Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 24, No. 13. 1961.
Sir,—Have you seen the notice on the floor of the quiet reading room? If not, perhaps you should take a look at It and, no doubt, you would agree with me that It means roughly this: "If you are not religious keep out."
Sir, how dare the house committer take law into their own hands in this way? This room is for quiet reading and It Is only right that such a room should be set aside. It should be equipped with easy chairs, a room as free as possible from all distraction, not like a library where people are forever coming and going and walking about.
Now, some officious, petty power-gorged dictators have arrived to take away our freedom because they want to say their prayers. Is there any record of Christ behaving in this manner?
Since Christianity Is undoubtedly the dominant religion of this university, Isn't the S.C.M. not catering adequately for the majority?
If there is to be a room for prayer, then why shouldn't there he a room set aside for each of the clubs in the university. The demand for a card room is obviously high and a chess room would be very pleasant even, perhaps a quiet reading room.
Sir, if the house committee would like to meet me, they may find me in the quiet reading room. I shall not smoke, as this may be offensive; I shall be reading, perhaps even studying, and I shall not be saying my prayers. I find I can do this in many other places, such as when standing in a queue, when waiting for someone, before going to sleep at night or even in the bath.
There are three committee rooms which are seldom used; surely no one would grudge the use of one of them to any religious group for the duration of a prayer meeting.
It is to be hoped that students will treat the notice with the scorn that it deserves.—I am. etc.,
[This letter was received during the holidays. Consequently no one from the house committee could be found to comment on this matter.]
Sir.—We are nauseated at the puerile exhibition staged by Armour Mitchell and Peter O'Brien in driving a (rental) car into the Main Building of Massey on the Sunday of Winter Tournament.
I understand that both these gentlemen are supposedly responsible members of V.U.W. Executive the very people to whom we look for an example at student functions. This offence was rendered even more pitiful by the driver's woeful incompetence in removing a large piece of wall.
This execrable display of bad manners and worse driving demands an apology.
"Help": All complaints about toilets should be referred to the S.U.B. House Committee.
Dear Sir,—Last year the ill-equipped, inadequate cafeteria was able to provide tea or coffee for those students who desired It before 8 a.m. in the morning.
While we do not expect a service as good as this in the present cafeteria surely we can have something a little better than a 9.45 a.m. opening.
I understand the cafeteria Is tenanted on the condition that adequate services be provided—early opening should be one of them.
[Cafeteria Reply: Mr. Levenbach says: "My contract says that the cafeteria must open at 9.45 a.m., and It always does. As to the 'adequate services' mentioned in the letter, the gentleman obviously has got no Idea of business whatever. Services provided are far better than anywhere else and better than could be expected for the amount of money charged."]
Sir,—Open cafeteria earlier or at least see that It is open on time.
Yours, etc., "Need my Breakfast,"
[Cafeteria Reply: The official opening time is 9.45 and to the knowledge of Mr Levenbach it has never been late.]
On Russian Students
Sir,—I was disgusted at the sheer ignorance displayed by quite a few so-called students when the Russian Student Delegation came to Victoria. Whatever their political convictions were, these charming people deserved politeness from us if nothing else. It is not necessary to act in a boorish manner to preserve one's political faith.
I refer mainly to the belligerently worded rhetorical questions put up by some students at the discussion in the Little Theatre, prefaced by such phrases as "your shabby people's democracy," etc. Obviously they are rhetorical because their content is so loaded, emotionally, that no rational discussion can follow. They seem more to be raised for the sake of satisfying the questioner's inner prejudices than to facilitate discussion.
One questioner's lack of factual knowledge about such well-known history as that between the two world wars made me cringe with shame over our insularity. I can only conclude that some students do not really wish to find out anything about Communism on an intellectual level. The Russians wiped the floor with us, and we deserved it.
Sir,—I read in the "Dominion" of Monday last that the University Council had extended their congratulations to a well-known part-time student on reaching "All Black status".
I, Sir, was in my High School tiddlewinks First Fifteen and gained national honours at the Waipukurau championships.
Does this qualify me for a free degree?
[The answer is no.]
Health Service Needed
Sir,—It is time that there was a student health service available at this university. At some time or other most students have some troubles and most can find a satisfactory solution themselves, but there are others who cannot manage to find a real solution—and these unfortunate students must struggle through their work either trying to ignore the situation or trying out a make-shift solution (but unable to remove the real causes ).
Most people naturally wish to solve their own problems and do not wish for any interference; thus, for those who cannot help themselves it often requires much courage to face up to their need for outside help. Especially when the pressure of work is great is the student likely to regard some non-intellectual matters as trivial, and view with scepticism any suggestion of having a serious difficulty with such matters. The longer he postpones facing up to his need, the more difficulty there is likely to be in readjustment afterwards. Finally, private services are very expensive, and public services either little known or little recognized may take some time to find; time is very important. These two further factors are discouraging and prevent positive action; the unfortunate continues to muddle on—probably trying to doubt in vain that he has a real problem until the situation becomes so overwhelming that he breaks down. As some doctors would like to have it, too much work, and not enough sleep and physical exercise are not the only causes of student troubles.
This lack of services is very serious and requires urgent attention; although most students have no need of these services they should be aware of their great importance for others.
Helen P. Leathwick.
Sir.—If the women who sit in the caf drinking coffee, etc., could see what their thighs looked like from the adjacent tables they would (if they possess any modesty at all) quickly uncross their legs and/or stop wearing these almost obscene short skirts!
Sir,—If L. J. Burns wishes to write on contemporary music as she has done in "Salient" No. 11 I see no reason why she has made any reference to my previous article. She has apparently misunderstood my article which was written with great care, and certainly not intended to condemn contemporary music.
Bathless Bearded Beatniks
Sir,—What has become of the bathless, bearded, 'baccy-smelling beatnik bums who used to be such a familiar sight at the foot of the main stairs in the Hunter building? Has the lure of free sugar enticed them into the Cafeteria? Or has Wellington's inclement climate driven them to seek the shelter of their various "pads"?
I mourn their passing.