Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 14. 1967.
"Truth" smears Vic students — Story flops
"Truth" smears Vic students
Once again students have become the object of a smear attempt by NZ Truth. This week's issue has an article entitled "They want both Reds and riches" which has a number of factual errors.
Written by Paul Rodgers the article implies students want the Reds because two clubs recently organised a Russian Week Festival, and the riches because they have expressed concern about the possibilities of student unemployment this vacation.
It says, "Wellington's Victoria University two student clubs will officially take part in the red celebrations and have already invited Russians to give addresses. These will hardly amount to lectures on history."
The event Mr. Rodgers says will take place, occurred some two weeks ago. If Mr. Rodgers was really interested in seeing how students celebrated the Bolshevik revolution he could have come along with reporters from the dailies to all the addresses.
If he read The Dominion he would have noticed a front page lead recently on what the Russian Ambassador said at Victoria University.
Labour Club President Mur ray Rowlands told Salient the purpose of the Russia week was to examine the cultural, economic and political development in Russia since the revolution. "Contingent on this was the Government's 'out of hand' rejection of the Russian Government wool offer," he said.
Besides the Russian Ambassador and the First Secretary who spoke to the students there were three academics who have some knowledge of the Soviet Union.
Mr. Rodgers continues: "The official statement accompanying the news that the students will celebrate amounts to so much balderdash."
The "official statement" he then quotes from is in fact extracts taken out of an article written by myself for the Evening Post two weeks ago. In no way should it be regarded as an official statement from the Labour Party Club and the Film Society who were sponsoring the festival.
Despite this he writes "sounding like a Soviet Information Service handout the statement goes on . . . and "while official student statements follow this line the academics are more likely to get the free work handouts they have been begging from the Government."
In fact, students don't want free work handouts as Mr. Rodgers suggests. They want work like everyone else so they won't be a financial drag on either their parents or the economy through falling units because of financial insecurity.
Mr. Rodgers has noted that students tend to come from the wealthier families and implies for this reason they don't need any special treatment.
Has he considered that perhaps it is not time the situation was investigated. Should the sons and daughters of the poorer classes be financially barred from the universities?
He says: "So far they have tried to push the Labour Department and the Social Security Department into being student sugar-daddies. But what the students don't realise is that the more money they get for themselves the less unemployed family men will get."
Of the Social Security Department students have asked whether or not they are eligible for the unemployment benefit, and of the Labour Department ways in which students can get jobs along with other unemployed.
Salient is not aware of a Government move to lower the unemployment benefit for family men should students qualify for the unemployment benefit.
Mr. Rodgers manages to use some rather emotive phrases like: "Their ravings to get special unemployment treatment from the Government . . . and "to woo the Reds and beg from their own country is mixed up adolescent audacity."
To date the "ravings" have consisted of letters and consultations with the relevant Ministers, press statements expressing concern that students will be unemployed and a Teach in on the general question of unemployment.