Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.
The new Student Association Executive has now held two meetings and it is timely to examine the course it is taking.
Already it has shown that it has only one or two members who are prepared to fight for what they believe is right. The contentious issue, as to whether or not student organisations should be allowed to sponsor any speakers they like, would have gone by default were it not for three members. Of a total of thirteen members this is too small a nucleus to ensure that all aspects of policy receive adequate investigation.
It has a tendency to pass the proverbial buck—in two meetings the bookshop question has been passed from Executive to education committee, back to Executive, and from Executive to a "special committee." If it continues to treat the bookshop in this manner, the term of the Executive will have expired before anything is done.
Much of the trouble stems from an insufficiently bold approach to student problems. Again, the bookshop throws some light on this. When it was first discussed, someone mentioned a working capital of £25,000. We are not arguing that this sum should be considered lightly, but if there is any chance of a bookshop being started, it must be considered.
There was no reluctance to pass resolutions about Maori studies and the bomb, but on other subjects, where more organisation would be required, the pussyfoot approach predominated. Much of the argument was mere rationalisation of prejudice.
There is an inclination for members to raise points that are not relevant to the subject under discussion, and also a propensity for unclear thought.
At the first meeting it appeared that control from the chair was slight, but at the second meeting there were some signs that President Peter Blizard is going to take a firmer hand in the future. It is to be hoped that he does since a five hour meeting for such a small agenda is quite ridiculous.
At the first meeting, the Executive wisely decided not to ask for another room for their own use. It could be that much of the trouble is due to the present room, with its comfortable heating, and its fancy padded chairs. Had it been given a large cold room, with hard wooden benches, the Executive might be eager to get business over and go home.
The present situation is also partly due to the fact that most members were chosen on the basis of personality, rather than platform. If in future there is to be a healthy Executive, there must be candidates who have some definite policy to advance. Strangely enough, those on the present Executive who had some principles to state at the elections, were the most vocal when moral issues were raised.—D.P.W.