to find the difficulties they are up against, or to get behind and push when they need your help?" Both answers are "No!" Until the gap between the Exec. and individual students is lessened, the question of increased franchise is irrelevant.

See that student by the staircase—the one with the glint in his eye? Mark him well!

You have just ascended the steps and entered the main hall of Victoria College. The time: six o'clock on a Wednesday evening. Beware the beast of prey!

Carefully slipping through the swing doors you slip from pillar to pillar in vain attempt to reach the common room or cafeteria. Alas—you are seen. Four students with armfuls of papers detach themselves from a group and bear down on you from all sides. You are surrounded.

"Buy a 'Salient!'" they chorus.

"Buy a 'Salient!' chirps a pretty freshette, gazing into your eyes with dumb affection. Hurriedly you part with threepence before being seduced into purchasing an annual subscription. With yells of delight the pack depart in search of fresh game.

One more victory for the "Salient Hunters."