Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 1. March 5, 1952
Why Salient? — What is Salient? — Your Meat and Mouthpiece
What is Salient?
Your Meat and Mouthpiece
'This question cannot be answered by merely stating facts, Salient is "an organ of student opinion" at Victoria College, published weekly by the Victoria University Students' Association. Because emphasis is on the student the most important features are: it is entirely student staffed, most contributions are from students and it is an organ of opinion to which any student may contribute.
Why have a student press? Haven't we our daily and weekly press already? A student press exists because only a student press can fulfil the student need for free, sometimes violent, discussions on matters outside the scope, and often the perception of the ordinary prese. It can encourage a spirit of University and community consciousness so alien to modern materialistic individualism on the one hand, and state collectivism on the other. The students idealistic criticism is an antidote to blind conservatism or extreme radicalism.
The name Salient sums it up; and the words of early editor,
"Send out. Salient, the swift satiric point
To smart the sluggard mind awake."
In This Issue
This first issue, specially prepared as an introduction for freshers, is evidence of that spirit. To cope with weekly publication demands some contributions will be, as far as possible, organised on a regular basis. University affairs, such as executive and club reports will be given space. Articles on the University system will appear alongside those on national and international affairs. A critical survey of New Zealand writing is planned and there is sure to be verse and reviews of books, drama and films.
Members of the staff will, we hope volunteer contributions and write letters to the editor. Our aim is an article: How to Pass Exams Without Actually Cheating.
You as a Journalist
If You have anything to praise, criticise or curse; or any thoughts at all, if you have some scandal (such as the state of the Common Common Room) to reveal; if some experience anywhere, in the Botanical Gardens or a lecture (most unlikely) has moved you to poetry—put it in black and white and address it to "Editor—Salient." Leave in a Common Room letter rack and we will take it from there.
Don't hesitate because you have never been in print. Salient will print everything readable and neither obscene nor libellous. Although not essential contributions should be typed, on one side to the paper, and no longer than 800 words, but extra space is available.
Here is a chance to take part in an activity most characteristic of a University. Thinking, plain speaking and argument. Salient is a combination of informal, round-table, debating, those pleasing discussions you have over coffee, caf chatter, the remarks of the corridor groups and even the bitter wisecracks of common room stoics.
This is a discernible expression of the University's intelligent give and take. We hope that you do not stay on the sideline when it is so easy to join in.
The focusing of the University spirit in Salient has not been haphazard but the result of differing opinions and emphases [unclear: ciiting] a policy which, in fourteen years, has formed a unique tradition.
|(i)||To lead students in the fulfilment of their responsibilities and the maintenance of their rights;|
|(ii)||To keep students informed of events in the college and what is of importance outside the college.|
|(iii)||To act as an honest muckraker in commentary on national and international affairs;|
|(iv)||To stimulate intellectual controversy; and|
|(v)||To create a V.U.C. consciousness by making students aware of the origins, traditions and purpose of Victoria College.|
First Issue 1938
A turbulent history, including bannings and suspensions for various good and bad reasons since the first issue in 1938, has largely seen a fulfilment of these aims. Ever since 1938, true to name. Salient has held outspoken views on academic liberty, student rights and duties and has given intelligent, if not always unbiased, commentary on issues affecting Victoria.
"The spirit of the times demands that any suggestion of Olympian grandeur or academic isolation from the affairs of the world should be dropped"—said the first issue.
Perversion of Tradition
Those views are still true and are today more relevant. At all times they were forthrightly advocated, occasionally brilliantly, but in the very persuasiveness of argument there was danger. Salient is an effective propaganda platform for any organised group with a policy which they wish to impose on the majority. In Salient's first year "Spike" (another Varsity publication) warned "beware of clique control."
A split developed in Salient's youthful personality. The spirit of free thought, a challenge to convention, the demand for reform was perverted to a one-sided expression of a codified, anti-social, political philosophy. That of left wing Socialism.
Salient began to return to tradition in 1950 and last year the editor wrote "Salient's tradition has two parts, one red, by which is meant reflective of Socialist and Communist ideas and ideals, and the other set out by Old Timer. These two are not synonomous and their apparent coincidence for thirteen years has been as much the result of expediency as of reason. Expressed in vigorous and often emotive prose this double tradition earned Salient the title of 'red rag.'
"It was not the Old Timer tradition, although of course many fainthearted and woolly-minded opposed that too, not the espousal of causes worthy and unworthy that rankled. The irritant was supplied by the red tradition with its own peculiar approach so often echoing, following and changing with the party line of Communism. Salient's mind was so made up, so blind to the protests of other people. . . ."
In a University paper a more impartial approach la necessary. A Salient editor, rightly unable to impose his view or refuse copy can only encourage impartiality by balancing copy if there is sufficient offering, correcting gross errors of fact and by use of the editorial."
A sufficient supply of lively copy from readers is the best defence against a monotonous parade of prejudice. Apathy on the part of ordinary readers will Invite party pro pagandists and amateur apologists to unbalance the content of Salient.
To guard against the misuse of Salient and to ensure that it becomes a strong and reasonable voice putting the case for all students:
Take a Subscription to Salient and Read Your Copy.
Write for it Either By Letters or in Articles.
Write and Ask to Join the Staff.
Come, if You are a Fresher to a Special Meeting for Freshers Early in the Term.