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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25. No. 13. 1962

New Attitude to Residential Halls

New Attitude to Residential Halls

By 1975, the number of students in our Universities will have doubled. More and better Halls of Residence are urgently needed, both to accommodate the additional students and to promote better contact between students. A good Hall of Residence should be an integral part of student life.

These were some of the conclusions reached by a University residence conference held over the August vacation at Lincoln College and attended by University administrators and student representatives.

The Purpose of Halls

The case for residential halls was discussed under four sections.

1. The need for accommodation.

For students to obtain a higher education in most fields, they must attend a University. Arriving at a University centre, a student was faced with the problem of finding somewhere to live.

The alternatives open to him: private board, flats, or Halls of Residence. Which type would best promote the true ends of a University education?

The modern university system, with its specialization, has aimed at producing highly trained men and women in limited and individual fields. Modern degree courses were not designed to provide a general, balanced education. The result of this was the production of a large number of "uneducated experts" surely an undesirable situation.

Despite the effectiveness of sporting, social and club activities in remedying this, there was nothing comparable to the community life of the Hall of Residence.

2. The need for personality and character development.

A question arose here. Was the University responsible for the general development of the character and personality of its students? Certainly this was someone's possibility. N.Z. Universities had in the past tended to limit themselves to academic pursuits, and the University was probably at its best when attending to its own task. But students were subject to all sorts of controls, guidance and discipline in their academic studies.

Why should they not require this in the field of character and personality development — a much more fundamental and important aspect of their lives? Such guidance was no more an Interference with personal liberty than guidance in academic studies.


Dr S. G. Culliford (the assistant to the Vice Chancellor at Vie), discussed sources of finance and other matters relating to the establishment of halls. Any large source of finance was not available unless the public could be convinced it should give, said Dr Culliford.

Although the State was prepared, with varying degrees of willingness, to pay for the erection of teaching and associated buildings, I it was less ready to see the urgency of the need for residential accommodation.

Numbers of students in N.Z. Universities are expected to increase from 16,000 in 1962 to over 30,000 in 1975. Assuming the present facilities adequate (which they are not) then in the next 13 years teaching accommodation will be needed for about 14,000 students.

As about half of these will be living away from home, residence will be required for about 7,000. If all these were to be accommodated in Halls, ignoring the present requirements, the cost would be about thirteen million, or a million pounds a year.

The only large single source of finance would seem to be the government. Help might be given in the form of grant, subsidies or loans. Non-governmental assistance might be given in the form of location, endowment or loan.

However, these sources would all have strings attached. Donation and endowment would probably be subject to conditions as to the disposal of funds. Loans are subject to interest rates, donations to gift tax and so on. The only answer to the finance problem would seem to be the Government.

Conditions at Vic

Conditions at Victoria in 1959 were as follows:

Students living at home 61%
Students in private board 14%
Students in flats 20%
Students in Halls of Residence 5%

The inadequacy is apparent.

Overseas Students

At Victoria, 44 out of a total of 122 overseas students are under the Colombo Plan. Many more could be expected if living accommodation could be found for them. The ideal solution to the problem of accommodation would be to offer all Colombo Plan students a place in a University Hall of Residence.

The experience of residence in a University Hall has a special value for the foreign student. These students have two great problems to face on entering a University — that of the transition from school to University, and the greater one of adjusting to a completely new way of life.

In general, the conference was a considerable success. While reaching few concrete conclusions or decisions, it underlined the problems facing the advocates of the Hall of Residence — which, after all, are the problems of the University community as a whole. The need for a concerted effort and close consideration of the problems involved was made clear to all.

Specially written for "Salient" by John Perham, vice-president V.U.W.S.A.