Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 9. 1961
Sir,—The graduands' dinner was certainly a deplorable affair; but to judge by your front page the worst aspects of it are only now emerging; moralizing, pontification, pointing of fingers, and hounding of culprits. In all this busyness, the more difficult search for causes is likely to be forgotten.
The dinner this year differed from its predecessors principally in the fact that most of those participating reverted to their own conversation whilst they were being addressed by the speakers. This was not surprising. I was in the front rank of the audience, and there was literally nothing between me and the table at which the speakers sat. Yet even before the hullabaloo started, I was hard put to hear what the speakers were saying. The reason was not far to seek: the room where the dinner was held has a sound-absorbent ceiling. To expect the speakers' voices to carry, in a room designed to preclude this, seems unwise.
Furthermore, the speeches would have been listened to more attentively, even under these adverse conditions, if they had come earlier and been briefer. Proceedings began at 8 p.m.; the speech-making at about 9.40, and it was nearly 11 before it dragged to a close.
The remedy follows from the diagnosis. Install a loudspeaker system, begin the speeches at, say, 8.30 p.m., make sure they end at 9 p.m., and everybody, including the speakers, will have a much better time.
Leslie H. Palmier.