Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 10. September 14, 1959
Give us the Facts
The Commission of Inquiry into University Education is here. No one will envy the eminent gentlemen their task after years of seemingly unorganised striving towards the goal of higher education but all will wish them well.
We have already commented on a prior occasion on the quality of the chairman, Sir David Hughes Parry, Mr. G. C. Andrew and Dr. R. W. Harman, it behoves us only to welcome them.
For weeks now universities, teachers and students have been amassing data to justify cases for the committee's deliberation.
The pity of it all it, at least in the case of the students, much of the work has been done by instinct. If the Commission does nothing else it has highlighted the fact that student records have not been as well kept as one would imagine.
Victoria's own student education sub-committee has been specially up against it. The previous executive seemed to have not realised the urgency of amassing data, and Miss Jane Fogg and her fellow workers have had a hard row to hoe to get everything ready in time.
As they fought against time they discovered simple information, such as the position of student accommodation, that should have been readily at hand, demanded a great deal of research, some of which has been of necessity sketchy.
They have attempted, we hope with some success, to wipe up the spilt milk. We urgently press the executive to do something now to ensure it is not there to be cried over again.
We are not expert statisticians or sociologists, but we are sure such people could help the association in setting up a proper data recording system, easy to keep up to date, and readily available in cases such as this.
In exec's consideration of streamlining the organisation this should be a major consideration.
Instinct may be right, it may be wrong but generally students aren't round long enough to find out and somebody else suffers, as the next generation may, or may not, discover.
One becomes rather attached to one's creation, however malformed and maladjusted and when the time comes for parting it is hard to say goodbye.
But what a wonderful opportunity it presents for parting salvos, such as why do people sit around and mope about the dominance of the religious societies and do nothing to pull their own socks up?
Why do so few take an interest, and often only an interest, in the work of even fewer? Why does it take sweeping allegations from a Hampton, and we will remember him if not with affection with a certain bond of sympathy, to arouse the ire of even a section of the masses?
We knew before we started we wouldn't beat the universal apathy. We can only hope we dented it. We freely admit we used some rough methods—exec. got more of a shakeup than ii deserved—or did it? They thought so and they are all honourable men and women.
Much of what we hoped for has not been achieved and in retrospect we have only ourselves to blame. Still it would have been a help if some of those common common-room types who thought university was all lectures, chess and cards could have put their moans in writing instead of boring their neighbours, and sent them in for publication.
It is hoped the enthusiasm (sic and !!) that the Student Union Building will arouse (even this year hasn't dulled our optimism,) will strengthen the students' conscience and make them pull the finger.
We all seem to be too used to getting our oysters all ready opened to be even interested in examining their structure. Our angry young men for the main part are an ineffectual lot and our beatniks hit an irregular and uncertain rhythm.
But for all this we have enjoyed ourselves and we hope you have, at least occasionally, enjoyed having us around.
We didn't expect to make you think—after all this is an institution of higher thinking on a plane removed—we hoped we amused. Didn't circuses mark the collapse of Rome?