Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 6. Tuesday, June 4, 1963
Letters to the Editons...
Letters to the Editons....
Sir,—I hope that you will excuse this intrusion by a student at another University in another country, but I feel compelled to comment upon the article "Foreign Student News Usually Confuses" which appeared on page 7 of your issue of March 25th. Specifically, I am rather disturbed by the quite misleading character of the section on the I.S.C.
My reason for saying this is, briefly, that the writer of the article appears to be totally unaware of the tremendous change which has occurred in the I.S.C. during the last three years. This change has resulted from the historic decision of the 9th I.S.C., held at Klosters in 1960, to drop altogether the "students-as-students" Clause which had been so great a source of contention right from the days of I.S.C. genesis in Stockholm in 1950.
As a result of this decision we find amongst the Resolutions of the 10th I.S.C., held in Quebec in June of last year, a total of thirty-five "Statements on Colonialism, Totalitarianism, Imperialism, Racialism . . ." etc.
Most of these statements are about specific areas and problems and are quite irrelevant to "students-as-students"—e.g. condemnation in very strong terms of the South African Government's racial policy; of "Imperialist Aggression in Cuba": and of the conditions prevailing in the since-dismembered Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Since 1960 the new I.S.C. attitude has gained more and more support, and is now accepted by nearly all participating National Unions. It was adopted by the National Union of Australian University Students over a year ago and since then has been approved by every one of the twelve constituent Universities—the most conservative of all at last capitulating in January of this year.
Thus, the article was obviously misleading internationally—but I have a strong suspicion that it was also misleading nationally. By this I mean that I am fairly certain that New Zealand also accepted the new outlook at the 10th I.S.C. ('Acceptance'. I think, can only be determined by participation in or abstention from the discussion and voting on those Motions clearly lying outside the 'Students-as-students' boundary-line). I would hasten to add, however, that I may be wrong on this point—as I say, it is a "strong suspicion," not by any means a complete certainty.
In any case this does not affect the main point which I have sought to make in this letter.
I should like again to apologise for this interference and, should you decide to make any amendment to the article in question, to thank you, in advance, for doing so, Yours etc.,
Assistant International Officer, Students Rep. Council, University of Sydney.
Sir,—On the first night of "Measure For Measure" I witnessed what amounts to discrimination against part-time students. In front of me in the ticket queue was a part-timer who as a matter of course proffered six shilings for payment of his seat. I asked whether or not students were to be charged 2/6, and, if so, why not part-timers? Neither the girls at the ticket box nor the part-timer were certain how much he should pay, so finally his six shillings was accepted.
Subsequent inquiry leads me to believe that this student was unwittingly cheated. A student is to be defined, in this case, as one who has paid his Students' Association fee and is thereby a member of the Students' Association.
Thus all carrying this status, which includes part-timers, should be subject to the same relevant privileges.
So I suggest that all part-timers make certain that, in the future, they insist on this right, and that all ticket sellers make themselves acquainted with what prices they are to charge.
Sir,—I wish to complain about the terrible organisation of the Tournament Ball. There was first the confusion over the different colour tickets, although I admit that as things turned out there was no need for tickets anyway as there was apparently no doorman. We wandered in at 10 and I might just as well have brought a cable-car ticket.
Whoever "planned" supper should get a few lessons in crowd control. I can't comment on the food since I never actually saw it, but it smelt okay. I spent most of the afternoon at the drinking horn wedged against the bar, but the crush was nothing compared to the scene in the supper anteroom. I hate to think what would have happened in the event of earthquake or fire.
The grog setup was disgusting. There were no soft drinks available, only beer on tap served in jugs; by one, parts of the floor looked worse than the aftermath of a Weir stag party, and that, I assure you, is something. To cap things off, one of the barmen was wandering around the hall picking fights and being generally objectionable.
In my view, beer, especially tap beer, is out of place at a ball; it is too messy and requires large quantities for effect, this in turn necessitating frequent retreats to the gents. I think a ball should be a smooth affair, not an extension of the drinking horn. I am, etc.,
P. T. Norris
Sir—At the election meeting held on Friday 3rd May I was rather embarrassed to have a private matter concerning Mr. Afeaki, Mr. Smythe, and myself, made public.
In my anger at hearing this unwanted (and I feel, unnecessary), publicity I did not deal with the issue very cleverly and began to use an argument I should not have touched. In the event I exaggerated my argument and went further than was necessary or even true. This I regret because although it is public knowledge that I think Mr. Afeaki would not make a good President I did not mean to give the impression that he was not a good executive member. Mr. Afeaki has many exceptional qualities which have been of great use to this executive and many virtues, especially his sincerity and love for the job, which have made him in many, many ways an invaluable executive member. For the comments I made which were so exaggerated as to be quite untrue, and for the false impression I may have left with some people, I offer an unreserved and full apology both to Mr. Afeaki and to Mr. Smythe.
M. J. Moriarty.
Sir,—I resigned from the Executive because a majority of them lacked the courage to publicly express their convictions.
At the last Executive meeting I contended that a recent Salient editorial, entitled "The Ethics Of SGMs" had breached the unwritten ethics of journalists, in referring unnecessarily to certain past events in the life of a student of this university. All Executive members agreed with my contention that what was written was in fact unethical and—to say the least—"in poor taste."
I maintained that the prime function of the Executive is to protect the rights of the constituent members—the students; furthermore I maintained that what was stated in the editorial in question was an unwarrantable intrusion into the private life of a student. As such the Executive was bound to express its strong disapproval of the editorial and therefore to extend its support to the student referred to in that editorial.
The Executive agreed that the editorial was unethical; yet they failed to extend their influence and protect one of the members of their association. As such they have failed in carrying out their expressed convictions. In view of this I can no longer remain as a member of such an Executive.
(The Editor apologises to Mr. Blizard for the story headed "Censure" which contained some errors.)
Strike a Balance
Sir,—As I felt that some very astute observations were made in R.G.L.'s editorial "Strike Balance." may I question some criticisms of the same by M. C Rowlands.
Firstly, Rowlands connects "indissolubly . . . a complete and organised method of protest and artistic expression," meaning that the artist must necessarily be a rebel in some form or another, particularly as a student.
I think this is untrue, and an indication that he does not, perhaps, understand the basic function of the artist, which is surely, to have a profound sensitivity and awareness of the world about him and to transmute the ethos or quintessance of this into the form in which he is peculiarly skilled—, this business of "heightened consciousness," I suppose. The artist may violently rebel against his social, religious or political ambience, but on the other hand he may paint, compose, or write quite happily within the accepted social structure, with possibly that anonymity, so despised by D. Billing.
We are all familiar with the status symbol of duffle coat, beard and black jersey without shirt, together with the slightly fey and abstracted air. A harmless form of social protest, and no doubt there have been and still are genuine artists exhibiting this expression of non-conformity. But, and here is the crux of the matter, this is a manifestation of something coming from within, in the genuine case, whereas many of these people have adopted the external happenings, as it were, I without the artist's vision or gifts.
The genuine devotee is rarely found among the poisonous cynicism of the mid-cult and I am always suspicious of those who vociferously proclaim their artistry from the rooftops, particularly when accompanied by a shoddy technique.
Rowlands also correlates "that amorphous thing—the beautiful" with the "pretty boys" who seek after it—making "pretty" synonymous with beautiful.
With a little reading and thinking on aesthetics he would discover that beauty means a great deal more than pretty, in the sense in which he uses it. While there are artists seeking to create the truly beautiful, the inference that this means "Ode to a Skylark" or Sankey's hymns, is nonsense.
The peroration, as Baxter has it—"For some artists, it is necessary to act. to explode and to vituperate . . ." A truism, no doubt, but my grouch is directed against the 90 per cent of these explosions which are nothing more than the effusions of pretentious and effete poseurs.
Replies To Correspondents
R. G. Benson: For your protection, and ours, we cannot print a libellous letter.
"Gnt"-Seeklng Student: If you're not prepared to sign your name, were not prepared to print your letter.
N. Tantemsapya: Far too long, and peppered with slanderous remarks. Cut the length and the slander and we'll be happy to print your letter.
A. Haas: P. Norris's letter above covers all your points.