Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.
Sirs,—Mr. Robertson, in his letter published in your edition of March 1, makes several interesting statements, and as he signs his name above a recognised student organisation I presume that his is the "official" viewpoint.
He states: "new literary ventures are continually facing the scythe of mental barrenness." As a comment upon this modest assertion, I quote. Sirs, from your supplement of March 1: "If you haven't heard of intellectual arrogance now is a good time ... steer clear of it like the plague."
In Mr. Robertson's opinion "solidarity and continuity are essential in something as necessarily transient as a campus newspaper." Perhaps compulsory subscription is "solidarity." I would be grateful, however, if he would explain how "continuity" can be "essential" in something "necessarily transient." Does not this implicitly assert that Salient should not exist! You, Sirs, will no doubt be very interested in this official proclamation. Of course, as Mr. Robertson mentions, all universities face tremendous problems in running a student newspaper—Mr. Robertson is perhaps stating the official solution to these problems.
Several of Mr. Robertson's statements seem noteworthy. In particular. I suggest, Sirs, that the "inexperience" of editors which results in "costly legal actions with resultant loss of faith" is essentially similar to gross irresponsibility. That "astronomical subsidies" are paid to student newspapers is indeed true, as every fee-paying student well knows.
It is. I think. Sirs, very significant that "five years' intensive study and two very fine reports" culminate in compulsory subscription. What dynamic initiative!
With all the complex problems enumerated by Mr. Robertson, one may very well wonder whether or not student newspapers should exist. It is remarkable that despite complaints of rising costs, £200 will be added to every year's expenses — regardless of Salient's financial strength that year.
An increase of £450 on last year's subsidy of £750 (over 50 per per cent) would certainly be grave—hence the intensive study and the fine reports mentioned by Mr. Robertson. A 10/- "flat amount per student" is a very euphemistic phrase for compulsory subscription; and that each student may now obtain his own copy of Salient "at no further cost"—one would hope so! That Salient can now budget for larger issues" may be compensation for this flat amount": what this means in actuality is that there will be larger issues of something for which the majority of students in the past have shown no particular desire.
We are indeed fortunate Eulogistic adjectives come easily from Mr. Robertson: "solidly-backed" is apparently synonymous with compulsorily purchased "securely organised" (whatever that means in relation to newspapers) results from the panacea of compulsory subscription. What a face-and-job-saver compulsory subscription must be.
The real force in Mr. Robertson's letter lies, without doubt, in the final paragraph. After five years' intensive study and two very fine reports culminating in compulsory subscription the climax is attained: "we can only hope ... brighter things may be seen in the future." Sirs, is comment necessary?
Our writer feels that comment is necessary. He is entitled to his views, but not to distort the facts.
As an ideal, student newspapers should stand by their merits, but in practice their economics forbids them the chance to do so. It Is an accepted system, both in New Zealand and overseas, that student newspapers be subject to a per capita compulsory subscription.
No delay of five years exists. Each year for the past three years, students aware of the economic pressures threatening Salient have proposed a compulsory subscription.
Far from being apathetic, students have demanded that Salient play a greater role, and Salient has expanded over recent years from a pamphlet to a proper newspaper. Excluding purely social activities, probably more students work or write for Salient than are involved in any other student activity.
The editors' scholarship is experimental and for one year only initially. If continued, outside sponsorship is proposed, and its award is not automatic. In relation to the amount of work involved, it is merely a guarantee of financial stability.