Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 9. July, 24, 1946
AGM Under Fire—
AGM Under Fire—
Dear Sir.—At the 1946 AGM of the Stud. Ass amotion was passed "That this meeting expresses its extreme disapproval and condemnation of any attempt to introduce extraenous political issues into the domestic affairs of this Association." Depending on the interpretation placed on it, and even the mover's speeches left much to the imagination, the motion is either trivial or futile, and was unworthy of the support it received.
If by extraneous issues was meant issues which have no remote relationship to student affairs, such as the movements of the Grand Mufti or the subsidy on mangolds, then the motion was trivial and should be rejected without delay. Unfortunately some who believed the motion to be trivial voted in favour of it thereby aligning themselves with those whose support had quite other grounds.
For the motion was more probably intended to afirm that politics are essentially irrelevant to the activities of the Association. Now, the fallacious notion that politics are dangerous stuff, to be removed from safekeeping only once every three years, and then only in approved places, is popular in the minds of the politically immature. It is encouraged, moreover, by that small section whose interests are served by keeping dull minds dull. It is in the historical role of conservatism to relegate politics not only to certain "proper" places and occasions, but to certain chosen persons.
But let us consult recent history as to whether politics should be kept out of the University. Did the students of Fascist-oppressed Europe exclude politics? With their University threatened, many no doubt submitted, murmuring disapproval and condemnation; but a few were alive to the menace, and fought to the death. Such heroism arises not from a moment's thought but the piofoundest conviction, not from an aloofness from politics, but vital concern.
For any satisfactory philosophy will so comprise and integrate politics, ethics, culture, all branches of mental activity, that each will impinge upon every aspect of life. Unless we are still children, it is futile to demand for the Students' Association exemption from political influence.
We have carried a motion which not only can achieve nothing, but which smacks of conservatism. Why did the motion succeed? Because motions violent in expression and nebulous in content almost always succeed. By suitable amendment the notion might have been presented in the slightly less offensive but equally effective form—"That this sort of thing has got to stop!" Fewer questions would have been asked, less time wasted, and a bigger majority assured.
F. F. Evison.