Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954
Touche, Mr. B?
Touche, Mr. B?
One of the fundamental rights of an editor of a newspaper is The right to refuse to print material submitted by correspondents which is vulgar, libellous, inaccurate or merely abusive. Hence I was surprised to see that you had permitted T. H. Beaglehole's letter to go into print, apparently in the same form as you had received it The first paragraph of that letter, which appeared in the last issue of "Salient," is irresponsible, abusive, and completely devoid of rational meaning. It is indicative of a type of critical outlook which University students should pride themselves on Not possessing. The whole construction of the paragraph would appear to contain an overtone of dislike and of irrational feeling, without any attempt having been made to justify that feeling.
It would seem, sin that T. H. Bcaglehole disagreed with your editorial on accrediting, and wished to express his disagreement in print. What then, is the revelance of the first paragraph of his letter? There is a legal maxim which I would offer for Mr. BeaglehoJe's consideration. It is this: "Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat." A translation would be: "The burden of proof lies on the party that affirms, not on the party that denies." T. H. Beaglehole has affirmed that an editorial of mine, and my reply to a letter written by David Scott, were childish and ill-informed. Even if such a conclusion had been supported by rational argument, these words would still have been abusive and in bad taste. But appearing as they do completely unsupported by any rational basis whatsoever, in the first paragraph of a letter which purports to be a criticism of your editorial on Accrediting, the words are more than mere bad taste. They are intellectual insolence—an impudent and irresponsible attempt at cheap wit at the expense of one of the basic principles of a university training. Which is the pursuit of the ability to criticise rationally and fairly. Such an attack ill becomes a graduate of this college. It is a poor reflection on his mental outlook, but more important, it is a poor reflection on his university, which would appear to have failed to inculcate in Mr. Beaglehole the necessary qualities of mind which are usually thought to be necessary to those who would attain to a Master's degree.